FIRST THOUGHT: Designing a Life You’re Proud of
If you could design your dream life, what would it look like? Maybe you’d come home from your job as the first woman president, and Ryan Gosling greets you with a glass of fine wine and dinner on the table. Oops, maybe that’s just my dream. Let’s be a little bit more realistic and get at the root of the question. It isn’t about the things you have (Ryan Gosling) or the accomplishments you’ve achieved (lady president). Today, think about what impression you want to make in your one-and-only life. For me, I want to be known for loving fiercely, living honestly and giving fully.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 72 Percent
Nonprofits received more than $358 billion in 2014. Do you think corporations, foundations or individuals gave the most? If you answered the latter, then ding, ding, ding! You won! Individual contributions accounted for 72 percent.
That tells me the world is full of a lot of good, giving people. That’s the kind of world I want to live in.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Kendra Scott, Jewelry Designer and CEO of Kendra Scott Designs
One of those good individuals is Kendra Scott. Her success starts with a kind heart. Let’s discuss her mesmerizing journey from struggling entrepreneur to astute powerhouse.
In the ’90s, Scott opened her first store, The Hat Box, in Austin, Texas. She started the company after witnessing her stepfather’s battle with cancer, deciding to donate a portion of all retail proceeds to cancer research. The business eventually shuttered, leaving Scott without her life savings. Here’s the inspiring thing though: She didn’t quit.
When the millennium rolled around, she used the same concept—a retail store with a charitable side—to launch her next venture. While pregnant with her first son, Scott was advised to stay off her feet (something I’m sure many of us can relate to), so she delved into jewelry making. She launched Kendra Scott Designs out of her spare bedroom with only 500 bucks in hand.
With her 3-month-old baby boy snuggled up in a BabyBjörn, Scott went store to store and sold samples of her jewelry. The craftsmanship and unusual gemstone shapes piqued everyone’s interest, and her company soared.
Scott isn’t just gifted at jewelry making; she’s skilled at building a booming business model. Now with nearly 40 stores and $110 million in revenue in the 2015 fiscal year, Scott has made it. She’s opening a 43,000-square-foot office space in May for her 350 employees, tailored for a work-life balance that’s enviable. There will be a juice bar, nursing stations and a game room for the kiddos.
If you’re a creative and resourceful woman like Scott, heed her five tips for turning your business idea into a reality: be optimistic; educate yourself on the industry; accept assistance; surround yourself with clever worker bees; and, last but not least, give back.
It’s not just about success for her, though. From the beginning, Scott has constructed her business with an undercurrent of altruism. In the early days, she made a vow to herself that if a charity or nonprofit asked for a piece of jewelry, she’d give it to them. Her company donated almost 50,000 pieces of jewelry and more than $1 million to charities in 2015. While others may think giving away so much would be a hindrance to one’s business, Scott has proven that it’s actually integral to prosperity.
With a full heart and open arms, there’s no stopping this luminous lady. We can’t wait to watch what the incomparable Kendra Scott does next.
QUITE THE QUOTE
I’ve heard that if you’re having a bad day, you’ll feel better by doing something that makes someone else happy. Anne Frank, who was wise beyond her years, wrote:
“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.