It was a request Kendra Scott says she couldn’t – and wouldn’t – refuse.
An 18-year-old Memphis, Tenn., girl with a form of brain cancer with no known treatment or cure was eager to meet her, so the Austin-based jewelry designer whose brand has become known worldwide put her team to work on setting up a visit.
“Once I heard her story, I was like, ‘Get her on a plane to Austin now,’” Scott said. “When you have the chance to touch people in such a powerful way, that’s a really great day for me.”
Just a few weeks later, that teen, Allie Allen, was at Scott’s headquarters in Central Austin — a trip funded by Scott’s company. The get-together happened Wednesday.
“When I first found out, I was so shocked that this would even be possible,” Allen said. “I wasn’t expecting that. It just made me feel so happy. It’s like the best day ever.”
Allen says she fell in love with Scott’s jewelry about a year ago. During a trip to Scott’s Memphis store, Allen casually mentioned how she’d love to meet the entrepreneur – and it wasn’t long before word made it back to the company’s Austin headquarters.
“I’ve become obsessed,” Allen said. “I have two jewelry stands – one for all my Kendra Scott jewelry and one for the rest. I don’t really look at the other one anymore.”
Scott said her company’s community outreach includes visits to pediatric hospitals, such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, where Allen is receiving care at no charge.
“It brings them a little bit of joy in a stressful time,” Scott said. “All of us were so moved and so excited to have Allie visit us. She’s the celebrity here today. This may be Allie’s best day, but it’s one of my best days, too.”
During her visit to Scott’s office on the top floor of the Lamar Central building at West 38th Street and North Lamar Boulevard, Allen was greeted by Scott’s entire team before enjoying a smoothie at the in-house smoothie bar, checking out a brief history of the company that got its start in Scott’s spare bedroom and getting an early look at Scott’s fall line.
“She started out small, making her own jewelry and got bigger and bigger,” Allen said of Scott. “Now she’s in this amazing building and doing amazing.”
The trip – complete with an overnight stay in the Hotel Van Zandt’s presidential suite, a gift from the boutique hotel – helped take Allen’s mind off her battle with cancer, which started in 2013.
She underwent brain surgery and radiation, only to be re-diagnosed two years later. Another surgery, more radiation. Then, just six weeks ago, Allen was told a new tumor had been found.
“There’s no treatment or cure,” she said. “I can’t have surgery right now. St. Jude’s is looking all over the world to save my life.”
As she awaits word from her doctors on what’s next, Allen says she’s focused on the future. She graduates from high school next month and is set to attend the University of Mississippi in the fall. Allen said she’s not totally certain what she wants to do after college, but she does know exactly where she wants to work.
“Somehow I want to end up back at St. Jude’s,” she said. “I want to give back because they saved my life.”