While this pandemic has been hard on many businesses in the jewelry industry, some such as Kendra Scott have weathered the harshness of this past year. The company had recently appointed Tom Nolan as the new CEO in February. Nolan, having previously worked at Ralph Lauren and Condé Nast, sat down with JCK for an interview about how Kendra Scott managed to push through the pandemic, and what the future holds.
“We had some pretty significant international expansion plans leading into 2020 that were derailed because of COVID,” said Nolan about how Kendra Scott worked its way through the pandemic. “In hindsight, that was a good thing as it allowed us to really focus on our core [business] and expansion here in the U.S. and North America.
“We have spent a lot of time building and firming up our team. We have an amazing organization, top to bottom, really talented and terrific people, that we’ve worked on developing and training.
“We know that the customer is our boss. She’s the person that ultimately signs our paychecks. We want to make sure that, wherever she or he is, we are there for them and can cater to whatever their needs are.
“The retail landscape shifted pretty materially last year. Consumer habits changed. We are a very nimble organization and were able to move really fast. We’re not afraid to take risks. We accelerated a lot of technology applications like buy online, pick up in store. We have a new clienteling platform, Yellow Book, that we’re launching in the next couple of weeks. That lets customers interact one-on-one with one of our stylists. It’s reacting to the new world we live in, and making sure that we deliver the same level of experience with someone that may be in their living room, that we do in our retail stores. Those kinds of things we pulled far forward and launched. We were able to meet the customer where she was and I think it served us really well. At the same time, our business got healthier. We just had to get smarter about operating expenses and how we run the business.
“Our business landscape shifted, as many did, to a higher propensity online, which we were planning for anyway. But at the same time, our retail business and wholesale landscape also got galvanized and grew and is stronger than it’s ever been before.”
How involved is your founder, Kendra, in the company now?
When asked how the founder of the company, Kendra Scott herself, is involved within the day-to-day, Nolan said, “In her new role—it’s not even really a new role, it’s the same role that she always had—she has more opportunity to focus on design, philanthropy, and the consumer experience, the three areas that she’s most passionate about, and the three areas that she’s always spent a lot of time on.
“With those three things, she is still incredibly active, even more so now than she was before. But now people on the outside can get a glimpse of what she’s like on things like Shark Tank, and that’s only the beginning.
“Her name’s on the building and she’s always going to be the face of the brand. She always has been, she always will be. That’s only going to grow, now that she has more time to be able to do more of those things. We could not be luckier to have someone with her talent to be the face of our brand.”
Information originally sourced from JCK.