Kendra Scott Sound Congress Flagship

Collaborations With Target, Wrangler And Barbie Help Kendra Scott Jewelry Do More Good

Brand collaborations have become a really big thing with last year breaking records in collabs and product drops, according to Queue-It, a software company that helps brands manage online traffic.

Unlike traditional licensing, which is largely transactional, more narrowly focused and longer term, collaborations lean into the partners’ creativity to bring something new and fresh to market beyond the traditional structures of a license agreement. Both licensing and collaborations serve marketing purposes, but collaborations take it to a higher level, less transactional and more strategic.

“By their very nature, brand collaborations are innovative because they require the brands taking part to create something new and compelling for each other’s audiences,” Claudine Harris, CEO of brand matchmaking company Miai, shared with CEO Magazine.

Kendra Scott, the purpose-driven jewelry brand, has recently tested its creative boundaries through three collaborations: a retail collab with Target and in product with Wrangler and Barbie. Yes, the collaborations support marketing to extend the brand’s reach and grow sales, but the goal is much bigger than that.

“Collaborations are a way for us to push the boundaries of the Kendra Scott brand and authentically connect with our customers in a new way,” shared Kendra Scott CEO Tom Nolan.

“They allow us to reach existing and new consumers and serve as a platform for our brand to do more good throughout our communities. It’s important to us to partner with brands that are both committed to giving back and are culturally relevant,” he continued.

Success Measured In Doing Good

Since the founding of the eponymously-named jewelry company in 2002, Kendra Scott the entrepreneur and Kendra Scott the company were about more than designing jewelry and growing sales and profits. “We exist to create good in the world,” is the personal and corporate mission and the company declares “giving back is the truest form of success.”

After stepping down as CEO in 2021 and handing the day-to-day operations of her company to CEO Tom Nolan, Kendra Scott has turned her attention outward.

She established the Kendra Scott Foundation to support women and youth and she also dedicates time to the Kendra Scott Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute (KS WELI) at the Austin campus of University of Texas. However, she remains the company’s executive chairwoman and chief creative officer.

Corporately, the company has given back $65 million since 2010. Its giving touches many different causes, including breast cancer research, education, creative arts, product donations for non-profit fundraising and local causes through in-store events. For example, in 2023 the company hosted 21,000 regional events, of which nearly 12,000 were Kendra Gives Back events where 20% of purchases were donated to a local cause.  

Collaborations are a way for Kendra Scott to do more good, beyond just selling more products and attracting more customers, though that is a rewarding result.

“Our brand lends itself to being a great partner for collaborations because Kendra is such an exciting, inspirational and aspirational figure. She built a company on three principles: family, fashion and philanthropy. And we’ve been doing that authentically for more than 20 years,” Nolan explained.

Target Shop-In-Shops

As the sixth largest U.S. retailer with some 2,000 stores, Target has its pick of the best brands to carry in its stores. Ulta, Disney, Apple, Levi’s and Starbucks are among them.

For years, Target has been chasing Kendra Scott to join the fold. The partnership was sealed late last year with the opening of Kendra Scott shop-in-shops in 153 Target stores and online.

There were many issues to consider before taking this big step. It didn’t want to jeopardize relationships with its established wholesale partners, notably premium retailers, including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Dillard’s, and 850+ specialty boutiques, which might negatively view Target’s discount image.

It also couldn’t afford to cannibalize sales for its wholesale partners, which represents more than 15% of the company’s nearly $500 million revenues, or in its own 138 stores and website.

On the contrary, all partners benefited from the Target launch. Kendra Scott stores within a five-mile radius of one of the Target locations experienced a 45% increase in sales over the following 12 weeks and its e-commerce business jumped 25% as well.

And one of its biggest national wholesale partners got a 28% boost in Kendra Scott jewelry sales within five miles and nationwide it more than doubled its brand business over the next 12 weeks.

Kendra Scott designed an exclusive 200+ piece collection for Target with most priced under $40. And to kick off the collaboration, both Target and Kendra Scott provided a donation to Nest Makers United Program to support creative entrepreneurs across the U.S.

“For a brand like ours with less than 10% brand awareness, Target was an ‘all ships rise with the tide’ opportunity and it’s been proven,” Nolan said.

Dressed In Wrangler

The Wrangler collaboration grew organically. Nolan goes way back with Kontoor Brands’ CEO Scott Baxter from his apparel days and they were neighbors in Greensboro, NC.

And since Wrangler is the iconic Western wear brand favored by cowboys, it was a perfect fit to extend Kendra Scott’s Yellow Rose jewelry collection – named after Scott’s Texas ranch – into fashion. The range of embroidered shirts, jackets, and denim jeans pair well with the necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings in the Yellow Rose collection.

“This was our first time in apparel and it was exciting for us to collaborate with a best-in-class brand to explore product adjacencies which is a key ingredient for us as a lifestyle brand,” Nolan said.

The Wrangler x Yellow Rose by Kendra Scott collection launched online in January and was featured in selected stores in key markets where space was available to showcase the fashion. It performed way beyond expectations, which delighted both partners.

“Wrangler has built a rich legacy as an iconic denim brand and the definitive authority in authentic Western apparel. With collaborations, we’re parlaying momentum into partnerships with brands that share similar passion points, while driving brand heat, opening us up to new audiences and points of distribution,” Wrangler senior vice president Jenni Broyles shared in a statement.

The give-back part of the collaboration includes donations by both companies to the National FFA Organization (formerly Future Farmers of America), plus 20% of the purchase price for the Wrangler x Yellow Rose bracelet will go to the Kendra Scott Foundation.

Barbie Power

Barbie may be 65 years old, but she is just now hitting her stride after the release of last year’s Barbie movie. It got her named to Forbes 2023 World’s Most Powerful Women list, the first time a fictional character made the list.

Barbie is a role model of female empowerment which is where she fits into Kendra Scott’s world. In time for holiday shopping, the Barbie x Kendra Scott six-piece capsule collection was introduced and Nolan reports the collection generated more than $2 million in sales over the last two months.

Girls Inc. dedicated to helping girls develop their leadership skills will receive 20% of sales from the Barbie x Kendra Scott Everlyne Friendship Bracelet  through the Barbie Dream Gap Project.

Keep Moving Forward

Kendra Scott, Tom Nolan and its family of over 2,000 staff members are justifiably proud of the company’s accomplishments.

Besides reaching nearly half-a-billion in revenues and having consistently driven mid-teens year-over-year growth and over 20% EBITDA compound annual growth since 2021, the company is planning to grow from 138 to over 200 stores in the next three years. And Nolan teases more collaborations are in the works for 2024.

“Kendra Scott is unique in that we are a brand that appeals to all generations, like my 16 year-old daughter, my wife, my mom and grandmother,” he said and added, “We cover everything from fashion jewelry through fine jewelry and engagement at affordable price points.

“Every day I see the positive impact in people’s lives in the good work we do. Few brands, public or private companies our size are doing what we’re doing and that’s a testament to our founder, our staff, our customers and our philanthropy.

“At a certain point, all companies reach critical mass, but the beauty of this business is we’re not close to critical mass yet. We’ve got a long runway ahead of what we can do,” he concluded.