Fashion entrepreneur and designer, Samantha Wills divides her time between New York, LA and Sydney as Creative Director of her self-titled accessories and jewellery company, Samantha Wills.
Since we last caught up with Samantha as cover girl of Façon Book One, she has launched Samantha Wills Foundation, a space dedicated to inspiring and empowering women across the globe; fronted the Optus “Believe Big” campaign alongside Mark Wahlberg; and, just last week launched her Samantha Wills collection for iconic surf label, Billabong.
It has certainly been a busy 18 months and the team at Façon felt immensely privileged to gain a little insight into Samantha’s World: what drives the woman and what best soothes the soul.
New York or Sydney, where do you call home at the moment?
That is actually a hard question to answer! I am doing this interview from LA where I am currently based for a work project! But I think NYC is still home… Well, I guess Australia is my country, New York is my city, and LA is my town!
Where do you seek inspiration from when it comes to the design of your jewelry lines?
I am lucky enough to see & speak with the people who are wearing the brand on a daily basis. I then design specifically for them. I also, rightly or wrongly, design things that I want to wear!
What is your favourite way to relax in each city?
Sydney: you will find me at Bronte Beach – Living abroad has given me a whole new appreciation for how truly stunning our beaches are!
New York: Its hard to find the relax switch in this city! My work out routine (SOUL CYCLE!) keeps things balanced, I also invest in making my home a sanctuary, so when I come home, it is an escape from the hustle & bustle of the city that never sleeps.
LA: LA by nature is pretty chill! I am based in Venice Beach, which I LOVE! My bungalow is a great indoor outdoor space, so working from home is relaxing.
Yoga studio or pounding the mean streets, how do you unwind and alleviate stress?
I want to love Yoga – I really do! I go thru phases! I usually alleviate stress by being in the SOUL CYCLE studio, in both LA & NYC, its a great sweat, awesome music & once you know the choreography, it is SO much fun!
You must wear a number of different “hats” when it comes to running your business, which part of your business do you get the most enjoyment from at the moment?
I get the most enjoyment from a few areas. Working with my team – they truly inspire me, and I have so much admiration for them, I think it is a big ask to work for a brand where the founder has not only (so modestly name the brand after them self, but also works actively in the business. I also get lots of energy from engaging personally with the followers of our brand, thru jewellery, but especially through sharing the story of our brand. The extensions of the jewelry, like the SAMANTHA WILLS FOUNDATION, is what gives me a lot of inspiration & energy.
What motivates you to jump out of bed in the morning?
Coffee! Ha! But after coffee, it is projects I am working on. I have had the SAMANTHA WILLS brand for nearly 14 years, It is important to me to keep things fresh & moving, so projects like SAMANTHA WILLS for BILLABONG, or my work with YELLOWGLEN, or the corporate speaking I do, continually mixing things up keeps me inspired, and makes me a better designer.
Do you tend to lead from the heart or the head when it comes to business? How do you separate the two?
I definitely lead from the heart. As I mature as a business person, I definitely mix head & heart decisions, but heart is always over arching. The decision I make that are purely from my head, are much more practical, and usually safer. But nothing great was ever gained by making safe decisions all the time, right?!
What five words of advice would you give yourself when you were first starting out in business?
‘Take lessons from each failure’
What five words of advice would you give other young start-ups doubting whether they should take that leap of faith into the unknown?
‘Take Risks. Follow Your Heart.’
Finally. Who is your favorite fashion label at the moment?
There is a new leather brand launching in Sydney called @Keevil_Sydney – I love the local craftsmanship of it & the brands beautiful simplicity.