21 Jul Kendra Scott Learns to Navigate COVID-19: Virtual Events + New Clothing Line!
We know her, we love her, we support her. Fellow Texan Kendra Scott is no rookie when it comes to great marketing strategies and she has been killing the game during what seems to be a fatal time for businesses nationwide. So how is she doing it? Kendra Scott is navigating the Coronavirus crisis with a mix of digital, philanthropic, and community engagement-driven initiatives. The company said its sales during the crisis have generally surpassed original projections set for 2020 when its retail stores were still fully operational. Now with a stable of 108 brick-and-mortar stores, 46 of which have reopened for curbside pickup across 16 states, Kendra Scott president Tom Nolan said the company is focused on direct-to-consumer initiatives and charitable messaging to keep the business moving forward. “Our business continues even through a global pandemic, we are relatively strong. We have been forced to close retail stores for employee and community safety. Our pillar of philanthropy is so important to us and it’s really resonated with customers and employees [during this time]. Heading into the year we were up double digits across all channels and even for the year 2020, our direct-to-consumer business is also up double-digits,” Nolan told Women’s Wear Daily.
The brand always brings its community together and regularly holds community engagement events at its local stores with about 10,000+ total gatherings in 2019. This has even continued during lockdown remotely, as the Kendra Scott label hosted virtual styling seminars, local college gatherings, and give-back events on Zoom, Facebook, and Instagram. One initiative — the company’s Everlyne bracelet — has generated enough sales for the company to provide 3.5 million meals with Feeding America for those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. The brand said these combined efforts helped it beat sales projections originally set when stores were still open. “In most instances, our e-commerce has over delivered on our original plan, including retail,” said Nolan. “One of the reasons it’s so strong is that experience is at the core of our brand. We spent time thinking about that. We’ve seen that a lot of the web customers coming to us are traditional retail customers. We’ve also picked up 35 percent new customers, which for us is huge. This crisis is a terrible thing and tragedy but it’s also been an opportunity for us as a brand.” Kendra Scott has been readying a curbside pickup option for consumers for the last year, with plans to launch in 2021. Those plans were expedited for launch in a matter of days, and is now an option for shoppers in states like Texas where the company said it is operating 23 stores, “really safely with a minimum number of employees,” said Nolan.
And it doesn’t stop there for the ever-growing label. Kendra Scott is dipping her toes into the apparel business. You heart that right! The Austin based jewelry designer and philanthropist will now be offering a limited-edition capsule that includes women’s and children’s T-shirts and masks, all sporting the Scott motto “Stronger Together.” The women’s and children’s T-shirts retail for $22 and $28, while the masks come in a set of two for $22. They are all available now on the Kendra Scott web site. With philanthropy at the root of business for KS, twenty percent of the proceeds from each T-shirt purchased will go directly to local hospitals’ COVID-19 relief efforts, and for the purchase of each mask, one mask will be donated to a frontline worker. “I have great faith that when we work together and treat each other with kindness, we can emerge from this challenge even stronger than before,” Scott said. “Over the last few difficult months, I’ve come to believe this even more. This new apparel collection continues our support for local hospitals’ COVID-19 relief funds, and I hope it will also act as a light of encouragement when our customers need it most. That is always my goal, to spread joy with the products we create.” When asked if we can expect more apparel to come, Scott said, “Yes, we do have plans to expand this collection in the future, continuing our focus on a positive, uplifting message. More to come soon.” These new T-shirt and mask styles are a continuation of Scott’s commitment to the community. Over the past several months, Scott has donated more than 4,500 face masks to frontline workers. She has also donated $475,000 to local hospitals from curbside shopping. The company has pivoted to virtual Kendra Gives Back events, booking more than 1,400 giveback events nationwide.
This year was meant to be a time that the Kendra Scott brand would start focusing on an international strategy. Those plans will now take a backseat forcing the brand to research into domestic manufacturing. “Our national awareness in the U.S. is still really low, we only have one store in New York City. Our point of view now is that we’d rather get the brand to a bigger place here and have more awareness in New York,” Nolan said. And as for their retail space, they will continue to move forward with virtual events and take everything day by day. Kendra Scott is in talks with other fashion labels to brainstorm solutions to the ongoing crisis and its aftermath. “I’m taking a lot of cues from the restaurant industry. Food service has to be so clean, I have friends that run food service businesses and they are so smart how they do it, setting up timers at moments to sanitize the whole building. We are figuring it out; I think the whole industry is trying to answer the same thing,” Nolan said. “I think there is going to be technology born out of this, whether it’s UV cleaning or something to make it easier. The whole retail industry is talking. I’m connecting with colleagues at former competitors — everyone is sharing information right now because it is essentially a wartime scenario.”
It’s clear the future of retail, like a lot of things right now, is up in the air. Everyone is learning to adapt to this new normal and with the inclusion of media, philanthropic work, and brainstorming new avenues of business such as a clothing line, Scott is headed in the right direction.