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Kendra Scott explains how Dolly Parton inspired her to become one of America's richest self-made women

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Kendra Scott thanked Dolly Parton for inspiring her to become one of America’s richest self-made women.

The jewelery tycoon has a net worth of $580 million thanks to a company with sales of about $360 million. He chronicled his journey to financial success in a book called “Born to Shine,” which featured a foreword by the country crooner.

Scott chuckled to FOX Business about the 1980 movie starring Parton: “I watched ‘9 to 5’ until the VHS ran out”. “I had to get another one and wanted it for my birthday because I watched it so many times. The symbolism of these women, who didn’t want to get along at first because they were so competitive with each other, made me talk because they finally joined forces. And then they completely turned a male-dominated business upside down. planted a seed in your mind.”

Dolly Parton Kendra Scott

Dolly Parton, left, who starred in ‘9 to 5’, wrote the foreword for Kendra Scott’s new book. (Getty Images / Getty Images)

Starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, the comedy chronicles how three female employees get together and turn things around for their sexist, hypocritical boss. Scott said that watching the movie and Parton’s performance inspired him to start a company that celebrates the talent of his female employees.


The model brought in big money. Scott’s company, which has nearly 3,000 employees, is 95% women.

“This is a utopia for working women,” she explained. “We have a manicure parlor for free mani/pedicure at our corporate headquarters. With so many busy moms and women in general, you don’t have to worry about getting a manicure. We also have a breastfeeding room for moms where you can pump or pump your baby to the nurse. There’s also a special We have a breast milk refrigerator. We have a gym and a children’s playroom if you need to bring your child to work.”

Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin

The 1980 comedy ‘9 to 5’ starred Dolly Parton on the left, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in the middle. (Photo by 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images / Getty Images)

“I created this today while watching ‘9 to 5,’ and it works,” Scott continued. “The lesson in this movie is that no matter what stage of our lives we are at, when we listen to and respect each other, we are stronger. And we are there for each other. I think that’s one of Kendra’s secret sauces. Scott [the company] and why we have such a great employee retention rate.”

“People are happy. If they’re happy at home, they’ll be happy at work, too. Many CEOs may think this is an added expense that will cost the company a lot. But if you lose good people, then you have to go and hire them, retrain them, hire them. Looking after and thinking about their needs will really put them ahead and protect your success. In a competitive market, business is ahead.”


It was 2002 when Scott, then a new mom, started making jewelry from her spare bedroom in Austin, Texas. The hobby turned into a business that runs more than 100 stores where customers can customize their jewelry.

Kendra Scott jewelry

Kendra Scott started her jewelry line with $500. She has now reported sales of $360 million, she. (Bennett Raglin/Getty Images/Getty Images for Kendra Scott)

“I always say, if you’re doing what everybody else is doing, you’re already failing,” Scott said. “I think this is very important to start a business today. You have to do something truly unique. But you also need to listen to the customer and learn about their wishes. Their feedback is not always the plan you can have, but by paying attention to your customer you will be able to steer your business forward. For me, that has changed many times over the years.”

The mother-of-three noted that her Midwest roots played an important role in her success.

“My mother’s family are farmers and coal miners – the hardest working people in the world,” he said. “People sometimes say to me, ‘Kendra, you work hard.’ I think, ‘No, you should see my uncles and grandparents. They work hard.’ “There was a seat. That became a big fabric of who I am today. You have to work hard and do good for the people in your community.”


Olivia Culpo Kendra Scott jewelry

Olivia Culpo models Kendra Scott Jewelry in Newport, Rhode Island. The popularity of the brand has increased with the help of TikTok. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images/Getty Images for Kendra Scott)

According to Forbes, private equity firm Berkshire Partners has invested in the company at a valuation of over $1 billion. The outlet noted that Scott left his position as CEO in 2021, but remained in his role as chairman of the board.

Scott shared that it’s important to just dive in when starting a dream business.

“When I started, it was shortly after 9/11,” he thought. “It was a very uncertain time in the world. It was also a scary time to start a new business. But my business exploded in 2009-2010. I would say to someone, don’t let the times around you affect focus. The opportunity you have. Even in the most uncertain times, the biggest, the most Incredible opportunities can arise. A lot of people might think, ‘I’m afraid to do this.’ But those who take that risk are the ones who get to the other side of that fear. They’re the ones who really shine and finally do something really exciting. You have to be brave. As an entrepreneur, you have to be brave.”

Kendra Scott Shark Tank

Kendra Scott was spotted in an episode of Shark Tank. As Scott set up his business, he started going door to door in Austin boutiques with his jewelery and cheerful personality. (Christopher Willard via Getty Images/Getty Images)

There’s one thing that excites Scott as a businesswoman these days: TikTok.


“I’m not on TikTok personally, but I have kids,” he said of the video-sharing app. “But you see all these amazing girls wearing Kendra Scott jewelry at sororities and it gets millions of views. It’s amazing. As a founder, you have to see the power of social media and how much power a client really has. It’s a different world for marketing and advertising today. It was very exciting to see that.”

“Obviously, I’ve become a much bigger TikTok fan,” he added. “…I’m very excited about the next phase of this brand and the next phase of my life.”