This week at SXSW I had the pleasure of covering SX Style. Being a Life & Style blogger myself, I’m sure you can imagine my thrill when finding out I’d get to be among some of the best in the fashion & beauty biz, including Kendra Scott (founder and CEO of Kendra Scott Jewelry) and Emily Weiss (founder and CEO of Glossier). With so many topics covered, the main thing I took away was how companies are embracing philanthropy to motivate consumers and employees alike as well as how technology and time are changing the way the world sees fashion.
In my first blog post, we’ll be taking a look inside Kendra Scott’s jewelry empire and how making philanthropy a priority from the beginning has caused her business to grow into a national brand.
Philanthropy in Fashion
When it comes to philanthropic brands on the market today, Kendra Scott is the cream of the crop and she’s found a way to merge her passion for fashion with her generous heart for people. While Kendra started her jewelry company with the idea to always give back, she didn’t start out marketing it that way. Little did she know, when she opened her first storefront in Austin, customers would line up around the block to get in; each telling a story of Kendra’s selfless generosity by providing anyone in need with “Kendra gives back” events. Through partnerships with individuals, local and national charities, she hosts a variety of unique store events where 20% of the proceeds benefit an individual or group cause. Kendra then encourages others to inspire generosity on social media by sharing how they give back, using her hashtag #YouDoGood. With so many options to choose from, this giving concept has given consumers a reason to buy Kendra Scott Jewelry and makes for very loyal customers.
Aside from “Kendra Gives Back” events, she’s started to bring joy to kids in children’s hospitals with her “Color Bar”. A colorful yellow cart is pushed around by Kendra and her team with rows of colorful pieces, giving kids the ability to create their own piece of jewelry for themselves or a loved one. This not only brings a smile to the faces of children suffering through injuries and illnesses, but also to loved ones who are caring for them.
Kendra has even carried her generosity over to her employees as she mentors and inspires the women who work for her to follow their own dreams. In a 90% female driven company, an internal campaign encourages employees to treat each other like “sisters” and celebrate each other’s’ accomplishments, from promotions, to personal life achievements like proposals and pregnancy. To further the generous “vibe” of the company, Kendra is building new headquarters in Austin that will not only house offices, but a complimentary smoothie bar, fitness studio, cafe and even an in-house nail salon where employees can get manicures and pedicures for free! When Kendra hires employees, she sees the resume as secondary and core values as most important. This has created a culture of women who are passionate not only about the brand, but also its values and that in turn creates consumers with the same passion.
The Kendra Scott business model is one to be admired. Companies of all sizes should be looking for ways that they can give back to the community in a big or small way. An authentic brand story will translate in any language and giving consumers a reason to do business with you will cause your business to soar to new heights – financially and culturally.