Scott Kay was a respected artist, industry visionary, and philanthropic personality who mingled with stars, but it turns out there was a pre-celebrity Scott about whom I knew nothing. In fact, I only learned of him this summer, after 16 years of writing about his passion for platinum commitment jewelry, when he fell for sterling silver as a medium for fashion pieces, and his debut of BioBlu 27. Up until this point, I knew Scott the designer, but when I met Scott, the kid from Brooklyn who rose to greatness by overcoming tragedy and tremendous odds, well, that’s when I realized what a powerful individual I had the good fortune to know. Here are three lessons I learned from Scott and why they made such an impact on me.
Courtesty Scott Kay
You can overcome your history. Scott opened up to me this summer (and to other media outlets in recent years) about his background: He was the child of an alcoholic mother and absent father. Statistically, he shouldn’t be a success! But he took that negativity and lack of support from loved ones and channeled it into living a completely different life, filled with personal achievement as well as devotion to family and being present for his own children. You know how difficult that is? I do, firsthand, having come from a similar background, and that’s why I have so much respect for Scott. Knowing his background helped to crystallize his actions, motives, and even the signature style of the Spartan hatchet symbol, which he developed later in his career. For him, passion and commitment—in every aspect of his life—were keys to living better and protecting those he loved, including his fans through that symbol of protection on his jewelry.
Never compromise. Scott didn’t let an adverse upbringing determine his future—from his lack of familial foundation to his bumpy entrée into FIT to his rise to success as a designer and brand. If you don’t come from a life of hardship then it may be difficult to comprehend the inspiring depths of Scott’s resolution to succeed. In a biographical video, Scott revealed: “You have a choice in life. You can either harbor on that [difficulty], or you can have this tenacity about the things that you want to do.” This drive gave life and meaning to his commitment jewelry tag line, “Never compromise on proposing a life together,” as well as his pioneering move in the contemporary metals category. He insisted on integrity in every category. It seemed that if Scott encountered difficulty, he just overcame it. Maybe after rising up from a dark place early in life, other obstacles seemed insignificant in comparison, and it is from there that his fearlessness stemmed.
Be a positive force. The fact that Scott opened up about his roots is meaningful and an inspiration to others. Whether it be emerging artists or troubled youths in general (or journalists), sharing anecdotes of strength empowers others to see past their own difficulties and understand that brighter days are possible and that you can make them happen. Just like Scott did.
Thanks for the lessons and inspiration, Scott. I look forward to watching your kids take the brand into the future.