Kendra Scott's entrepreneurial venture into jewelry began like many startups do: at the intersection of a realized need in the market, and the tenacity to do something about it. Making the decision to create a jewelry brand was simple, really, she told SWAAY.
“I couldn't find the jewelry I was looking for. I saw a white space in the industry for beautiful, quality designs at an affordable price, so I thought, 'Why not make it myself?'" she explained. “I used natural gemstones to create unique, quality pieces that any woman could afford."
Jewelry in tow, she walked door-to-door in Austin, Texas selling the pieces she'd designed and handmade in her spare bedroom. That was back in 2002, and to say the brand has found success would be an enormous understatement. Fifteen years later, and Kendra Scott is now a $1 billion company with no signs of slowing down.
“Each day I wake up to run a company that is bigger than it was the night before," she said. “If someone had told me then — when I was still boxing and shipping each order from my dining table — that I would be running a $1 billion company one day, I wouldn't have believed it. Now, when I look around at the inspiring, dedicated men and women that make up this company, I am not surprised in the least."
She said that she learned early on that in order to find success, you must surround yourself with a group of people who not only believe in your passion, but are just as invested in the outcome as you.
“Their hard work and passion for this brand is so much of the reason we're experiencing success today," she says. “With every collection we launch, and every new design we create, I challenge my team to dream bigger than we ever have before. We have a saying here to 'always go beyond.' Whether it's going beyond for a customer, a colleague, or the design of a new collection, we bring that mindset to work every day."
It wasn't always easy, though, and it takes time to build momentum. In addition to the door-to-door sales, Scott launched her company with zero capital behind her.
Today the company boasts 67 stand-alone stores, and counting, and has branched out to sell a nail polish line (inspired by gemstones, of course), and gorgeous home goods. These new offerings have strengthened the brand instead of diluting it, largely because of Scott's ability to stay true to her core values.
“Our pillars of family, fashion, and philanthropy have shaped my business, our culture, and the decisions we make every day," she explained. “Not only do we treat each other like family; we also live out our philanthropy pillar through our dedication to giving back. And no matter how large or successful we become, we will always look to those three core values as our foundation." She said her dream for the company is to create a legacy brand that lasts for the generations to come, and urges fellow entrepreneurs to dream big and be disruptive in their own industries.
“My advice is to take a look at your talents, what makes you unique, and use those differentiators to build a business that stands apart from the rest," she said. “You will most likely find success when you dare to think differently."
WRITTEN BYWendy Rose Gould