6 min 28 sec

Detroit Women Make Jewelry for Profit and Social Good

An attorney starts a jewelry company with purpose, employing disadvantaged women in Detroit to help them transition from a life of dependence into one of self-reliance.
Arts & Crafts Creative Indiegogo Shopify Social Entrepreneurship

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What It's About

A Detroit woman starts a side hustle creating "defiant jewelry" to employ, educate, and empower.

Business Model
Arts & Crafts
Skills Required
Creativity & Jewelry Making
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Amy lived by a homeless shelter, and she would stop to talk with the women who were staying there whenever she went for a run or walked her dog. She was inspired by their stories and felt that they faced unique challenges. Amy used the jewelry skills she used in college to teach these women and provided them with the opportunity they needed.

Fun Fact

The Dequindre Cut was part of an extensive set of rail lines that were essential to the automotive industry carrying automobiles and their parts. After the decline in rail usage, the line was abandoned and the area became a canvas for Detroit's graffiti artists. Years later, layers of graffiti have begun to peel away and fall from the walls. Rebel Nell collects this paint and repurposes it to form this unique jewelry line.

Notes from Chris

Episode 78

Side hustlers are busy. You work full-time and have no shortage of other responsibilities, so you may ask "Can you really have a day job, maybe even a career, and make money and do good?"

If you've ever wondered about "social entrepreneurship," you might like today’s story. It’s all about an attorney for a professional baseball team who co-founds a jewelry company that becomes a sustainable social enterprise, meaning that it supports itself by being profitable—while making a difference.

Amy, the founder of Rebel Nell, used her skills as a lawyer and what she learned about making jewelry to pay her way through school to level-up with a sustainable side hustle. As we've seen in past episodes, one thing often leads to another, and everything is "figureoutable".

If you're struggling to find ideas for your own side hustle, consider skills you already possess before you start looking for other options. Did you pay your way through college, like Amy did, or do something else to support yourself at some point in your life? What skills did you acquire?


  • Rebel Nell: Learn more about Amy, her team, and all of the gorgeous jewelry they make.
  • Shopify: Amy chose to use Shopify for the Rebel Nell website. It's a very simple system that is awesome for ecommerce.
  • Indiegogo: Amy and her partner needed capital to get started, so they created an IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds for supplies and a space.

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

Chris Guillebeau

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Quote of the Day
"A vast majority of the money I make from Rebel Nell goes right back into the company. My reward is seeing the lives improve of the women we hire."
—Amy Peterson #SideHustleSchool

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Chris Guillebeau