Kendra Scott is a passionate designer, CEO and philanthropist who believes in the power of giving back, a characteristic evident since the start of her career which began with a hat company dedicated to patients of chemotherapy. With true entrepreneurial spirit, Kendra knew that to be successful would require far more than just hats. It was in 2002 that she launched Kendra Scott Design out of her own home in Austin, Texas with a mere $500. Her creative mind and zest for opportunity led her to design her first-ever jewelry collection accented with natural gemstones. This $500 project is now an empire worth an estimated $1 billion. The Kendra Scott brand is globally loved and recognized and any Kendra Scott design is known for its timeless appearance, unique color and quality materials.

How does one build such an empire? Kendra Scott was featured on NPR’s How I Built ThisShe talks about growing up around her fashionable aunt and being inspired by her closet. This inspiration is what sparked her to launch her hat company, The Hat Box, at a time when her step father was being treated for cancer. Her dream of hats becoming the newest and hottest trend was overridden by reality. After a few years and the loss of her step father to cancer, Kendra closed The Hat Box and swore she’d never enter retail again.

Kendra married in 2000 and had her first son in 2001. The birth of her son is what encouraged Kendra to get back into the fashion industry however she knew she wanted her next venture to have a mission just as important as The Hat Box. Kendra always had a passion for design and it was when she was pregnant she found the ideal market—although clothes and shoes would fit one day and not the next, jewelry was always there to make her feel beautiful. Delving into this idea, she realized beautiful, semiprecious jewelry was unattainable and too pricey for regular folk. She wanted to change that. After a few basic classes in jewelry design, Kendra designed her first collection with tools given to her by her mother and a few hundred dollars worth of supplies. She promised her husband she’d bring home $1000 from her first collection. She took her son door to door with her as she tried to sell her designs to stores in Austin, Texas.

She made $1200 that day with four orders waiting to be produced.

In no time at all, Kendra Scott Design was a profitable company. Her first big break was worth $74, 000. “Fake it till you make it” was Kendra’s motto during this time; no one knew she was working out of her spare bedroom. After more major sales, Kendra was in New York City trying to attain business in a major NYC showroom. Weeks went by following the pitch and she hadn’t heard a thing. One day she received the call saying the showroom wanted to carry her line. The following market season, Kendra Scott jewelry was being carried in Nordstrom.

6 employees and finally an office space later, Kendra decided (in contrast to her famous last words) that the next step would be to open a retail store. At this time, her marriage had ended and she was a single mother to two sons. The support she received from her family gave her the encouragement she needed
to open a brick and mortar store. Today, with more than 19 boutiques and her line available in over 800 stores, it’s safe to say Kendra Scott was made for retail.

Her philanthropy ties back to her designs. She designs certain lines as a way to give back to society (all of which can be found on her blog). Whether its Habitat for Humanity or Girls on the Run, Kendra always manages to give much greater importance to her work. She is the epitome of a true noteworthy woman.