Founder of Kendra Scott : a FemCity Interview
I recently caught up with Kendra Scott, Founder of Kendra Scott. Her story of creating a multi-million dollar business will inspire you to go big in life and take a chance on yourself.
What inspired you to create Kendra Scott?
It’s very simple, really…I couldn’t find the jewelry I was looking for. I have always been in love with colorful gemstones, and was always looking for beautiful, quality designs at an affordable price. So I thought, why not make it myself? I used natural gemstones to create unique, quality pieces that any woman could afford, and I continue to design with that mindset today.
Did you have any stumbling blocks along the way? If so, how did you get through?
The recession was a very difficult time that turned into an amazing opportunity for my company. All around us businesses were shutting their doors, but we decided to take a risk. In the midst of the recession we open our first retail store, launch the Kendra Scott website, and create the Color Bar™ by Kendra Scott. We were faced with a necessary challenge and, as funny as it sounds, the recession was one of the greatest gifts for our company.
Was there ever a time that you said, no way can I do this… and then you moved forward anyway?
Oh, plenty of times. Being a mother of three boys and the CEO of a growing business is a struggle I face daily, and some days I have no idea how I can get everything done. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I always say I am a mom first, and balancing my commitment to my family with my commitment to our business is a challenge I choose to take on every day.
When did you know, at what point did you feel that you had made the turn and were now a success!
It happened when we opened our first store. After 2008, I decided to move away from my strictly wholesale business and begin to speak directly to my customers. I wanted to create a unique store experience where customers felt at home, at ease, and always ready to come back. The response we got was unbelievable! People fell in love with our open, welcoming atmosphere and our “WOW!” customer service. That shift is what allowed us to take my business to where we are today. By the end of the year, we will have 75 stores nationwide.
If a woman is reading this now and saying she could never start her own business, what would you tell her?
Never take no for an answer. When someone says “No,” it’s an opportunity to keep the conversation going, ask for advice, and talk through next steps or alternative options because at least you’re still talking. Chances are, you won’t get it right on the first try—I know I didn’t! My advice is to never let fear of failure or rejection hold you back. You have to believe in yourself, have a true passion for what you do, and never give up. Ever.
Did you have a mentor? If so, how did he/she assist you?
My first mentor was my Aunt Jo. As a gorgeous, energetic fashion director with impeccable style, she introduced me to the fashion world, and taught me about things like trend forecasting at a young age. She encouraged me to dream big and follow my passions, which inspired me to pursue my love of fashion. She was always there to answer my questions and since then, I have recognized the value of asking for help. Countless mentors have helped me grow my business to what it is today, and it’s why I’m so committed to mentoring others in return.
Is there a certain book/author that helped you expand your vision? Think bigger?
There are two books that stand out to me, and they are the same two books I recommend to any friend who asks. The first is for business advice: Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish. And the second is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
What is your personal mantra?
“You Do Good.” It’s the three words my stepfather spoke to me during one of the most difficult struggles of his life and I’ve carried them with me every day since. He taught me that the most important thing we can do in life is use our talents to better the lives of others, and every day I try to apply his words in both my professional and personal life.
For more interviews, please visit our Inspiration Section.
Violette is the Founder of FemCity // an online global network featuring business and lifestyle trends with over 70 local communities designed exclusively for women. Violette is also a motivational speaker, small business consultant, writer and mother of three. As a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience, Violette is passionate about supporting women entrepreneurs through business growth, big vision strategies and positivity along the way. For more inspiration and business tips, visit www.femcity.com and www.violettedeayala.com. Follow Violette de Ayala // @violettedeayala