Rebel Nell doubles sales of jewelry made from recycled graffiti flakes

Rebel Nell started out as both a business and a social cause to help empower women in Detroit. Two years later, it is accomplishing both of those goals in spades.

The jewelry-making company specializes in turning discard flakes from graffiti murals into things like necklaces and earrings. Rebel Nell sells these wares everywhere from online to local retail outlets like the Rust Belt Market in downtown Ferndale. Sales of the jewelry have doubled each year since its launch.

"We're projecting to double what we did last year," Amy Peterson, who co-founded Rebel Nell with Diana Russell.

Rebel Nell is a low-profit limited liability company, which means it can turn a profit but its main focus is on its social mission. For the Woodbridge-based business -- it calls the Grand River Creative Corridor's 4731 building home -- that means empowering disadvantaged women in Detroit.

Rebel Nell accomplishes that by creating jobs for women, often single mothers, looking to climb their way out of poverty. Those jobs often include making jewelry and helping sell it. So far the company has hired five women out of homeless shelters and employs a total staff of seven people. It is also working to help educate those women and point them on a path toward financial self-sustainability, such as purchasing a house.

"It has been a tremendously exciting year," Peterson says. "I can't wait to see what happens next year."

Source: Amy Peterson, co-founder & CEO of Rebel Nell
Writer: Jon Zemke

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