“The People on Your Team Are the Most Critical for Success”

In 2002, with just $500, Kendra Scott launched a mini jewelry collection out of the spare bedroom in her home. Today, Kendra Scott Jewelry is a global multimillion-dollar label sold at major retailers and more than 1,000 specialty boutiques worldwide. Celebrity fans of the line include Sofia Vergara, Eva Longoria, Cameron Diaz and more.

Kendra Scott Jewelry has been honored with the Hire Power award by Inc., naming the company one of the top job-creating private companies in the country, now with more than 120 employees. Kendra was named 2013 Austinite of the Year by the Young Women’s Alliance and the Men’s Business League of Austin.

Here, Kendra discusses why family comes first at her company and how to respond when someone says “no.”

While you were building your business, what were the main obstacles you faced?

In the beginning, the most difficult challenge I experienced was finding the resources. As any entrepreneur knows, getting funding to make our dream a reality can be tough — especially in the beginning when your idea has not yet been proven. Also, finding the right team was a huge obstacle, especially when we were unable to initially pay what larger companies were offering for similar positions. Finding the right people who can roll up their sleeves and wear so many hats in the early stages is key to being able to make your dream a reality. You have to find team members who share your passion and see the bigger picture and opportunity. Many incredible people started with me in the beginning, and I’m proud to say that many of them are still a huge part of our team today.

What two things have helped sustain your company’s success?

Family is absolutely the most important thing at Kendra Scott. Not only are each of our families extremely important to us, but we treat each other as family. No matter how busy or overwhelmed we may be, I always put my family first and I encourage everyone on my team to do so. Secondly, at Kendra Scott there truly is no greater joy than that of giving back to others in need. Having philanthropy at the core of our company just adds to the positive atmosphere. We involve ourselves deeply in national charities including Dress for Success, The Go Red Campaign for Women, the National Down Syndrome Congress and Susan G. Komen, as well as local charities in the cities that our stores are located in.

What advice would you give to people who are trying to start their own company?

If you’re ready to take the leap and start your own business, then go for it! Don’t let your mind be bogged down by the negative “what if’s” prompted by the naysayers around you and inside your head. Inevitably, your idea will be knocked down and people will tell you “no,” but learning to quickly pick back up and move on is such a valuable lesson. When someone does say “no,” think of it merely as a suggestion and an invitation to get creative!

What are your tips for networking and building professional relationships?

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is to always ask for help. Doing so is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. Throughout my business career, I’ve learned that personal connections can lead to opportunities, and people actually enjoy the opportunity to lend a helping hand. I know this is true because I’ve been on both sides of it. There is always someone out there who’s been in the same situation or dealt with a similar challenge that you are currently facing. Seek that person out and ask for advice.

What books do you think every entrepreneur should read?

Two great ones are Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish and Good to Great by Jim Collins.

What are your tips for staying on top of industry trends?

Industry-related blogs are a vital resource because they provide real-time advice from today’s entrepreneurial leaders. Blogs offer an endless compilation of constantly updated, valuable information that can be useful for all types of entrepreneurs, and they also create a web of interconnectivity between readers.

What is the one thing you need for your business to succeed?

Talented, passionate team members who are a good cultural fit. The people on your team are the most critical for success, and for my company to continue to grow I need to continue to be able to find the best and brightest who share my vision and fit with our unique family culture.

For more insights and inspiration from Kendra Scott, read up on the Kendra Scott Blog, follow her on Twitter at @KendraScott or connect on Google+

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