The Interview — Kendra Scott, Designer, CEO, and Philanthropist
Kendra Scott is a loving mom, a driven entrepreneur, and a passionate designer who believes the truest form of success is giving back in a meaningful way. As a creative mind with a love of natural gemstones, Kendra designed her first collection of jewelry in 2002. The foundation of Kendra’s success has been her infectious energy and entrepreneurial spirit, which took her from a $500 project in the spare bedroom of her home to a billion dollar fashion brand loved globally. Known for her unique use of color and quality materials, Kendra has created collections of timeless pieces that have won over loyal fans, media and celebrities alike. Since she began her company, Kendra has lived by three core values: Family, Fashion and Philanthropy. She created a brand and culture that authentically values giving back and making a positive difference in the community. The Kendra Scott company maintains a focus on its customers and the causes close to their hearts, abiding by the mantra “What Matters to You, Matters to Us.” For more one Kendra, you can follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
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What do you love most about your work:
Creating products that empower women. When I began my business, I wanted to design jewelry that made me feel beautiful—even though I was nearly 9 months pregnant with my first son! Jewelry has the power to instantly make you feel beautiful and confident, and sometimes that's all a woman needs to take on the world. Through my love of fashion and the incredible team that surrounds me, I am so proud to have built a brand that encourages women to be all they want to be.
Who has had the biggest impact on your career:
There are seven women in particular who’ve worked tirelessly alongside me over the past 16 years, and have impacted my career in more ways that I could ever express. Affectionately known as the “super seven” around the office, this group of dynamic women (one of whom is my mom!) have believed wholeheartedly in this dream of mine from day one. I wouldn't be where I am today without them.
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What has been the biggest challenge or obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your career:
The biggest challenge I think nearly all entrepreneurs face is overcoming the failures that will inevitably come their way. As I tell any budding entrepreneur—and myself on the occasional bad day—it is the struggle that makes you stronger. In the early days, as a true startup business, I heard my fair share of “no’s” before getting my foot in the door of the leading retailers. But for me, failure was never an option. It is incredibly important to keep pushing for your goals and not letting the word “no” knock you off course to reach them.
Walk us through your typical work day:
I don’t know if there has ever been such thing as a ‘typical work day’ for me. I love to wear as many hats as I can in one day, so often that means I'm running from Design to Merchandising to IT in a single day at the office. When I'm not at our Austin Home Office, I could be traveling to visit our newest store, or in meetings with a new philanthropy we're excited to partner with. The one constant is the time I spend with my family. I love to sit down at the end of the day and have dinner together with my husband and three sons. It's the perfect way to end the day, no matter what's going on.
Favorite piece of jewelry you own:
It is impossible to pick a favorite. It's constantly changing, but if you asked me today I would say the Diane Earrings. This design has a beautiful modern shape and is currently one of our best sellers, having been recently worn by Blake Lively during NYFW. Personally, I am a fan of the shell designs, particularly the natural Ivory Mother-of-Pearl, because they are perfectly lightweight and go with everything.
Your go-to power outfit:
At heart, I'm a girl who loves that classic feminine style, but I will never say no to trying the latest trends. This season, my go-to has been a bold dress with clean lines and unexpected details, paired with simple pumps and bold earrings (I tend to grab a classic statement like our Lindsey Drop Earrings in gold). No matter what I wear, I want to feel comfortable and confident. I see my outfit as an extension of my personality that also helps me get the job done.
You decompress each day by:
No matter how busy my day gets, I love to end it with a moment of gratitude. Especially on the days when I'm reminded of how hard it is to balance being an entrepreneur and a mom, it is so important to take a moment and remind myself why I do this. I love fashion, I love giving back to my community, but first and foremost I am a mother. Not every day will be perfect, and that's okay. What matters is that I remember what I'm fighting for, and remain grateful for the journey.
What’s a jewelry trend you predict will catch on this year:
This season in particular, I have loved playing with a mix of materials and textures. It adds a beautiful interest to the designs that I only see growing in the coming year. Within our just-launched Summer 2018 Collection, we incorporated raffia for the very first time. Raffia is a delicate, hand cut material from the palm trees of Africa that we dyed in a variety of bold, vibrant summer colors and built into earrings and necklaces. It adds a playful tropical texture to our designs that I just love, and cannot wait to continue experimenting with this trend in our coming collections.
Nail color currently on your hands and feet:
The weather in Austin is incredibly warm, at the moment I’m wearing our Abalone Shell Nail Lacquer to match my daydreams of the ocean. This color perfectly embodies the happy mood of summer with its kaleidoscope of blue hues, but also has a beautiful metallic base that adds a hint of interest.
If you could only recommend one product to buy from your jewelry line, what would it be:
What a hard question! I love so many, it's hard to choose. What many people don't realize is that we design so much more than jewelry at Kendra Scott! Between Nail Lacquer, Home Decor, and our newly launched Candle Collection, I love to recommend something unexpected when someone asks. Today, I'd have to recommend our new Jewelry Boxes! They are beautifully designed to be like jewelry for your home... and a home for your jewelry.