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.“[It] was incredibly difficult," she said. “That first phase of my business was a constant struggle, but I put my heart, and every dime I had, into this dream of mine. Even if it meant forgoing my salary to pay everyone else before myself, failure was never an option. Strangely enough, I believe that leap of faith in our earliest days is what has given my company such a strong foundation today."
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."
Personally, I am over the top excited that we are on the cusp of turning the page on not only a new year but also on a new 10-year window of opportunities and possibilities!
You may be thinking, whoa…I am just embracing the fall season…yikes… it is tough to think about a new decade!
Yet it is this groundwork, this forward thought that you put in place TODAY that will propel you and lead you into greatness in 2020 and beyond. Designing a new decade rests in your ability to vision, in your willingness to be curious, in your awareness of where you are now and what you most want to curate. Essentially, curating what's next is about tapping into today with confidence, conviction, and decision. Leading YOU starts now. This is your new next. It is your choice.
Sometimes to get to that 'next', you need to take a step back to reflect. Please pardon my asking you to spend time in yesterday. Those who know me personally, know that I created and continue to grow my business based on enabling the present moment as a springboard for living your legacy. So, indulge me here! True, I am asking you to peek into the past, yet it is only in order for you to bring the essence of that past forward into this moment called NOW.
One of the best ways to tap into what's next is to clarify what drives you. To design a new decade, ask yourself this question about the past ten years:
What worked? What were my successes?
Make a list of your achievements big and small. Don't type them, but rather use ink and paper and sit with and savor them. Move your thoughts and your successes from your head, to your heart, to your pen, to the paper. Remember that on the flip side of goals not attained and New Year's resolutions abandoned, there was more than likely some traction and action that moved you forward, even if the end result was not what you expected. Once you have a full list of a decade's worth of personal and professional accomplishments, think about how this makes you feel. Do you remember celebrating all of them? My guess is no. So, celebrate them now. Give them new life by validating them. Circle the successes that resonate with you most right now. Where can you lean into those accomplishments as you power into the decade ahead?
Now comes a tougher question, one that I used myself in my own mid-life reinvention and a question I adore because in a moment's time it provides you with a quick reconnect to your unique inner voice.
If it were 10 years ago and nothing were standing in your way, no fear or excuses to contend with…what would you do?
Don't overthink it. The brilliance of this question is that it refocuses purpose. Whatever first came to mind when you answered this for yourself is at its core a powerful insight into defining and redefining the FUTURE decade. Bring your answer into the light of today and what small piece of it is actionable NOW? Where is this resonating and aligning with a 2019 version of yourself?
Then, based on your success list and your answer to the above question, what is your 2020 vision for your business and for the business of YOU?
Designing a new decade begins as a collection of 3,650 opportunities. 3,650 blank slates of new days ahead in which to pivot and propel yourself forward. Every single one of those days is a window into your legacy. An invitation to be, create, explore, and chip away at this thing we call life. One 24-hour segment at a time.
While you have a decade ahead to work on design improvements, you have the ability to begin manifesting this project of YOU Version 2020 right NOW. Based on exploring the exercises in this post, begin executing your vision. Ask questions. Be present. Let go of 2019 and the past 10 years so that you can embrace the next 10. Position acceptance and self-trust at the forefront of how you lead you. One choice at a time.
Don't get bogged down in the concept of the next 10 years. Instead position clarity and intention into each new day, starting today. Then chase every one of those intentions with an in-the-moment commitment and solution toward living a legendary life!