J. Kelly Hoey

Innovator Insights: Social Entrepreneur, Amy Peterson, Co-Founder of Rebel Nell @RebelNell

Name: Amy Peterson Title: CEO and Co-Founder of Rebel Nell

Amy Peterson is on a mission. Her mission via social enterprise Rebel Nell, is to employ disadvantaged women in Detroit, to educate them on financial management, life wellness and business, and to empower them to successfully transition to an independent life. Rebel Nell is advancing its mission through the sale of jewelry made from unique local materials. Rebel Nell’s product line repurposes graffiti (an abundant local resource), collecting it after it has fallen off of walls. After some hard work and TLC, the women of Rebel Nell turn that scrap of graffiti into a unique piece of wearable art.

Me: Why are you an entrepreneur?

Amy: I enjoy being an entrepreneur for the consistent and evolving challenge of keeping a business going. In order to do that you have to be creative and think outside the box. I also really like finding and providing solutions for some of the challenges that our women face.

Me: What problem would you like solved?

Amy: Our goal at Rebel Nell is to provide motivated women whose circumstances landed them in a shelter, a transitional opportunity to get their life on track. We provide them with business education, life wellness and financial management so they have the power to prevent entering a shelter ever again. It is a “Teach a Woman to Fish” mentality.

Me: Advice you’d wished you’d had or had followed?

Amy: Get an accountant early in your startup process!

Me: What does success look like for you?

Amy: To scale at a rate where we are still able to maintain our culture. If we are scaling that means we are selling more product and can then hire more women out of the shelters. However, it is important to maintain the culture of our business. It is what breeds success not only for the individuals but the business as a whole.

Me: Who are your heroes?

Amy: Eleanor Roosevelt, my parents and siblings, the women at Rebel Nell.

Me: What is your best discovery?

Amy: Figuring out how to make jewelry out of graffiti!

Me: What would the title of your biography be?

Amy: That was a wild ride

Me: What is your biggest regret?

Amy: Not starting Rebel Nell sooner.

Me: Anything else we should know about (product launch, crowdfunding or marketing campaign, recent interview, job openings..)?

Amy: We have recently hired two more women out of the shelter. That was a very exciting moment for us! We have also launched a new brass collection that is doing really well. It is important to know that the jewelry is all one of a kind and unique not only because of the cross section of graffiti but because of the woman who made it. It is empowering to give the women the freedom to express their vision through wearable art.

This post originally appeared on Kelly Hoey’s website. Keep up to date with Kelly’s latest Insights by signing up for her Innovator Insights newsletter.


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