I was delighted to interview the charismatic and talented Samantha Wills for The Style Podcast. From her base in New York City we talked jewellery, business, grit and glamour… and why she might be turning into her mother!
Samantha Wills started her entrepreneurial journey by selling beach-inspired ‘surf culture’ jewellery to her friends at high school. This eventuated in to a stall at the Bondi Markets when she was 21. Buoyed by her initial success, at 22 Samantha paid $500 for a tiny stand at Australian Fashion Week 20014. She sold $17,000 worth of jewellery in one weekend.
“In my innocence and with a complete lack of business understanding, I promised everyone a two week delivery,” Samantha laughs, now. “Back then I wasn’t prepared for how overwhelming and intricate business could be. I was totally out of my depth.”
In my interview with Samantha Wills, which is now live on thestylepodcast.com, she was very frank about her struggles and doubts in building a business. Even though her jewellery was popular and being worn by celebrities, Samantha found herself $85,000 in debt and seriously worried abut her future.
We talked about being an ‘overnight success’ after 12 years because, on the surface, Samantha would have looked like the epitome of ‘beach girl done good’. Blessed with model looks and talent, the Samantha Wills brand was fast becoming a national favourite and worn by people including Australia’s Samantha Armytage, and superstars including Rhianna, Katy Perry, Eva Mendes and many more red carpet walkers.
So what changed for Samantha Wills?
Samantha had to prove to herself that she was more than simply a jewellery designer; she had to become a businesswoman. With determination, and not taking ‘No’ for an answer, Samantha finally found an investor who needed design work for a separate business.
You’ll hear in the interview what she offered him to secure his financial backing. Very entrepreneurial.
Having secured a backer, Samantha was able to strategise and build her business. The brand ‘Samantha Wills’ has grown through business savvy but also because Samantha designs what women want to wear. She’s shown true grit and glamour to become an ‘overnight success’. Now with a move to living in New York City and still spending time in Sydney, Samantha is a Brand Ambassador for Nespresso and Optus.
She has a new range being launched and plans for expansion, possibly into homewares. The future is looking golden for the girl from Bondi who has established her eponymous brand with more challenges than people realise. Listen to her interview on The Style Podcast, you’ll love it.
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