By: Katia Savchuk
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.
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.
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