Kylie Reuterskiold is a wife, mother, Afghanistan War Veteran, and Mid-Ohio Valley native as well as proprietor of SissyChick Jewelry. SissyChick brand jewelry can be found locally in Twisted Sisters and Focus Boutique and is self-described as “handmade jewelry for trendy women and children.”
Kylie grew up in Marietta, OH where she attended Saint Mary’s Catholic School until the sixth grade when she and her family moved to Mineral Wells. She graduated from Parkersburg South in 2007.
“I initially tried to get into cosmetology school but couldn’t get any loans so, as I was talking to my mom one day, it dawned on me that I could pay for school by joining the military.”
After enlisting in the army in December of 2007, she came home for Christmas and New Years before leaving for basic training the beginning of January 2008. She served as a military police officer and eventually met her husband Cody at Fort Carson in Colorado. Kylie served for two years and her husband eight, during which time they both did a tour in Afghanistan together. Kylie’s contract ended in 2010 and she proceeded to attend cosmetology school in Colorado Springs and received her license in Texas. She had a difficult time transferring her license here to Ohio, which became one of the main reasons she made the leap into crafting jewelry.
SissyChick Jewelry is produced and packaged from Kylie’s home. Her products are sold in downtown Marietta at Twisted Sisters and Focus Boutique and she has participated in Marietta Market Place. Kylie has been making jewelry since January of this year.
“My mother had some extra ‘jewelry making stuff’ that she never used so I took it home and started making earrings. My very first jewelry sale occurred when I had about 20 pairs of earrings and I took them to my son’s school when I was picking him up. The ladies in the office bought a few pairs each, and then even some moms that were waiting in the gym for their kids bought some too. That’s when I started getting deeper into making the jewelry because I realized it was something people actually wanted. That was pretty exciting!”
Kylie’s children became her muses. They inspired her to create something to share with them and from that, “Mommy and Me” necklaces were born.
“When my girls wear my necklaces they will sometimes break them. I thought it’d be nice if they could wear something that looks like my stuff, helps them feel like they are wearing my stuff — plus looks cute — but is still functional. Most of the kids necklaces I make have magnets instead of clasps so when a child yanks on it, it comes right off.” She added, “Also, a lot of them fit inside the mom’s necklace so if you’re at the grocery store and they’re yanking it off and don’t want to wear it you can actually put it on your neck instead of throwing it in your purse.”
Kylie pointed out how jewelry for children is either cheap plastic or something like J Crew jewelry for which you have to pay $50-$60 for a necklace. “It’s ridiculous! You either get Barbie jewelry or expensive jewelry.” Kylie is hoping to fill that middle ground for the middle-class.
She also has delved into essential oil jewelry, mostly bracelets with wooden beads that, when oil is applied, are used for aromatherapy. “One of the reasons I started using the essential oils such as doTERRA was because they were supposed to help with stress and anxiety.” Having her own struggles with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), she hoped the essential oil jewelry would help in coping with everyday life. She explained how her venture began, “I started following some websites that pertained to aromatherapy and PTSD and what you could use. I wore lavender and another one that is similar to cedar wood called Grounded. A lot of people use oils but they don’t last all day. With my jewelry, all people have to do is wear a bracelet, put the oil on, and reap the benefits all day long.” The essential oil jewelry is not just for adults, though. Kylie has found benefits in this product for children as well. “I make kids necklaces for oils, like little pendants and kids bracelets with Baltic Amber beads. They have scents that can benefit kids who struggle with ADHD. Our son wears bug repellant oil on his necklace and it works like a charm repelling bugs.” She relished the moment and continued, “It is incredibly satisfying to make something people can benefit from.”
Beneath the success of her in-home business, Kylie’s past experiences in the army have shaped much of her life today. “In 2009, while deployed to Afghanistan, my company was stationed at FOB Blessing. It was brutal, and not what we expected. We thought the FOBs would be relatively safe.”
The difficult thing about PTSD in general, but especially in the military, is that very rarely does the trauma stem from a single event, but actually an entire experience.
FOB Blessing is located in the Chiriac Valley, and being near the Pakistani border, Taliban activity is frequent. “Basically in every mission there would be a firefight and we’d go on missions sometimes every day. We’d also receive incoming from artillery almost daily.” She, like many soldiers, has had to face the struggles that accompany such experiences. “The difficult thing about PTSD in general, but especially in the military, is that very rarely does the trauma stem from a single event, but actually an entire experience. There was no singular point of a deployment that defined me.” Her strength and courage as she overcomes the emotional hurdles placed before her shines through even in her handcrafted jewelry.
Although she believes in her products now, at the beginning of her venture, she didn’t think it would amount to much. However, after working out schedules with her husband so that she could work from home while he watched their three children, the creativity began to flow. Not only did she find it convenient working from home, but it has become a source of comfort as well.
“One of my biggest fears is that something will happen to my kids, so being able to be here with them and work helps relieve that anxiety. It’s incredibly difficult to get a job and hold it down when you have no idea how you’re going to feel on any given day.” She prefers to sell to local vendors rather than attempting a store of her own at this point. “The vendors I sell to are very understanding. They also pay the taxes that get added to the cost of the jewelry so I only have to report what I earn which makes it easier on me.”
Aside from finding a place for herself within the downtown community, Kylie and her family have joined the many who take advantage of the beautiful riverside atmosphere so unique to this area. Since their military contracts came to an end, Kylie and Cody have been in Marietta for about two years. Having had a difficult time in Texas, she was hopeful that moving back to the Mid-Ohio Valley and being near family would help her cope better since she’d have a support network already in place. Both Kylie and Cody love the outdoors and have passed that love onto their children. They spend a lot of time on Pioneer Trails and The Marietta Bike Trail riding bikes.
“That’s one of the reasons we love it here. We had no ponds, lakes, or anything. We’d dream of coming back to a green area,” she said, referencing their time in El Paso, Texas with nothing but desert all around them.
As time continues to move forward, Kylie and Cody are finding new ways each day to do the same in the face of difficulties and struggles. No longer surrounded by an atmosphere of shared experiences and community within the military, they are excited about an upcoming reunion with their platoon to be held right here in Marietta.
“We’re all at that point where everyone is getting out of the military and wondering what our next move will be.” It’s safe to say that Kylie has made her next move; in the face of fear and doubt, she has not only been successful in her business ventures, but is a shining example of one who will not give up, no matter how great the struggle.