From an Extra Bedroom to 20 Stores and Counting: How Kendra Scott Created a Multimillion-Dollar Jewelry Empire.
Kendra Scott’s entrepreneurial career was launched out of a spare bedroom in Austin, Texas. It was 2002, and Scott had just given birth. Bored and on bed rest, she withdrew $500 and bought the materials to make earrings. At this point, she’d been making jewelry as gifts for friends for years, as she was frustrated that the only available options at retailers were bookended by high-fashion, expensive pieces and trendy, low-quality pieces with nothing but blank space in between.
Why not, she thought, go about filling the gap? “I put that first jewelry collection in a tea box, put my son in a baby Bjorn and we went store to store writing down orders,” Scott says. At the last store she visited, she had to sell her original samples in order to buy the materials to make the orders she’d just filled. During those early days, Scott sold her car and took out multiple personal loans, funneling the funds into her nascent business.
A single mother raising two boys, nagging worries often kept her up at night. “There were so many times I was afraid I was going to lose everything…I remember negotiating with my landlord on when I could pay rent. I had nothing to back me up,” she says. “Failure wasn't an option. I had to succeed for them.”
It wasn’t clear at the time but all those sleepless nights were worth it. From its humbling beginnings in a tea box, Kendra Scott Design has become a multimillion-dollar business. Last year, the company took in $75 million in revenue and is on track to take in more than $110 million this year. Meanwhile, Scott predicts her employee count will mushroom from its current 350 to 500 by late 2015 as more stores open (currently there are 20, but by the end of the year, there will be 38 retail locations.)
These days “I sleep a lot better at night,” Scott says.