Jewelry designer Kendra Scott has taken the accessories world, and now KC, by storm.
Since launching her business with just $500 back in 2002, Kendra Scott has grown into a multi-million dollar brand. Carried at retailers including Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s, her pieces have also been sported by celebs including Sofia Vergara, Eva Longoria and Brooklyn Decker.
Chances are you coveted one of her designs, even if you didn’t know it: The colorful earrings in particular have become a staple of many fashionable women’s wardrobes here in KC.
We caught up with the always-glam Scott to discuss her inspiration, favorite pieces and new store on the Country Club Plaza.
Q. How did you get started designing and selling jewelry?
A. From the time I could stand in my mother’s high heels, I have had an infinite love for fashion. My aunt worked in the fashion industry, and she was this gorgeous, energetic woman with impeccable style and an amazing ability to forecast fashion trends. I knew I wanted to follow her footsteps and tackle the fashion world, and my passion for jewelry became an outlet to fulfill that dream.
Q. What inspires your designs?
A. I find inspiration in everything, from landscapes and architecture to people and cultures. Through my experiences, passions and travels, my design team and I create four seasonal collections each year that translate my inspiration into gorgeous pieces of Kendra Scott jewelry.
Q. What inspired your Fall 2015 collection and what are some of your favorite pieces for fall?
A. As I mentioned, my designs are hugely inspired by my travels. Our Fall 2015 Mystic Bazaar collection was inspired by my journey to Dubai and incorporates a stunning mix of modern style and eclectic, global charm. My favorite piece, I have to say, is the Gabriella Necklace in Howlite. [Pictured on Scott, above.]
Q. What are your personal go-to pieces?
A. I have always been a firm believer that accessories make the outfit, so I guess you could say my collection is rather expansive. However, I have recently been embracing the delicate layers look, and my go-to pieces have become a number of dainty necklaces, bracelets and rings all worn at once. My most recent staples are the Coby necklace, Caleb necklace, and Miles midi rings from my fall line.
Q. Your jewelry is hugely popular but still offered at an accessible price point. Why is that important to you?
A. I was first inspired to start my own jewelry business when I found a huge white space in the market while shopping. It was difficult to find the jewelry I was looking for, so I decided to simply make it myself. I focused on creating beautiful, quality pieces with an emphasis on colorful stones and intricate details at a price that any woman could afford. After the incredibly positive response to my first collection, I realized I was not the only woman searching for a change in the jewelry industry. I continue to design with that mindset today, which has been a huge contribution to the brand’s widespread appeal.
Q. Why did you decide to open a store in KC and what attracted you to the Country Club Plaza area?
A. What attracted me most to Kansas City was the incredible community. I have already fallen in love with the area and all of its people, and I am so thrilled we can now call Kansas City one of our many beloved homes. At Kendra Scott, we care deeply about our local communities and I am so excited to get more involved in the Kansas City area. [Since it opened in early August, the store has already hosted a shopping fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City.]
Q. Why is expanding your retail presence important, and what’s the shopping experience like in a Kendra Scott store?
A. While our online presence and partnerships with premier retailers are extremely important to our business, I believe the Kendra Scott in-store experience is irreplaceable. It is always a party in a Kendra Scott store, and I encourage all of our customers to touch the jewelry, play around and try things on. I want every Kendra Scott customer to be able to experience that. We currently have 28 store locations across the US and are eager to expand even more by the end of this year. I had a personal hand in designing each store, from the fixtures to the furniture, so every customer would feel that entering a Kendra Scott store is like an extension of being invited into my home.
Q. What can visitors expect from the Color Bar, the feature at your stores that allows shoppers to customize pieces?
A. I created the Kendra Scott Color Bar so that every woman could showcase her unique style. Customers can personalize their look by choosing from a spectrum of vibrant stone colors and silhouettes. The Color Bar has a physical presence as the central hub at each of our stores and is also accessible online from computers or mobile devices. Within minutes your customized design is assembled before your eyes in-store, or appearing on your doorstep in just a few days. It’s easy, fun, and a great way to bring your style to life!
Q. Your business has grown tremendously. What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned getting to where you are now?
A. The biggest lesson I have learned through this journey is the importance of self-confidence. I took so many risks and personal sacrifices to take my business where it is today. For nearly 8 years I put my heart and soul into this company, taking no salary and putting it all back into my business because I truly believed in my vision and my brand. If I could give one bit of advice to any budding entrepreneur, I would simply say be confident in yourself. Believe wholeheartedly in your passion and your vision, and you will soar.
Q, What’s next for the brand?
A. It has always been my dream for the Kendra Scott brand to grow beyond jewelry. While we currently have a product mix of jewelry and soft goods, keep an eye out for even more on the horizon. We are excited to launch new products that expand into categories like beauty and accessories over the next 18 months. The sky is the limit here at Kendra Scott.