The Sparkle of Success

Kendra Scott CEO, designer and philanthropist
Kendra Scott's power suit includes a white blazer with jeans and an accent of animal print.  Image of Kendra via Forbes.
Her first business failed. She was pregnant and on doctor’s ordered bedrest. The circumstances did not hint at the success that was to come if only approached with passion, grit and determination. Kendra Scott refused to let past failures or current obstacles shape her future. Instead, she gleaned the lessons she could from any trials and used them as seeds of knowledge in her new venture. 

Confined to her bed during her first pregnancy, Kendra used the time to act on a long held passion of jewelry making. After having her first child in 2002, Kendra hit the pavement with her toddler in tow to convince local Austin, TX boutiques to carry her handmade jewelry. Business thrived, that is until the financial crisis hit in 2009. 

As sales plummeted by 40% and the boutiques carrying her jewelry closed their doors, Kendra had a choice. She could have either accepted the downfall as the end of her dream, or as an opportunity to evolve and continue pressing forward. Thankfully, she chose to continue moving forward. 

With her mind set on opening her own boutique, she refused to let the numerous turndowns from banks regarding her loan application deter her. She continued to approach banks until she found one willing to say yes and lend her the money for the first Kendra Scott boutique.

Kendra Scott Entrepreneurship

Before opening her store, Kendra recognized how women shop for other products in stores. When going to a department store or boutique for a new outfit, you expect to be able to touch the clothing, try it on and interact with the products. There is an emotional connection when women get in the fitting room and try on the right bra, shirt or dress. That is where you find the right fit, fabric and style. 

Kendra Scott Color Bar jewelry making

Knowing this, Kendra chose not to use glass cases or packaging that would restrict customers from interacting with the jewelry. She also included a Color Bar like the one above that would empower customers to design their own unique pieces. 

Her bold choices to open a store in the midst of a recession and reimagine how the store would be configured were well worth the risks. Over the years, Kendra’s brand has grown from her original $500 investment in her spare bedroom, to a company with 100 stores valued at $1 billion. Talk about a great return on investment! 

Kendra Scott Entrepreneurship
Kendra Scott leads the way in a stylish neutral colored power suit. The silky fabric adds a touch of glam to the classic style. 

Even as success has multiplied, Kendra has remained true to her core values of Family, Fashion and Philanthropy. Some of the amazing programs the company embraces include a Buy One, Gift One program to give jewelry to breast cancer patients, as well as the in-store fundraising efforts through the Kendra Gives Back program. Philanthropic investments are not limited to funding or products, but will also include leadership development through the UT Austin Kendra Scott Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (WEL) Institute starting in Spring 2020 to help develop female leaders. 

Kendra’s journey shows us that nothing is impossible and that though failures or setbacks can feel like the end of a story, they are merely a part of a chapter. As the chapters unfold, lessons are learned, strength is gained and positive change becomes possible. 

Image Sources
Original Images of Kendra Scott & Kendra Scott jewelry via Instagram @kendrascott

Sources and Further Reading

Girls Who Run the World

Girls Who Run the World by Diana Kapp and Illustrated by Bijou Karman
Who runs the world? GIRLS. 

Beyonce confirmed this fact in her 2011 song and author Diana Kapp proves this again in her recent book, “31 CEOs Who Mean Business: Girls Who Run the World.” With colorful illustrations from Bijou Karman and insightful writing from Diana, the book introduces readers to 31 women changing the face of business. 

Girls Who Run the World by Diana Kapp and Illustrated by Bijou Karman
Jenn Hyman from Rent the Runway

With women from industries that include fashion, food, science, technology and companies like Stitch Fix, Spanx and Farmgirl Flowers, the profiles are presented in a relatable and insightful story format. Readers get to know more about these amazing women through a question and answer section, before diving into stories of starting up, floundering and find their way to success.