Sonja Hill


What is Hilbogo?

Hilbogo is a jewelry, accessories, and interior design business with a focus on recycled materials. My mission is to teach youth and adults how to recycle found objects and materials into beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces. We also offer workshops about recycling and entrepreneurship to both youth and adults.

I am one of 11 siblings and growing up I always had to get creative with what I was given so I started sewing and re-purposing old materials and objects. Now I find all of my materials for my jewelry from secondhand sources including thrift stores, Arts and Scraps, and individual donations. I’ve worked for Detroit Public Schools for 12 years and working with youth is one of my passions so it was important for me to have an educational aspect to the business.

What was your experience in Build?

I first came up with my business idea in 2009, but Build Social really pushed me to focus on the details and gave me a great support group. Build taught me how to start a business plan and to really get that 30 second pitch down.

I ended up winning our class pitch contest and I received a $1500 prize package for marketing and design, which helped me refine my brand.

What are your recent developments?

After graduating from Build I joined TechTown’s SWOT city program, where I met my mentors Regina Campbell and Phillip Simpson (also a Build grad!). I have been working with youth in my community in Osborn to teach them about jewelry making and entrepreneurship. I will be offering monthly workshops for youth and adults at Nortown CDC in the Osborn community. I am also excited to announce my launch party on December 13th at 20017 Van Dyke. It’s open to the public and we can’t wait to show off the work we’ve been doing!

What’s in the future for Hilbogo?

I hope to eventually have my own retail space on the Gratiot corridor. I also look forward to growing my team and hiring some youth from the community to give them hands-on experience in running a business.