This article is originally from San Antonio magazine, November 2010 issue.
Designer Spotlight: JESSICA HERRIN, Founder & CEO, Stella & Dot
Listen up ladies, Jessica Herrin is dispensing pearls of wisdom. "Jewelry isn't like a husband. You can have more than one at a time," says the 37-year-old founder and CEO of Stella & Dot jewelry. Herrin describes her philosophy of building "a jewelry wardrobe" as self-expression through accessorizing, finding one's fashion identity "with an ounce of confidence around your neck."
The line of vintage-look pieces is named for and inspired by Herrin's grandmother, Stella, and the company's chief creative officer's grandmother Dot. "Our company was created by strong women, in a lot of ways like the women of our grandmother's generation," Herrin says. "When you think about what that generation did -- sailed across oceans, crossed borders, raised children, got the vote -- they are a graceful reminder to today's woman, who is still trying to do it all."
Her home-based business model for jewelry sales employs "stylists" -- primarily women -- who hold trunk shows at home and share in the profit of the sales. Much as Tupperware and Avon revolutionized the woman-driven business model, Stella & Dot has adapted the home-based business platform to the accessory category. The boutique-style line that was first crafted in Herrin's living room is now manufactured throughout the world but maintains the artisan touch its creator always intended. Since 2003, when Herrin held her first trunk show in Round Rock, TX, the company has turned profits into the millions and made its founder -- mother of two and marathon runner -- an under-40 style icon. "I always say I had two babies in Texas," the California-born designer and entrepreneur says, "my firstborn, and Stella & Dot."
Best described as Mad Men-esque in style, Stella & Dot's Vintage Luxe collection takes a page from early- to mid-20th century style, with opulent pieces and classically pretty designs. "Ironically, I'm more on the rocker chic, boho chic vibe," Herrin says of her personal style. The line's Metro Chic collection meets the needs of this "Carrie Bradshaw meets Joan of Arc" aesthetic, with touched of black, chains and metal. "I grew up in California, so that had to have some effect," she says. "But I spent years in Texas, so I learned to dress up nice."
Herrin was a keynote speaker at the 2010 Texas Conference for Women held Nov 10 in Houston and hosted by Governor Perry and first lady Anita Perry.