Kendra Scott (born March 27, 1974) is an American fashion designer. She is the chairman, CEO, and lead designer of Kendra Scott, LLC. In 2017, she was named Ernst & Young's National Entrepreneur of the Year.
Early life and career
Kendra Scott was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin. At age 16, her family moved to Houston, Texas where she graduated from Klein High School. Scott fell in love and "followed a boy" to Texas A&M University, which she attended for one year before dropping out to move to Austin, Texas at age 19 to help with her ill stepfather.
Scott opened her first business, the Hat Box, which specializes in comfortable hats designed for women going through chemotherapy treatment. Scott sold "comfortable but stylish" pieces and donated a portion of the proceeds to cancer research.
Before starting her own business, Scott started making jewelry from home in Austin, Texas.
Kendra Scott, LLC
Scott founded Kendra Scott LLC in 2002, designing her first collection with $500 in the spare bedroom of her home just after her oldest son was born. She walked store to store around Austin, selling to local boutiques, and at the last boutique she had to sell all of her samples to purchase enough materials to cover the orders she had made that first day.
In 2005, Scott's designs were chosen to accessorize Oscar de la Renta's Spring 2006 Runway Show. Scott's designs also appeared in Randolph Duke's 2007 runway show.
Because of the financial crisis in 2009 she nearly had to close her company.
Scott's first retail store opened in Austin on the Austin´s South Congress Avenue in 2010. In the same year, she began her e-commerce business and launched the brand's Color Bar experience.
In 2011 she opened her second store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, but she had to close it after a while. In 2014 Scott opened stores around the South and Midwest, while ignoring the fashion elite in New York and Los Angeles. Later, in 2016, she sold a minority stake of her company to the private equity firm Berkshire Partners at a valuation of §1 billion.
In 2016, private equity firm Berkshire Partners invested more than $1 billion for a minority stake in the company.
Now valued at over $1 billion, her brand encompasses fashion jewelry, fine jewelry, home accessories, nail lacquer and beauty products.
As of the end of 2019, Scott has 102 retail stores. In addition to an e-commerce business, Scott's merchandise is also sold in London's Selfridges, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Von Maur, Bloomingdale's and over 1,000 specialty boutiques worldwide. 95 percent of her more than 2,000 staff are women.
Scott invests in younger companies in Austin, such as Helm Boots and Darbie Angell dinnerware.
Kendra Scott, née Baumgartner married John Scott on June 24, 2000. They had two children but divorced on August 22, 2006. Scott remarried on June 6, 2014 to Austinite Matt Davis in Sedona, Arizona and have one child together.
Scott is a philanthropist with a history of supporting women and children's causes.
In 2015, Scott launched the Kendra Cares Program, which brings the company's customizable Color Bar jewelry experience to pediatric hospitals across the country.
In 2017, Scott’s company hosted more than 10,000 Kendra Gives Back across her stores. She gave the money for local causes and also donated more than 75,000 pieces of jewelry.
In 2019, Scott donated $1 million to The University of Texas to launch the Kendra Scott Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute.
Since 2010 her company´s program has given away $30 million.
Awards and recognition
Scott was awarded the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 National Award and the Breakthrough Award from the Accessories Council Excellence Awards. She is listed as #40 in Forbes' list of America's Richest Self-Made Women 2019, been named Outstanding Mother of the Year by the Mother's Day Council, Texas Businesswoman of the Year by the Women's Chamber of Commerce, Top 100 Entrepreneurs of the Year by Upstart Business Journal and 2017 CEO of the Year by the Austin Business Journal.
She is a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
In 2019 she became the 12th woman in the state who has been inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame.
In April 2020, Governor Greg Abbott named Scott to the Strike Force to Open Texas – a group "tasked with finding safe and effective ways to slowly reopen the state" amid the COVID-19 pandemic.