Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” - written note in the margins of Prose Works by Ralph Waldo Emerson from John Muir, famed naturalist and conservationist.
“My early science education was taught to me by our local librarian, an avid naturalist,” says Rebecca Perea-Kane, owner and designer of Thicket jewelry. “I spent many of those lessons outdoors identifying plants, catching amphibians, and learning about the natural ecosystem of New England where I grew up. So from early on, I had a very strong connection to the living things around me.”
Thicket is “minimal, botanical jewelry made by hand from sustainable recycled fine metals.” “I remember my first piece was the lemon seed,” Rebecca recalls. “I was working on my own line alongside grad school and then a full-time job for the past four years and this past November, working on Thicket became my full-time job.”
Previously, Rebecca went through the Community Investment Collaborative (also known as the CIC) in Charlottesville, a 12-week program designed to “fuel the success of entrepreneurs through education, mentoring, micro-lending and networking,” as described on the CIC website. Rebecca was very appreciative of her time with the program, calling the experience “incredibly empowering.”
“I learned how to keep my books, create a marketing strategy, and so many concrete skills. Knowing that I can track and maintain the business side of things no problem, that's really liberating,” she says.
On her experience continuing to build Thicket at the iLab, Rebecca glowed as she delved into her everyday work. “Every day that I work on Thicket, I really feel like I have my dream job,” she says. “I definitely want to keep growing; I know that there are a lot of places in my production process where I would love to have other people to help me. In the end, what I ultimately want is a “big small company” -- I want to stay connected to the production process and the time I spend in my studio.”
Rebecca isn’t only invigorated by creating her jewelry, though. “The best feeling for me is probably seeing people wearing my work when I'm not expecting to,” she says, smiling. “Just recently, I was at a market in Richmond and a woman came up to me wearing one of my pieces. My work having this whole life that I don't know about is so cool and exciting."
"I feel that most strongly when I make wedding bands,” Rebecca adds. “While I do think there are problems with how we as a society consume material things, there’s a symbolic significance behind something like a wedding band. I think there’s a balance we can find there,” she says.
About The Founder
Rebecca Perea-Kane is a self-described “writer, designer, and lover of creatures and tiny things.” She has worked extensively in the fashion industry, having held positions with textile and jewelry designers in New York City and Paris. Rebecca received a Master’s degree of Fine Arts in Poetry from the University of Virginia in 2015.
Note: The header photo was provided by Sera Petras. This article makes no claim to this photo. All other photos were provided by Rebecca Perea-Kane and Thicket.
About the Author
Christopher Nelson is a rising second year at New York University in Shanghai, China. He has experience in business operations as well as legal research and contract work. Christopher is currently interning at the UVA Darden School of Business Innovation Lab this summer as an interviewer and journalist.