Tulsa's Rustic Cuff Jewelry Embraced By Celebrities, Local Moms

Monday, February 9th 2015, 6:47 pm
By: News On 6

Rustic Cuff is a jewelry company that began more than three years ago, in Jill Donovan's living room.

After traveling the world, the mother of two had built up her own collection of cuff bracelets from places like India and Greece.

One day in 2011, at around 2 a.m., Jill says her favorite cable TV show planted the seed for her big idea.

"I was like, 'Hold on a second, if she makes cuffs, I can make cuffs,'" she said.

With that, Rustic Cuff began its journey to the top, starting with small craft shows across the state.

“I was dying leather, engraving, snapping, stamping leather. I would go to the store and learn, and I didn't tell anybody," Donovan said.

It didn't take long for the demand for Jill's designs to become obvious. One house party later...

“I sold 200 cuffs that night. I thought, they feel really sorry for me or they like bracelets, and time will tell.”

Time told her she needed more space and showed Rustic Cuff was more than just a hobby.

"I loved it and every second of it, and that is when I knew I found my passion because there wasn't a single day that I didn't care that I didn't sleep," she said.

Three years later, her Tulsa showroom is constantly packed. It's located at 4150 South Harvard Avenue.

“I wanted it to feel like a candy store, but you couldn't eat it," said Rustic Cuff owner Jill Donovan.

She has more than 20 employees and some of them have been with her since day one.

“I really think it is just Jill. She is the reason why her business has done so great. She has such a great heart," said employee Meagen Smith.

Not a dime is spent on advertising. Jill uses a lot of social media and good old snail mail, sending her pieces to any TV personality she can think of.

“She (Kathy Lee Gifford) put her arm on his shoulder and she was wearing a rustic cuff! And I was like, 'For real, I just mailed that to you and you are touching Barry Manilow,'" Donovan said.

More than 300 stores now carry Rustic Cuff and the showroom wall is adorned with photos of celebrity fans.

"That's Michael Buble, and that was a real highlight for me last year. I got to spend time with him during one of his concerts at Madison Square Garden," Donovan said of one of the photos.

But this Tulsa entrepreneur stays modest.

Her pieces are affordable, ranging from $30 to $200. The work space is designed with her employees in mind because many are moms themselves. There are even separate rooms for the little ones to watch TV or do homework.

“We are like a family here; it is so great. I have a 13 month old and I've brought him forever, since I came back to work," Smith said.

And these days there is a lot of work going on, the orders are streaming in.

Jill just launched a new necklace line called Kate 48 which isn't even in stores yet.

“Sometimes it feels like I'm standing outside my body thinking: 'that's really great, I wish I could do that,' and I'm like, 'now I do do that,;” Donovan said.

See her designs at the Rustic Cuff website.