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The downtown Austin skyline lit up yellow this week to honor CEO, designer, and philanthropist, Kendra Scott. The Austin entrepreneur can be seen on the ABC series “Shark Tank” starting tonight at 7 p.m.
To show pride for the hometown star, many of downtown Austin’s most prominent properties turned their lights yellow on Thursday. 17 buildings took part in the tribute. The Fairmont even created a special custom star on the south side of their building!
Scott founded her company almost 20 years ago in a spare bedroom of her house with just $500. In 2019, she made Forbes’ list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women with an estimated net worth of $550 million.
Also in 2019, Scott launched the Kendra Scott Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute at the University of Texas at Austin.
We spoke to KS prior to the WEL launch about what it’s like to be a woman in business.
Here’s what Kendra Scott had to say about founding a business in Austin:
“The biggest lesson I have learned as a female founder is that women put this unattainable pressure on themselves to be perfect. Sometimes we are so afraid of making mistakes or showing our weaknesses, that we let that hold us back from our true potential. I think we need to teach the next generation of women that they don’t have to be perfect. It is more important to be brave in the face of fear and failure, and we should encourage them to take risks, to be comfortable with imperfection and not “just smile and play it safe.””
When asked about basing her business in Austin, Scott admitted that it was a challenge at first. “In the early days of my business, I had people tell me all the time that if I wanted my business to succeed, I had to get out of Austin and move to LA or NYC – but I knew that wasn’t right for us,” she stated.
As the company has grown, so has the city. But Scott still feels that Austin is the right place for her company. “It is still that supportive, inclusive Austin culture that sets us apart from the rest,” Scott said. “That’s why I am so proud to call it home for myself, my family, and my company.”
We’re sure that KS will be showing some support and inclusiveness of her own as a Shark this season.
Watch Kendra on “Shark Tank” Fridays at 7 p.m. on ABC!
By the way, other guest sharks joining for Season 12 of “Shark Tank” include Kind Snacks founder Daniel Lubetzky, Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS, and World Series champ Alex Rodriguez. Of course, the regular cast will be there too: Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Robert Herjavec, Daymond James, Kevin O’Leary, and Lori Greiner.
Many Austin startups have pitched the Sharks in the past, including Chi’Lantro and GOGA, which you can read more about here.
Featured photo by Chris Lammert.