I interviewed Joli, aged 37 from Philadelphia, USA. Joli is the owner of Rebellious Trees.
Rebellious Trees produce fine wire wrapped tree of life jewellery in infinite varieties and other nature-themed fine jewellery.
Here is my interview with Joli…
When did you start your business?
Rebellious Trees was established in 2012.
What made you decide to set up your business?
My son had just turned one and a half, and I was ready to start incorporating non-baby-related activities into my life.
What do you do and what products do you sell?
I make fine wire wrapped jewelry, and right now I am focusing on tree themed wire wrapped necklaces and earrings.
What products seem to be your best sellers?
My Amethyst and Garnet trees.
Who are your biggest competitors?
There are tons of people making trees of life, but no one is offering my level of quality, at my price points. I also have more variations, earring options, and I recently added a collar necklace with three trees, that is really unique.
How do you advertise your business?
Facebook, Instagram, but best of all: word of mouth.
How would you recommend your business to potential customers?
A tree of life necklace is one of those timeless symbols of rootedness and natural beauty that everyone needs in their life. Customize one with your birthstone, or incorporating those of your loved ones. Give it as a gift for weddings or birthdays. I have ones for men as well. It is a piece of jewellery that will be treasured for generations.
Did you have any problems when starting your business? If so, how did you overcome them?
Goodness gracious, yes! It is very hard to start a business, because there are about a million different things to learn that you never even thought about before opening. My business has been through a lot of major transformations, as well as lots of little face lifts. But there is no secret to success. Practice, practice, practice, and you will get better at all the millions of little tasks. I learn tons of new tricks every day for how to be more efficient, how to develop a better product, how to present myself better. But it is all worth it, because nothing beats doing what I love, and seeing how happy my work makes others. When a husband custom orders a special piece for his wife, using the birthstones of their children, or even grandchildren and great-grandchildren – and then he tells me how much she loved it – that’s what it’s all about! And after all, I do this so I can spend more time with my own children. A tree of life (a family tree) is the perfect symbol to capture all this.
Do you recruit? If so, what are the benefits?
Not yet, but I have big plans for the future.
How do you decide on your designs?
I have two primary sources of inspiration. 1) We spend a lot of time traveling in the Southwest, which is a really geologically rich region. I basically end up stumbling across gorgeous new rocks all the time, without even looking for new materials. Last time we were in Utah, I met a guy who worked at a jasper mine, and now I get all my Picasso Marble and Dragon Stones from them. A few years ago we were at a hot spring in central Nevada, and I bumped into the owner of the Blue Diamond turquoise mine. Going to the actual source of the stones is not only a ton of fun for the whole family, but I also get to feel really good about the products I’m selling, because I know exactly where they are coming from. 2) I am a huge fan of art history, and I have a background in textile design, so I often find myself being inspired by designs on vintage garments, tapestries, and jewelry from different historical periods. Whenever we go to an art museum, I head straight the historical artifacts: furniture, pottery, jewelry, fabric… I love the craftsmanship and attention to detail. History is essentially an infinite source of inspiration for me. I love anything from William Morris to ancient Scythian engravings.
What has been your favourite piece to work on?
I love really huge, impossible to make, outlandish, impractical, and egregiously detailed pieces. Working on each piece is fun, but one of these days I’m going to set time aside to do something really over the top. The Herkimer diamond bib collar that I started making this week is a hint at what’s to come…
Are there any offers on your products running at the moment?
Use coupon code TENOFF for a 10% discount!
What has the experience of owning a business been like for you?
There is simply nothing better in the entire world than being in charge of your own schedule. Sure, in many ways its more difficult and challenging, but the freedom and independence I have is worth more than anything else. I can throw myself into a big project, or I can prioritize spending time with my children. It’s my choice, and I can judge best where my attention is needed most. There is no substitute for that.
Where do you see your business in the future? What dreams do you have for your business?
I would love to get into casting, because it would allow me to develop really intricate designs, which could then be embellished further. This is the next step for me: CAD design, casting, and a wider range of products. I would love to offer really stunning, even more intricate jewellery, on a larger scale.
Listed below are the store and social media links for Rebellious Trees.
Thank you for answering my questions Joli. It has been a pleasure interviewing and getting to know you. I wish you well in your business venture.