#SWAAYthenarrative
Photo Courtesy of Kendra Scott

Kendra Scott: From Door-To-Door Sales to a $1 Billion Company

People

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.

Kendra Scott

“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."

Health

It's Time We Ditch Over the Counter Period Care and Embrace the Power of CBD

Going through adolescence and puberty can take its toll. As we try and navigate the changes that are happening and settle into adulthood, it's easy to be unaware of something that might be a reason for concern, or we may rely on old traditional methods of support that aren't conducive to positive long-term health.

As a society, we have accepted popular over-the-counter medicines that are used for an isolated headache or migraine to be the only line of defense to treat period pain. We have allowed old treatments and information to remain stagnant and thus have failed to evolve with the times. In order for change to be possible, we need to modify our approach and take advantage of and source new information, products, and research while pushing the conversation forward to normalize discussions around menstruation to better support the health of people who menstruate.

As a society, we have accepted popular over-the-counter medicines that are used for an isolated headache or migraine to be the only line of defense to treat period pain.

Between growing up with three sisters and a dad who is a double-board certified OB/GYN and infertility specialist, vaginal wellness has always taken center stage in my house. Through this, I had a lens into a world that overtime became more obviously outdated and slow to establish new tools to help combat the unpleasantries that are associated with menstruation. In my own family, I was able to see how different getting your period could be, how diverse symptoms were, and the importance of quality female wellness.

One of my sisters had the unfortunate experience of dealing with an ulcer related to excessive use of over-the-counter medication. This medicine was the only available option to help ease the pain throughout her cycle, which is a direct example of just how damaging the lack of quality menstrual-pain products can be and the toll it takes on our bodies.

It was hard not to wonder why period companies weren't as equally diverse as its customers. Or perhaps another question is, where is the effort to even have open discussions about what more could be done? As you could imagine, growing up with a doctor in the family lends itself to immediate access to health information, but this is a luxury that most people do not have. So where are the resources to help educate women and other people with vaginas on their bodies or symptoms they should look out for to help maintain positive reproductive health?

Through these observations, it became apparent just how much more could be done to support, aid, and educate women or other people with vagins on reproductive wellness. As someone who took to the trend of CBD to help with my own menstrual cycle symptoms, it had dawned on me that I was already nurturing a solution. I had been sharing my experience with CBD for menstrual relief with my sisters and girlfriends, so why not the rest of our community?

Enter, Maxine + Morgan, the CBD based wellness brand dedicated to using natural ingredients to alleviate menstrual cycle symptoms that I created with my dad Dr. Allen Morgan. When my family and I learned that people who menstruate sacrifice approximately 23 days a year on average worth of productivity because of period-related symptoms, we knew our products could improve that. We created capsules that are GMO free, gluten free, and vegan; all of which are made up using only six ingredients. Turmeric, ginger, cramp bark, valerian root, and fennel coupled with the healing qualities of CBD make up our unique formula that has been scientifically shown to reduce PMS symptoms and cramping. In addition to our CBD-based products, we also have a wellness line of options that are CBD free, which are also undergoing a clinical study to determine overall effectiveness.

In my own family, I was able to see how different getting your period could be, how diverse symptoms were, and the importance of quality vaginal wellness.

We decided early on that we would focus on providing high-quality supplements that fostered an uninterrupted lifestyle while simultaneously investing time and resources to new research and information. Having only been established for a few years now, we have coordinated the first ever clinical study to compare the effectiveness of CBD to popular over-the-counter medicine. We have also created an initiative with the non-profit organization, Period.org to donate funds to help support their amazing cause.

As a program that prioritizes access to information, hygiene products, and resources, we couldn't think of a better group to join forces with to leverage change within the industry. Especially now in the pandemic era, there has been an influx of women who are facing the harsh reality of period poverty. This refers to women who need feminine hygiene products but cannot afford them, which often leads to using toilet paper, rags, socks, or not using anything at all. This is completely unacceptable. Maxine+Morgan is vowing to bring awareness to period poverty and sourcing solutions that help all women feel comfortable, healthy, and strong. Through strategic partnerships, influencing open conversations, and raising money for non-profit organizations we can create a new dynamic and standard.

Maxine+Morgan is vowing to bring awareness to period poverty and sourcing solutions that help all menstruating people feel comfortable, healthy, and strong.

We have set high standards for the quality and effectiveness of our products, but also for who we are as a company. We are dedicated to being allies to the female community in order to foster change, create support, and reinvent how we talk about period health. More times than not, we only discuss our experience around our period when we're forced to cancel plans because our cramps are too painful to leave the house. We have no problem talking about our new skincare routine but shy away from talking about our flow, or what's going on down there. Within the next five years, we're setting our sights on not only being readily available in all major retail platforms that carry your other female wellness products, but creating a new dialogue filled with updated information and dismantling the stigma behind open discussion on menstruation and painful period symptoms.

We're with you, we feel you, we are you.