The way Jessica Herrin puts it, she nearly “died alone on I-Can-Do-It-All-Island.” When she started Stella & Dot, a direct-sales accessories company, 13 years ago, it was a side business while she worked full-time as a marketing manager at Dell and was pregnant with her first child.
Herrin already had one company under belt. At age 24, she had dropped out of Stanford Business School to cofound a wedding-gift registry site, which later merged with WeddingChannel.com. Five years after Herrin left the company, it sold to The Knot in a deal worth $78 million.
Soon after Herrin’s first daughter was born, the baby was diagnosed with a heart condition (she is now perfectly healthy). Two years later, a second daughter came along. Even as Herrin handled everything at home, she continued to work to get her business off the ground. In her second round as an entrepreneur, she knew something had to change.
Today, as CEO of the Brisbane, Calif.-based Stella & Dot, Herrin, 43, has grown the company to a profitable enterprise with $300 million in revenues. It has paid some $300 million in commissions to more than 50,000 stylists, who keep up to 35% of the value of sales they make.
Last year the company expanded beyond trendy accessories to two new brands: KEEP Collective, a line of keepsake jewelry, and EVER Skincare. Herrin has an estimated net worth of $135 million, making her one of FORBES’ self-made women to watch in 2016 and well on her way to joining the rankings of America’s Richest Self-Made Women. Her daughters are 10 and 12 years old.
Herrin talked with FORBES about bootstrapping a multimillionaire company, renegotiating her marriage contract and managing guilt as a working mother.
(Read the full interview from Forbes)