Featured Entrepreneur: Samantha Wills
Interviewed by: Anna De La Rosa
Photo Credits: Samantha Wills & Crew
WHERE THERE IS A WILL THERE IS THE 1 AND ONLY SAMANTHA!!!!
I was graced with the presence of Samantha Wills, Founder & Creative Director of Samantha Wills Foundation and Samantha Wills Jewelry that my heart literally skipped a few beats. REALLY, it did!!!!
I was so impressed with her work and her message that I could not get enough. After years of being a longtime admirer, I reached out to her and she agreed to our interview.
I am so proud of this collaboration because Samantha inspires the freaking crap out of me, with her amazing work and commitment to empower women all over the world.
See below how Wills captured my heart with her natural & down to earth online voice, knowledge of business and her glamorous jet-setting lifestyle.
At only 21 years of age, Samantha Wills founded her own self-titled accessories (jewelry) company. An instant hit with media and customers alike, Wills quickly gained a high profile in the media spotlight as one of Australia’s most dynamic designers.
Having her jewelry featured in Sex and The City, thrust Wills onto the International stage, and she was shortly after declared a ‘Break Out Star’ by the New York Times. This unique mix of aspiration and approachability in her down to earth voice has become bankable property, with brands such as Mount Franklin & Nespresso engaging Samantha to not only front their campaigns as a spokesperson but also work across the projects creatively. In 2015, Wills was appointed as Creative Director & spokesperson for iconic Australian sparkling wine brand Yellowglen, and most recently, Telco giant Optus signed Samantha as the face of their national ‘Believe Big‘ campaign, alongside Mark Wahlberg.
With a cult following, as much for her designs as well as her transparency in sharing her story from small town Port Macquarie to New York City, Wills is outspoken on the statement that there is no need for what we do, that it’s a luxury to be able to be able to work in this industry (fashion) that is a ‘for want‘ industry’. A regular keynote speaker at conferences globally that focus on women in business, Wills also often shares her inspiring story with young women, with the message; ‘Young girls with dreams, become women with vision.’ By doing so, she hopes to encourage young women that no matter what your background, chase your dreams with aggression, persistence, and hard work. It is with this message, that saw the launch of her newest project, The SAMANTHA WILLS FOUNDATION: Empowering Women In Business – an online forum designed to inspire & connect young entrepreneurs (young in the journey, not defining of age): www.samanthawillsfoundation.org.
Tipped to become ‘Australia’s biggest export since Vegemite’ by fashion writer Inez Mendoza, Samantha is one of Australia’s most successful and inspiring names, and most recently was nominated for the 2016 Australian Of The Year Awards.
MY INTERVIEW WITH SAMANTHA WILLS:
Q1. What did you want to be growing up?
When I grew up, I wanted to be a dolphin trainer!
But I do think I had the entrepreneur’s gene in me very early on, because I remember being young, and raiding Mums pantry, making a café menu, and trying to sell the ingredients back to my parents!
Q2. What made you start your amazing Samantha Wills Foundation?
I do a lot of corporate speaking, and I found that people were (very graciously) lining up after my talks to speak with me, and they were usually asking me the same types of questions. Due to time restraints, I had to move thru the line quickly, but I always felt I was not giving each person the integrity of reply I wanted. I had a thought to create a platform where I could answer these questions, with much detail, and publish it where people could log in at any hour of the day. I remember when I was starting out, it felt very isolated & I felt very alone in my experience. What I want the SAMANTHA WILLS FOUNDATION to be, is a platform that unites women, and makes people feel supporting & not alone in their business or career journey. Starting a business is not 9 to 5, its 24-7, so having a platform that is accessible at 3am, when the rest of the world is asleep, and you feel like you are the only one awake, was important.
Q3. Who has been your greatest inspiration?
I don’t have one. I believe every single encounter you have inspires & shapes your journey in some way. My girlfriends, who are like my family. My Parents, my business partner, people I sit next to on many a flight & learn something from, our consumers… There is something to be learnt from everyone, it took me a while to learn that, but now I know, I understand more so now then ever, that we have two ears, and one mouth for a reason.
Q4. What would say are the five key elements for starting and running a successful business?
- Bravery (or in my 22 year old case, naivety!)
- Ability to fail – to really push your limits.
- Building solid relationships
- Resilience to change.
Q5. What makes you happy?
Being near my friends & being in a strong sense of community – I travel so much, that it has made really appreciate the value of community. Making plans with my friends makes me happy, we have a few trips already booked for this year & I love this so much, the anticipation of looking forward to something makes me happy, being away with them fills my heart to the brim, and then talking about the trip & shared experience together for the years to come is also one of my favorite things to do.
“Living between her two homes in New York City & Sydney, Samantha’s signature style and inspiring story have a cult following world-wide.”
PS: Also stay tuned for the rest of our amazing interview in my upcoming book.