KHOU 11’s Mia Gradney sat down with her at the Kendra Scott headquarters in Austin for the story behind her jewelry empire.

HOUSTON — In a league of her own, few women have accomplished what she has. Still Kendra Scott wants all women to shine bright and do well.

KHOU 11’s Mia Gradney sat down with her at the Kendra Scott headquarters in Austin for the story behind her jewelry empire.

When people visit the headquarters, gold-gilded elevator doors open to reveal a giant jewel box, an expansive yet elegant and dazzling Austin office.

This is the headquarters of the billion-dollar fashion brand Kendra Scott, founded by its namesake in 2002.

“How involved are you in the design process now?” Gradney asked.

“Before I came in to sit with you, I was just in the design room with our head of design, Leah, going over some samples that just came in,” Scott said. “Every single thing that the customer sees, touches, will wear, smells, experiences, I am totally hands-on with. Today and always will be as long as they’ll allow me to be (laughter) but I love it and it’s so important to me.”

Scott launched the business in a spare bedroom and initially made the jewelry himself.

Now she has a team of 3,000-plus employees, mostly women.

“We are 95 percent female in our company, and this is a dream utopia for a female workforce,” Scott said.

HQ has a smoothie bar, a gym, a playroom for children, and a full-service nail salon.

“I’m a mom, I have six children. I am running every day to just try to, like, keep my everything organized, who has time to get their nails done. So I was like, what a great perk,” she said.

Scott has thought of everything – elevating and celebrating the women who have helped him build the business.

“What makes women such phenomenal leaders?” Gradney asked.

“I think they can lead with an empathetic heart,” Scott said. “When you lead with your heart and you listen, and you have that caring and empathetic spirit, you create an amazing environment and an amazing workplace.”

During Gradney’s visit, she watched as Scott listened, laughed and even got emotional during the annual Pillar Awards for her team members.

“I am… (sigh, pause) … I am so overwhelmed and humbled to be able to work with all of you every day,” Scott said.

They’re all women with shared values.

Scott attributes many of the company’s success and growth, from the start to three core values ​​– fashion, family and philanthropy. They’re values ​​she carried with her way before Kendra Scott the company.

“I ended up leaving college at 19, my stepfather had brain cancer. And I wanted to take a little break to be with him and my mother and support her,” Scott said. “He was spending a lot of time at MD Anderson in Houston. And so I was meeting so many men and women who were going through chemotherapy. I loved fashion, as I mentioned, since I was little. And so I brought in some hats where it’s sewn in cotton linings so that they’d be comfortable to wear, and just kind of bring them a little bit of joy and sunshine to their day. And I saw what impact it made. And so my first business ended up becoming a hat company. So I thought, why aren’t there more hat stores in the world? And so I dropped out to start this hat business, really thinking that I would go back to school someday. But life just had a different plan for me. And five years after running that business, and not succeeding, it failed.”

However, Scott was destined to shine in more ways than one.

“You also started another business, a PR firm. And what was the name?” Gradney asked.

“Glitters! I mean, it cracks me up every time I think about it,” Scott said. “I even put glitter on my business cards. I mean, so I’d hand them to people, people would get like this mess of them. People were like what are you doing?”

“Definitely memorable,” Gradney said.

“It was like, it was like, you know, Glitter PR like, we’re gonna just bring that extra dazzle to your business,” Scott said. “And so I did that for a short stint and then got another job. So on my side hustle, I was making jewelry, and then one day said, ‘Maybe I can quit my job. And maybe I can do this full-time. And I can try again.’ And I made that big leap of faith. And when I was able to truly dedicate 100% of my heart and soul into this business, that’s when amazing things started to happen.”

Since 2002, she’s expanded the brand to include candles and fragrances, Yellow Rose by Kendra Scott, and a men’s line, Scott Bros. by Kendra Scott.

The company has also generously given an estimated $65 million to women’s and children’s causes.

“You can have a giving heart and be successful at the same time,” Scott said.

Scott is now helping other women see the beauty in being entrepreneurs.

“And now, not only are you bringing wisdom to your own business, but to others at the University of Texas. Should I call you Professor Scott?” Gradney said.

“I mean, every time I hear it, I get giddy when my students are like, ‘Professor Scott,’ it’s amazing,” Scott said.

The self-proclaimed college dropout now co-teaches for the Kendra Scott Women’s Entrepreneurial and Leadership Institute at the University of Texas.

“We have it here, in our office, so they get to get a full case study on the Kendra Scott brand, they get to learn everything about this brand and get to learn from my leaders that I get to work beside every day, which is so phenomenal,” Scott said.

“Ever sit back and be amazed at what you’ve been able to accomplish?” Gradney asked.

“I couldn’t have dreamt this big. “I couldn’t have dreamed that we’d be in a beautiful office and I’d have all these amazing people that I get to work alongside the impact that we’ve been doing for our communities across the country,” Scott said. “No, I mean, I’m still, I pinch myself every day. Yet I wake up every day thinking, ‘We have so much more we can do and so much more we want to accomplish.'”

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