Austin’s Kendra Scott lands new investment

The deal estimates the jewelry company’s value at more than $1 billion, according to media reports.

Since launching a jewelry line with $500 from a spare bedroom in 2002, Kendra Scott has grown her Austin-based business into a powerhouse brand sold by retailers like Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, and at more than 600 boutiques worldwide.

Now, as Kendra Scott Design prepares for a new wave of growth, the company said it has received an investment from private equity firm Berkshire Partners. In the deal, Berkshire Partners has acquired a significant minority stake in the company, according to the announcement.

Kendra Scott did not disclose the size of the investment. Reuters news service reported that the deal values the company at more than $1 billion.

Berkshire said Scott will remain majority shareholder and CEO of her company, and other senior company leaders will remain in their current position.

“We are delighted to have Berkshire invest with us at a very exciting time for our company,” Scott said in a written statement. “Berkshire has significant experience in helping leading brands maximize their potential and a deep appreciation for the Kendra Scott culture and organization.”

Kendra Scott’s jewelry line includes earrings, necklaces, rings and charms, which are recognizable by their custom shapes and stones. Customers can also customize Kendra Scott jewelry at “Color Bars” in retail stores and online, where they can choose a stone, metal and shape.

The company has also expanded into home decor, including trays, jewelry stands and picture frames.

This year, Kendra Scott moved into a new headquarters in the Lamar Central mixed-use development at West 38th Street and North Lamar Boulevard.

In addition to occupying Lamar Central’s entire fourth floor — 43,500 square feet of space — Kendra Scott also operates a 1,500-square-foot flagship retail store on the building’s ground floor.

Berkshire Partners, based in Boston, has raised nine private equity funds with more than $16 billion in capital commitments. It focuses on on consumer goods and retail businesses, communications, business services and industrial production and health care.

“Kendra and her team have built an authentic brand that is widely loved,” Marni Payne, a managing director at Berkshire Partners, said in a written statement. “The company’s deep focus on its customers, commitment to product innovation and culture of giving back has led to impressive growth.”

The Berkshire Partners investment, which is subject to standard closing conditions, is expected be completed in the first quarter of 2017.

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