AUSTIN — There are a growing number of women-owned businesses in Austin -- about an 11 percent growth from the year before.
One of the best known local entrepreneurs is jeweler Kendra Scott, whose business and shops are expanding.
On Friday, she opened her new flagship store on South Congress.
She moved the flagship about two blocks from the original location, which is about three times smaller.
The new store is a 3,118 square feet refurbished home. And a first for Scott – it includes a “Sips & Sweets” Café.
Her Austin-based company is valued at more than $1 billion.
This year, she opened a store in NYC. She also makes candles and is now expanding into home accessories.
"It’s jewelry for your home,” she said. “I love using semi-precious stone materials and the beautiful metals we use in our jewelry."
KVUE interviewed Scott during her VIP opening night party.
Despite the glitz and glamour, she had humble beginnings. After failing her first retail business, she started again with $500, designing jewelry with no experience.
We asked her for advice about building a successful business.
"I believe when you surround yourself with amazing people who believe in you – that you look for white space,” she said. “Whatever that might be, whatever you're passionate about. You do it with a kind and loving heart, anything is possible."
Women-owned firms represent 22 percent of Austin businesses. Still a small fraction, but it has increased year to year.
Why the growth?
Emanuel Ibarra, program manager for the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship, said there are more women sitting on corporate boards and working as advisors and mentors at new companies.
UT teaches future entrepreneurs that to be competitive, you need to find your expertise.
"What is it that you know that not a lot of people know that you're just kind of an expert in,” Ibarra said.
For Kendra Scott, she wanted semi-precious stone jewelry that would not cost her an arm and a leg.
“There was nothing out there,” she said. “I was a new, young mom, and I was like, 'There's gotta be a way that I could create beautiful jewelry that was attainable for women.'"
One secret to success?
"When you want something, usually there's other people that want it too,” she said.
She adds that giving back is a large part of her success.
Last year, Kendra Scott donated nearly $5 million and 100,000 jewelry pieces to charities.
"We're lifting each other up to be successful,” she said. “That's what we need to do as women. Anything is possible if you believe and never give up."