Behind the Scenes with Kendra Scott
April 16, 2013
United States
Behind the ScenesClassic WeddingsWhimsical
After touring her home, we recently had the chance to catch up with the wildly talented, insanely popular Kendra Scott, and grab an exclusive, behind the scenes peek at her gorgeous head office. Yep. This is where all of the beautiful magic happens you guys. To no ones surprise, her workspace is as colourful, as warm and as cheery as one would expect. This powerhouse of a woman has long been an inspiration for many of us here at SMP Living, and if you take a look at our little interview below you'll more than understand why. Captured by Suzi Q, the gallery is overflowing with jewelled goodness that simply musn't be missed.
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SMP: What does jewelry design mean to you?
KS: I am absolutely crazy about jewelry because I love the way it makes women feel. I have a real connection with my customers and it is truly amazing to see so many beautiful ladies wearing Kendra Scott. Women send in pictures wearing Kendra Scott during anything from a girl’s night out to their wedding day. Seeing women in my designs over the years means so much to me and is the fuel that inspires me to do what I do each day.

SMP: How did you get started in the industry?
KS: The start of my company was a mix of fate and my own brazen tenacity. In 2002, with a baby on the way, my family was faced with difficult financial times. Rather than panicking about our situation, I took it as an opportunity to turn my passion into a business. I took $500 out of our savings and created a jewelry collection, promising my husband that I’d double the money. With my newborn son in a Baby Bjorn and my jewelry in a tea box, I went door to door to local Austin boutiques and sold out of my first collection. Months later, I received a call from a Dallas buyer who wanted to represent me. With her help, I landed my jewelry in a renowned New York City showroom and the brand took off from there.

SMP: How long does it typically take you to construct a piece?
KS: The design process begins nearly a year before the actual collection is launched.  It all starts with the inspiration. Our Summer 2013 – Island Escape Collection, for example, was inspired by my travels last summer to Bali. I brought back inspiration from the amazing culture, architecture, people and geography of the city to my design team, and together we created a collection based on that experience. After we pull all of our inspiration for the collection, we scour the runways, magazines, blogs and everything in between before we start designing. From there, we begin developing the style of the collection with distinctive shapes, stone colors and colorways.  My design team and I then sculpt individual components until we have several pieces created. Only the best of the best components actually make it to the final collection, so there’s a lot of perfecting and weeding out that happens during this time.  Finally, the complete collection is designed and finalized and we await its arrival so we can share it with you all!

SMP: How have your jewelry designs changed since your start?
KS: Every season I feel like we learn something and take that information to make the next collection even more impressive. I look back on the last eleven years and I love to see the progression. This brand is a part of who I am and my style has definitely evolved over the years and our jewelry has done the same. In the last year, we have invested a lot of time and effort in finding new, unique stones to truly make our pieces one-of-a-kind and to ensure that we offer our long time customers something fresh and new with each line.

SMP: The greatest lesson in business you've ever learned?
KS: The greatest lesson I’ve learned in my years as a business owner is the value of hiring a company family that fits with your company culture and shares your vision for the brand. Here at Kendra Scott, the foundation of our company is based on three values – “Family, Fashion & Philanthropy”, with family being the glue that binds us all together. I have learned that the family part of our business motto applies not only to our individual families, but also how we relate to each other at the office. Unlike our families at home, we have the ability to carefully hand select our company family. Years of experience as an entrepreneur and business owner have taught me how truly valuable it is to choose the right people for your business family.

SMP: What is your favorite piece you've ever created?
KS: Rather than having a favorite piece, I have a favorite concept, and that’s our Color Bar™. As a jewelry designer, I feel like I have the best job in the world and I wanted to share my passion with other women by allowing them to play designer and create their own custom jewels. Whether for a red carpet event, a bridal party, or for that outfit you just can’t find the right accessories for, our Color Bar™ is the perfect way to for customers to create exactly what they’re looking for. Anyone can create custom jewelry using our Color Bar™ at one of our stores or online. The process is as simple as 1, 2, 3. You simply choose from 23 jewelry silhouettes in two finishes, choose your custom stone combo from our 26 choices of stones, and place your order. Your final custom piece will either be hand made in our store while you wait, or will be shipped out to you. It’s the perfect tool for brides who are looking to incorporate their exact wedding palette into their jewelry or their bridesmaids.

SMP: If you had to wear one thing from your collection every day, what would it be?
KS: Without a doubt, I’d say our signature Danielles in any gorgeous color. They are a classic that will never go out of style and can be worn day or night, with a cocktail dress or a comfy t-shirt. When I’m in a rush to get ready, they are definitely my go-to earring. They’ve been a part of our line since 2004, and each season they remain our top sellers.

SMP: Any predictions for the next trend in jewelry?
KS: As I mentioned, in the last year we’ve experimented with new stones and materials and we’re especially doing that in designing for our future collections. Holographics and highly textured materials have been a huge trend on the runways, and I think that trend will be big for jewelry and other accessories too. For Holiday 2013, get excited for gorgeous new stones with stellar luminosity. Inspired by aurora borealis, we’re using amazing stones that truly capture light from all angles.

SMP: From where do you draw your inspiration?
KS: I find inspiration in everything from the beautiful architecture I’ve seen while traveling, to the people I see walking the streets of South Congress at my Austin head quarters. I don’t create piece by piece, but rather by a vision of how I want an entire collection to look. You can see a certain theme through every line we release.  I am also very inspired by the women who wear my jewelry and when designing for a collection, I envision the woman for whom I’m designing.  The woman I designed my upcoming Summer 2013 – Island Escape Collection for was exotic, loves to travel and immerses herself in the culture.

SMP: What do you consider to be your biggest achievement in business?
KS: “Family, Fashion, Philanthropy” has been the philosophy for my business from the start, and what makes me the most proud is the fact that we’ve stayed committed to all three of these values throughout our growth.  Our biggest achievement is our commitment to the philanthropy part of our mantra. From our Issie Heart Collection benefitting the National Down Syndrome Congress to our upcoming Lolley Necklace benefitting Seton Breast Care Center, we are dedicated to giving back and supporting causes that are near to our hearts.  Our stores are also extremely involved in giving back within their communities, hosting “Kendra Gives Back” parties in which a portion of proceeds benefits a particular cause, and donating jewelry to raise money for a number of philanthropies.  As a team, we also actively engage in philanthropic efforts throughout the year.  There is truly no greater joy than that of giving to others and doing that in turn helps make our brand and company culture thrive with happiness and positivity.
[dotted] Photography by Suzi Q of Q Weddings