Stella & Dot's Jessica Herrin on going beyond "mile two"

Burlingame-based custom jewelry company Stella & Dot recently nabbed the No. 67 spot on Inc. Magazine's annual list of the top 500 quickly-growing companies. I especially loved Inc.'s accompanying interview with Jessica DiLullo Herrin, Stella & Dot's founder and CEO. I had a feeling that she was a very interesting person and decided to search around a bit for more info on her.


The next piece I found about Ms. Herrin noted that she recently signed up for a 13.1-mile half-marathon, but ended up running the whole 26.2 miles "when she decided to 'go for it' halfway through." Wow.

Turns out that wasn't Herrin's first "go for it" moment: Her first breakout business success was with WeddingChannel.com, which she dropped out of Stanford Business School to establish with a friend at the age of 24. Now 37 and married with two young daughters, Herrin has great perspective on what it takes to make a business work, either as a single person or with a family.

Below I've cobbled together some of my favorite insights from various interviews with Jessica Herrin. Enjoy!

"Most 'overnight' success stories take years. Starting a business is a marathon, not a sprint. I learned this through experience. Most people fail because they stop at mile two. Don’t listen to the voices saying it won’t work. It will, as long as you keep evaluating, improving and applying true effort." - November 2009 interview with Working Mother

 "I think entrepreneurship is ultimately persistence , and the willingness to seem crazy for a long time." - April 2010 Forbes.com video interview

"The first thought is rarely the one that ends up succeeding. It's just getting up in the morning every day and chasing what it is in your gut, when you know there's something there. ...You can't wait for something to be perfect to run with it. You have to iterate; you have to do it, and build. Just doing something is better than doing nothing." -Forbes.com video interview

"I brought my second daughter on my hip back to the office when she was 1 week old, because by then I had it down. And people would say to me, 'That's so hard-core to bring your daughter to work when she's a week old.' But to me, it was hard-core to stay home with an infant and a toddler. What's easy is having a nanny and bringing one of your babies to work." -- from the Inc. 500 article

“See the opportunity, not the obstacles. You shouldn’t be na├»ve, but focusing on the hurdles will only exhaust you, not compel you to do what seems impossible. Oftentimes, when you cast away disbelief, you can succeed because you didn’t focus on why you should fail.” -2000 magazine interview with Vanessa Richardson

"Everybody's seeking that elusive balance. As I became a mom, I decided I wanted to be a 'mom working,' not a 'working mom.' The mom part comes first. I couldn't be up to my crazy old antics like I was in the days of WeddingChannel, when I worked all hours." --Fox Business TV interview on building Stella & Dot

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