Austin icon Kendra Scott talks new memoir, shining career, and Texas roots
kendra's Next Chapter
Celebrated Texas jewelry star Kendra Scott’s ability to juggle a work-life balance is seriously impressive. The founder of her namesake billion-dollar brand is a newlywed, a returning guest shark on the upcoming season of Shark Tank, and she's about to drop her first memoir, Born to Shine: Do Good, Find Your Joy, and Build a Life You Love.
Between a dizzying schedule of managing her brand, philanthropic efforts, a multi-state book tour, Shark Tank duties, and nurturing a new blended family of eight, we wonder when the Austin-based entrepreneur has time to breathe.
Apparently, queso, margaritas, and finding joy in the little things fuel the entrepreneur to keep going. Scott also credits her marriage to Thomas Evans (her wedding ring is the one piece of jewelry she never takes off) and the relationship with her family, including three sons — Kade, Beck, and Grey — as foundations of her success.
And while her jewelry has been a must-have accessory for over two decades, her first venture into the literary world has been one of vulnerability and determination.
After kicking off her book tour in Houston earlier this week, Scott will be at the company's South Congress Flagship in Austin this Saturday, September 17, from 11 am to 1 pm. Tickets for the event are still available on Eventbrite, and each ticket includes a copy of the book, a meet and greet with Kendra, an exclusive tote bag, and more.
Ahead of the Austin event, Scott sat down with CultureMap in Houston to get an exclusive on her next chapter.
CultureMap:How long did it take you to write Born to Shine?
Kendra Scott: It took a little over two years from when I decided to write the book, but really I have been writing this book for years. I never realized that my journal notes would someday turn into a book. It has been a long process, but after 20 years of our company being in business — it was honestly the perfect time to write this book.
CM: How did you juggle writing, managing the business and being a working mom?
KS: You know, it is always a challenge. If anyone tells you it is easy, and they have it figured out, I think they are lying. I wrote this during the pandemic, so I was home working with the support system of my closest people with me. All of our meetings were virtual, so it allowed me to have time for reflection.
I had also just stepped down as CEO and could just focus on being chairwoman, designer, and founder. I was able to focus more on our philanthropic efforts, like our school at the University of Texas (Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute), and concentrate on writing this book. It is something that I have always wanted to do.
CM: How personal do you get in the book?
KS: I get very vulnerable in the book and I feel that there is power in vulnerability. I hope that being vulnerable will allow other women or people to share their failures, successes, and ups and downs and be authentic.
I also hope that the stories of my childhood, marriage, divorce, starting a business and failing at a business — all of those 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 really it is what makes them beautiful.
CM: Was there anything that you wrote but then changed your mind about?
KS: I pulled out the entire first chapter, and I wasn’t going to put it in there. My publisher, who is also my editor, told me that the chapter was great and that she thought it should be chapter one.
It made me realize that I had to be honest because the book starts in a tough place but then takes readers on an unbelievable ride.
CM: Can fans look forward to more books in the future?
KS: You know, I thought about this. Now that this book is out there in the world, I don't think it will be the last one. It is a different way to be creative, and I think I have other stories to tell.
I would love to do a children’s book someday. My oldest son was one when I started this company; now, he is 20, so he has grown along 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 in my future.
KS: Why did you decide to start your book tour in Houston?
CM: Houston is part of who I am. This is where I became Texan. I moved here from Wisconsin when I was 16 and graduated from Klein High School. Moving at 16 years old and as a junior can be tough, but I was embraced at Klein — the community was so welcoming.
Houston made me the woman I am today. It made me realize there is more to the world than the little town in Wisconsin where I grew up. Houston is such a vibrant city full of culture and diversity – I felt like it was really important for me to start here because this was my first start in Texas.
CM: You are returning to Shark Tank for Season 14. How was the experience this time around?
KS: I absolutely love being on Shark Tank. I will be flying to Los Angeles for the premiere with all the other guest sharks on September 23, and it is exciting because there has never been a live premiere.
Nothing inspires me more than other entrepreneurs. There are long days on set, but they go by quickly because it gets me pumped to meet other entrepreneurs. Many of these people were thinking of ideas before the pandemic, and the downtime during the pandemic gave them the opportunity to put their ideas into action. I get to witness just a little of that in the tank – it is so fun.
CM: You have 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 are expanding into other fine jewelry categories, including diamonds and gold and are adding more customization options than ever before.
Scott Brothers, the line I created with my boys during the pandemic, is also expanding. It is so fun that our male customers who were here to buy for the women in their lives can now buy something for themselves. We also just expanded into watches, so a lot is 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 like that the next phase of Kendra Scott will be so fun and exciting. From a philanthropic standpoint, we have given over $50 million since 2010 to women's and children's charities. We are, in many ways, a philanthropic organization within a brand. That is how we measure success, so I can not wait to announce our charitable efforts in the coming years.
We have a strong foundation and know what we represent and stand for — I feel like the best is yet to come.