LOOKING FOR THE LATEST SHORTCUTS?
SHORTCUTS FOUNDER, AMY IMPELLIZZERI WITH RUSTIC CUFF FOUNDER, JILL DONOVAN
Recently, while in Oklahoma to speak at the State Bar Association's annual meeting, I made a date to catch up with Tulsa native, Jill Donovan (founder of Rustic Cuff jewelry) at a local restaurant.
When I arrived for our lunch date, after having driven straight from the airport, my phone was dead, and I greeted the hostess with an apology. "I'm so sorry, I just need to plug my phone in for a moment and see if my friend is here yet."
The hostess waved off my apology. "No problem. And by the way, while you're waiting - guess who's here?" She nodded to the back of the restaurant and stage whispered: "Jill Donovan. Can you believe it? Right over THERE." I laughed, "Yes, that's the friend I'm meeting." The hostess gave me a wide-eyed, impressed smile and walked me to the back of the restaurant where we both found Jill chatting up a woman who had apparently been a stranger just a few moments before. The woman turned out to be a Rustic Cuff customer who - when she spotted Jill - just had to stop and share how much she loved her Rustic Cuffs. A woman who, like the hostess, had never met Jill before that day, but who was impressed and star-struck just the same.
That's how it is with Jill Donovan. But it wasn't always that way.
The humble - but indubitably successful - head of Rustic Cuff (recently recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the Top 10 Culture Companies (Small Company Category)) actually started her business out of her home just 6 years ago by designing custom bracelets for celebrities - including then emerging country singer and fellow Tulsa native - Miranda Lambert. After a national magazine photographed one of the gifted Rustic Cuff creations on Lambert's wrist - demand for Donovan's designs, and in turn, Donovan's popularity - skyrocketed.
Since her first celebrity sighting, Donovan has designed cuffs for dozens of celebrities - with a huge sighting on the wrist of none other than Oprah Winfrey on the cover of the March 2015 issue of O Magazine.
Donovan has infused her brand with a unique charm by sharing real stories of her life and the inspiration behind her journey and designs. By creating conversation pieces and an extensive and innovative product line available primarily in her own brick and mortar and online retail shops, Donovan has made her cuffs a unique mix of both coveted and accessible.
On social media, customers share pictures of their latest Rustic Cuff acquisitions, and sing the praises of the woman behind it all. One quick scroll through Rustic Cuff tags shows that this is no ordinary e-commerce brand. The emphasis among customers and Jill herself is on paying it forward, gifting bracelets, and telling stories with one another.
On April 27, Jill Donovan announced the upcoming October 3, 2017 release of The Kindness Effect. Available for pre-order now - this hard cover coffee table book promises to share "concepts inspired by [Donovan's] most popular bracelets, telling the stories behind them while also sharing how they can impact the life of the reader and everyone they touch." The news was devoured enthusiastically by the closed Rustic Cuff Facebook group of 41,000+ fans. The name of the group? Addicted to Cuffs #JDFC ("Jill Donovan Fan Club").
It's clear that these days - the real celebrity behind the brand is Jill Donovan herself.
But in all the best ways.