Grand opening for Rebel Nell, York Project retail space set for Aug. 22

Social enterprises Rebel Nell and York Project are joining forces on a brick-and-mortar retail space in the Northwest Goldberg neighborhood.

Rebel Nell empowers women who have faced barriers to employment by teaching them to craft jewelry from graffiti and supporting them with services to help achieve self-sufficiency. With each item sold, social streetwear brand York Project offers a donation kit made up of a tote bag, socks, water, and toilet paper for homeless people.

After the announcement that Ponyride, where Rebel Nell used to be located, was for sale, co-founder Amy Peterson says the two companies started exploring opportunities together. The recent developments in the community and staples such as Lincoln Street Art Park and Recycle Here were very attractive to Rebel Nell in the decision to make the move, she says.

“The vibe and community feel of the neighborhood are exactly what we were looking for in choosing a new home. Additionally, it is really important for any location to be accessible via public transportation to accommodate our employees. This was perfect,” she says.

Furthering its mission of empowering women, Rebel Nell will use the retail store to develop customer service and digital literacy skills for its workforce team in an effort to help them transition to better job opportunities, Peterson says. Rebel Nell’s full product lineup, including new jewelry featuring fallen street art from Michigan Central Station, will be available at the store.

To date, Rebel Nell has hired 22 women from shelters and provided $378,000 in wages and $20,000 in microloans.

Launched in 2012, York Project started with founder Josh York hand stitching his name into a beanie and selling them at local music shows. Adopting Toms Shoes' "one for one" model, he saw an opportunity to give back and donated 50 beanies to a homelessness outreach center in 2013. That evolved into the donation kits. Since launching, York Project has contributed more than $84,000 worth of donation kits and other supplementary items in 23 U.S. cities.

Last year York Project opened a garment factory.

"Manufacturing is an opportunity to provide more jobs for Detroiters, so our mission has advanced to include workforce development,” York said in a statement.

The grand opening is set from 6-9 p.m. Aug. 22 at the new space at 1314 Holden St. The store will open for regular business hours at 10 a.m. on Aug. 24. Store hours will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 pm. Saturday.


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Read more articles by Dorothy Hernandez.

Dorothy Hernandez is a freelance writer and editor who frequently writes about food at the intersection of culture and business. She has contributed to NPR, Midwest Living magazine, Eater, and a variety of other publications. Visit her website and follow her on Twitter @dorothy_lynn_h.