Would you trust me if I advised you to drop out of Stanford Business School and start your own company? Jessica Herrin, CEO and founder of the accessories line Stella & Dot, is a serial entrepreneur who previously co-founded WeddingChannel.com, the world’s leading wedding site. And she dropped out of Stanford to do it.
Her vision was to create an environment that’s savvy to the modern working woman. In 2007, the San Francisco-based mother of two decided to create a new business that included great product and incredible personal service. Herrin built a world-class team including Blythe Harris as partner and chief creative officer. Jessica and Blythe named Stella & Dot after their beloved grandmothers. The celebrity-loved jewelry line expanded this summer to scarves and totes. From her Wooster Street design studio, Herrin dishes on her secrets of success.
Where are you from? I was born in New Jersey, raised in Los Angeles and I am raising my family in San Francisco, but I love New York. This is where our corporate offices are.
Where did you get the idea for Stella & Dot? I was living in Austin, Texas, and I was learning to make jewelry, and I came up with the idea to modernize entrepreneurship by selling amazing product with an army of stylists.
What’s the Stella & Dot business model? We are a modern jewelry and accessories company that’s reinventing the home-based business opportunity for the modern woman through its social shopping business platform. Our stylists create trunk shows any place, including your living room. Our personal stylists have no inventory, no overhead. They have samples and a computer to ship product immediately. We have no overhead or sell back. We took the retailers out and put the stylists in.
How did the business start? I left business school to take risks, and I wanted to make entrepreneurship democratic. By designing great product and making it easy to share, we did that. After I started WeddingChannel.com, a gift registry, I wanted to work in jewelry and we met Parsons graduate and designer Blythe Harris, who designs our collection from inspiration all over the world. Through e-commerce you can buy the product online at stelladot.com or by our selected stylists. We now deliver to 4 countries and have over 30,000 stylists, and our price points are $19 to $350.
What do you love about New York City? AI love that I can walk to work, and the energy of the city. In order to have a fashion company you have to be based in New York, for it’s where fashion and trends emerge. And, you have takeout from anywhere.
What’s your favorite takeout? In SoHo, I love Balthazar, Spring Street Natural and Delicatessen, and [I love] Kashkaval for wine and cheese in Hell’s Kitchen.
What’s your fashion advice? You are your best accessory. Be bold, take risks, live life with style and learn from every experience. Be joyful and know that happiness can be shared.