Optimism and Obstacles on the Road to Success with Stella & Dot

By LAURA LOREK
Founder of Silicon Hills News

IMG_2554In 2003, Jessica Herrin started Stella & Dot, making jewelry kits out of her home in Austin, Texas.
This year, the company will do $220 million in revenue, Herrin said at Startup Grind 2014 in Mountain View, Calif. Stella & Dot sells boutique-style jewelry and accessories through online channels and in-home trunk shows through a network of independent vendors. Herrin measures the impact of her venture in the ability to create “a life of happiness” for others.
“So many people’s lives have been changed with $500 a month,” Herrin said.
Alfred Lin with Sequoia Capital and a board member of Stella & Dot did a fireside chat with Herrin Wednesday morning.
“It is a classic overnight success that is ten years in the making,” Herrin said.
After a few years, the company moved its headquarters to San Bruno, Calif. and raised a few million in venture capital. But it wasn’t always easy.
“The road to success is paved with a lot failure and a lot of passion and persistence along the way,” Herrin said.
And she faced a lot of naysayers.
“The world is full of people that will tell you it can’t work,” she said.
And startup entrepreneurs face a lot of problems, Herrin said. But instead of preventing them and avoiding them, she embraces them and outlasts them. She learns from the failures and mistakes and she embraces the lessons to help make her company stronger, she said. Herrin is optimistic and full of enthusiasm. She inspires others with her cheerful outlook.
“I was just really certain this needed to exist in the world,” she said. “It levitates me over any problem we have. I never lose doubt. I don’t need instant validation every day.
When Herrin launched her business she launched it as a “lifestyle business.” She had a baby and then she had another one shortly after that. She didn’t take a paycheck from the business for four years.
Someone once asked Herrin when did she decide to scale the business.
“Was it when you got capital? Actually it was when I was done breastfeeding my second child,” Herrin said.
Herrin also advised entrepreneurs that time constraints shouldn’t negate them for doing something.
“Everybody’s got the same amount of time,” Herrin said. “You just need to make choices so you’re living your life according to your priorities. It is about high value activities and what makes a difference and what you choose to do with your precious life.”

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