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Famous Texas Jewelry Star Kendra ScottThe ability to juggle a work-life balance is truly impressive. The founder of her eponymous billion-dollar brand is a newlywed, about to file her first memoir, Born to Shine: Do Good, Find Your Joy, and Build a Life You Love, and will return as a guest shark on the new season of shark tank.
Between a dizzying schedule of brand management, philanthropic endeavors, a multi-state book tour, shark tank duties and nurturing a new blended family of eight, we wonder when the Austin-based entrepreneur will have time to breathe.
Apparently, queso, margaritas and finding joy in the little things keep the entrepreneur going. Scott also credits her marriage to Thomas Evans (her wedding ring is the only piece of jewelry she never takes off) and the relationship with her family, including three sons – Kade, Beck and Gray – as the foundations of her success.
And while her jewelry has been a go-to accessory for more than two decades, her first foray into the literary world was one of vulnerability and determination.
CultureMap sat down with Scott in Houston to get the exclusive for his next chapter.
CultureMap: How long did it take you to write Born to shine?
Kendra Scott: It took a little over two years from the time I decided to write the book, but in reality I’ve been writing this book for years. I never realized that my journal notes would one day turn into a book. It’s been a long process, but after 20 years of our business, it was honestly the perfect time to write this book.
CM: How did you juggle writing, running the business, and being a working mom?
KS: You know, it’s always a challenge. If someone tells you it’s easy and they get it, I think they’re lying. I wrote this during the pandemic so I was working from home with the support system of my loved ones with me. All our meetings were virtual, so it allowed me to have time to reflect.
I had also just stepped down as CEO and could just focus on being president, designer, and founder. I was able to focus more on our philanthropic endeavors, like our school at the University of Texas (Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute), and focus on writing this book. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.
CM: How do you relate to yourself personally in the book?
KS: I become very vulnerable in the book and I feel there is power in vulnerability. I hope being vulnerable allows other women or people to share their failures, successes, ups and downs and be authentic.
I also hope that the stories of my childhood, my marriage, my divorce, starting a business and failing a business – all of these things are part of what makes me who I am. In the book, I talk about the power of gemstones. Gems all have veins that are considered imperfections, but that’s really what makes them beautiful.
CM: Is there anything you wrote but then changed your mind?
KS: I pulled out the whole first chapter, and I wasn’t going to put it in there. My editor, who is also my editor, told me the chapter was great and she thought it should be the first chapter.
It made me realize that I had to be honest because the book starts out in a tough place but then takes readers on an amazing adventure.
CM: Can fans expect more books in the future?
KS: You know, I thought about it. Now that this book is out in the world, I don’t think it will be the last. It’s a different way of being creative, and I think I have other stories to tell.
I would like to make a children’s book one day. My eldest son was one year old when I started this business; now he’s 20, so he grew up with the business. Now I have a nine-year-old, and I’ve always read to him. I really hope that children’s books will be part of my future.
KS: Why did you decide to start your reading tour in Houston?
CM: Houston is part of who I am. That’s where I became a Texan. I moved here from Wisconsin when I was 16 and graduated from Klein High School. Moving at 16 and as a junior can be tough, but I was adopted to Klein – the community was so welcoming.
Houston made me the woman I am today. It made me realize that there is more to the world than the small town in Wisconsin where I grew up. Houston is such a dynamic city, full of culture and diversity – I felt like it was really important for me to start here because it was my first start in Texas.
CM: You come back to shark tank for Season 14. How was the experience this time around?
KS: I love to be on shark tank. I’ll be flying to Los Angeles for the premiere with all the other guest sharks on September 23, and it’s exciting because there’s never been a live premiere.
Nothing inspires me more than other entrepreneurs. There are long shooting days, but they pass quickly because it motivates me to meet other entrepreneurs. Many of these people had ideas before the pandemic, and the downtime during the pandemic gave them the opportunity to put their ideas into action. I can witness it a bit in the tank – it’s so much fun.
CM: There’s a lot going on, but is there anything else fans can look forward to before the end of the year?
KS: We just launched engagement rings and a whole bridal collection which is so exciting. We’re expanding into other fine jewelry categories, including diamonds and gold, and adding more customization options than ever before.
Scott Brothers, the line I started with my boys during the pandemic, is also expanding. It’s so much fun that our male customers who were here to buy for the women in their lives can now buy something for themselves. We just expanded to watches as well, so there’s a lot going on.
If you think about it, it took Ralph Lauren 25 years to expand into other categories. Our company has been around for 20 years, so I really love that Kendra Scott’s next phase is so fun and exciting. From a philanthropic perspective, we have given more than $50 million since 2010 to charities for women and children. We are, in many ways, a philanthropic organization within a brand. This is how we measure success, so I look forward to announcing our charitable efforts in the years to come.
We have a solid base and know what we stand for and stand for – I feel like the best is yet to come.
Kendra Scott’s first memoir comes out September 20.
Courtesy of Kendra Scott
Kendra Scott’s first memoir comes out September 20.