Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in jewelry but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Amy Peterson, Co-Founder and CEO of Rebel Nell, located in Detroit, MI, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Rebel Nell is a women-owned social enterprise that provides employment, equitable opportunities, and wraparound support to women with barriers. Our jewelry incorporates repurposed material such as fallen graffiti making each piece one of no other kind, just like you.

Tell us about yourself

In 2013, I was a lawyer working for the Detroit Tigers, pursuing my lifelong dream of becoming the first female general manager of a major league baseball team. There were a lot of challenges and adversity I faced being a woman in the industry with my desire to break into the good old boys club. I was constantly faced with rejection and denied opportunities. At the same time, I was living next door to a women's shelter in downtown Detroit. I befriended the women and learned about the everyday challenges they faced. It was here, in parallel with the frustration I faced by being a woman in the sports industry, I decided to create a company dedicated to uplifting women and providing underserved women a route to self-sufficiency, equitable opportunity, and a fresh new start. Their success motivates me every day to keep fighting for the business.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Being a part of someone's success journey. I am most proud of the fact that Rebel Nell has hired 41 women out of shelter living and graduated 36 into the traditional workforce. In addition to employment, as a social enterprise, we also provide wraparound support, including financial literacy classes, housing resources, business education, legal aid, life wellness, etc. The journey is tough, and the road is long and winding, but there is nothing better or more rewarding than when one of our team members shares a success like they purchased a car, bought a house, got a new job, etc. These are the moments that keep me going.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

There are always challenges in running a business. Overall, I think the constant stress and anxiety of getting a business off the ground is the most challenging. It is an intense head game, and you can be your own worst enemy and self-doubter. I see this particularly among women entrepreneurs. I am a work in progress. I am doing a lot of internal work to change my thought patterns.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Get an accountant early.
  2. Stay focused on where you are going. This sounds easy, but it can be really challenging in the day-to-day.
  3. Constantly push yourself to work on the business instead of in the business. This is particularly hard for small business owners, but it will be key to your growth. You need to get out of your own way.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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