I was first introduced to the Kendra Scott brand on a trip to Texas in 2014. From the gorgeous jewelry to the meticulous and well thought out branding – I was immediately hooked. Since then I have visited Kendra Scott stores in several states and was thrilled when they opened one in Madison (at Hilldale) in 2018!
Kendra (the entrepreneur behind the namesake brand) has an incredible story of vision, grit and perseverance that led her to the Kendra Scott brand we know and love today. My interest piqued when I learned that Kendra is a Wisconsin native (born and raised in Kenosha) when I was listening to a ‘How I Built This’ podcast on NPR. I was honored when she agreed to answer a few questions about her brand, her Wisconsin roots and her entrepreneurial vision.
Kendra Scott is an amazing brand – and we are fortunate to have a store right here in Madison. They give back tremendously to our community – they have hosted multiple give back events for Madison Mom where we have fundraised for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of WI; for Domestic Abuse Intervention Services of Dane County and most recently for Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern WI.
We encourage you to check out their store at Hilldale (or their website), or to consider hosting a Color Bar Party (so fun – I did one for my birthday last year!) or a giveback party where you select the non-profit beneficiary.
The fall collection will hit stores in early August and you won’t want to miss it! I recently got a sneak peek during a zoom ‘jewelry making party’ with Kendra and some of their media partners from across the US. You can view some sneak peeks below — and be sure to book a virtual or in-person give back event with the Hilldale location. You get to select the non-profit benefactor and can have fun shopping with friends (either virtually or together!).
Meet Kendra… a WI Native, Visionary, Fashionista, Philanthropist and Mom!
Where did you grow up? What were the best things about growing up in Wisconsin?
I grew up in Kenosha, Wisconsin with a strong, hard working family that lived by even stronger values. They taught me if you love what you do, work hard at it, and treat people right, you can achieve anything. That’s why I founded my company on the core values of Family, Fashion, and Philanthropy. Those three values have formed a strong foundation for our business, and allowed us to create a company culture that stands apart from the rest.
Do you still have friends and family that you visit in WI? If so, are there any WI landmarks or must-see stops when you are back to visit?
Yes, of course! Although I don’t get to visit quite as often as I’d like! Harbor House is perfect for an evening out with the family. And when I’m on the go, I always head to Colectivo Coffee – before stopping by our beautiful Brookfield store, of course!
Who do you look up to and admire in business and why?
I’ve always admired Mary Kay Ash. She was the very first woman inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame, and I had the immense honor of becoming the 12th woman inducted just last year. When I was a young girl, in a time very unlike our world today, Mary Kay showed me what it looks like when you empower a woman to be successful as a mother, and in her career. She once said, “Most people live and die with their music still unplayed. They never dare to try.” She inspired me to play my music and chase my dream, no matter what.
Do you have a favorite podcast (or book you’ve read recently)?
I recently re-read The Alchemist for maybe the fourth time in my life, and each time I do it takes on new meaning. It’s a timeless, entertaining story that illustrates how success isn’t always linear and achieving dreams may not look like you initially envisioned. Looking back, I realized I had to go through all of that to get to where I am today. The Alchemist interprets this in a beautiful way making the point that there is nothing too hard that we can’t overcome.
In the How I Built This podcast, I remember learning about your first business – the Hat Box. And I adored your story about how your perseverance and resilience paid off when you started Kendra Scott. You were literally toting a newborn around with you when you went to stores, selling your jewelry. That is incredibly inspiring!
What advice would you give to moms of young children who struggle with work/life balance?
I always say, let go of the idea of the perfect “work-life balance.” There is no such thing as balance, as any working mother will tell you! Every day is different, with its own set of struggles and challenges. Be kind to yourself, and let go of the idea of perfection that has become so prominent in our culture today.
What is the most important thing you want people to know about the Kendra Scott brand?
I want people to know that while yes, we are a brand that makes beautiful jewelry, I am most proud of the work we do to give back to our communities. From the beginning, we have been a company that authentically cares about our customers and the causes that matter to them. Whenever someone comes to us with a cause dear to their heart, we will always have something to give. Our dedication to philanthropy has built unique and invaluable relationships within our communities, and I believe we are a stronger business today because of it.
Fall Line is Launching August 5th