Her previous business had failed. She was pregnant with her first child. Under circumstances like these, it’s hard to imagine how Kendra Scott would find the courage to launch a new small business. But thanks to her unyielding optimism, that’s exactly what she did.
Start with a passion and personal need
The idea for Kendra’s jewelry business was sparked by both a passion and personal need. “I loved jewelry and I couldn’t find what I wanted,” Kendra says, noting that most custom jewelry was too expensive. “I wanted beautiful, hand-crafted jewelry. I figured other women would want that too.”
She started small. With just $500, she bought some initial supplies, set up a couple of work tables in a spare bedroom and began crafting with a pair of plyers and some wire. “It was kind of a hot mess,” she says. “But it was wonderful.”
In the early days, Kendra’s goal was simple: She wanted to create a company that would give her the flexibility to be a great mom while also supporting her family. But as her business began to grow, she had to learn to lean on others and ask for help when she needed it.
Learn to lean on supporters
Like a lot of small business owners, Kendra handled almost all of her company’s responsibilities on her own. “I was the marketing department, I was the sales department, I was the accounting department, I was IT,” she says.
Managing all that work, in addition to being a mom, was challenging. “I actually taught my babysitter how to wire wrap so that we could wire wrap orders after laying the baby down.”
She also leaned on her mom to pitch in once orders started to ramp up. “As we started to grow and get some bigger accounts, we were still working out of that extra bedroom. So, my mom and I would be at my dining room table ticketing and carding and bagging and packaging.”
Do good by giving back
Slowly over time, Kendra Scott grew into a national jewelry brand. Today, the company has over 2,000 employees, 98% of whom are women. Having achieved her own success, Kendra can’t help but feel a responsibility to give back.
“I lost my stepfather to cancer, and before he died he said to me: ‘you do good,’” she says. “Three very simple words, but it led us on a path to start a company that could do good.”
And that’s exactly what Kendra has done. Last year, her company donated over $3.5 million to over 1500 charities across the country.
“We’re not here only to have beautiful jewelry, but also to really make an impact in your life.”
Reframe rejection as an invitation
Hitting resistance is part of every business owner’s journey. But that hasn’t deterred Kendra. “Throughout my journey, I’ve been told no a lot,” she says. “And to me, no is merely a suggestion. It doesn’t scare me anymore.” Instead of being deterred by no’s, Kendra uses them to continue the conversation. No is merely an invitation to find new ways to make things work.
“Business is rocky,” she says. “But if you can change your course at the right time and take that 360-degree approach, and really look at it from a customer perspective, anything is possible.”