When you have had your accessories adorn the bodies of some of the worlds most glamorous women including; Nicole Richie, Jamelia, Jennifer Hawkins Delta Goodrem and Nicky Hilton were do you go next?
Perhaps you take this inspiration and begin planning a show stopping Red Carpet – Chandelier Collection. Or do you begin to develop a range of eyewear to compliment your already burgeoning accessories collection? If you fall into the category of Samantha Wills, you do all of the above and also release your next collection – ‘White Amore’ Spring/Summer 07-08 and become the integral face of it.
Samantha’s story is one of sheer growth and determination; from selling her accessories at Bondi Markets, Sydney – to her stunning Australian Fashion Week Debut in 2004 were she walked away with over $17,000 dollars in orders and interest from many more people and retailers to her present position as a leader in her field.
The latest collection extends Samantha’s sights into a world that is forever changing. ‘White Amore’ symbolizes Pure Love. The collection truly represents Samantha as it has evolved into something simply exquisite featuring strong turquoise and coral colours telling a story on a plain white canvas.
The face of accessories in Australian Fashion is shining brightly in the eyes of Samantha Wills and she will continue to evolve both herself and her range to always be at the cutting edge of both the national and International markets.
B&L: How would you describe your collection?
Samantha: My current collections (White Amore) is strong turquoise against bronze and antique silvers. I designed it to be shot on white. The jewellery was designed to tell a story on the blank, white canvas of the clothes.
White Amore means ‘Pure Love’ and it was designed at a time when my boyfriend and I had decided to get back together after spending a year apart, so it proved to me that our love it true as it with stood a few tests, so ‘White Amore is an inspiration taken from that.
B&L: How did you stay motivated and passionate when starting out?
Samantha: Designing and creating things is what I do for my hobby. I am so lucky that everyday I get to do my hobby!! The hard part about staying motivated and it is something I still find today, is the business side of running a design company. I could design till the cows come home, but the unmotivating part to me is the paper work and accounts. When I first started out it was a task just getting my head around that side of the company, but I am learning more about it each day so it gets a little easier.
B&L: What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Samantha: There have been two main challenges… the first being starting a company when you are 21… People don’t take you too seriously so you’re behind the eight ball solely because of your age! You have to be extra strong because it is kind of like everyone expects you to fail.
I found a way to turn this into a motivational tool, anyone who ever said I couldn’t do it; I have taken and turned that into fuel for my fire to succeed. The second hurdle was/still is… cash flow. Running a business without start up capital is tough!! It is also hard as when our stockists are quiet, there are some weeks they fall behind on their accounts, so we don’t get paid on time, but without that money we cannot proceed and the cycle continues!! That is probably the toughest thing in small business… cash flow.
B&L: How does it feel seeing the hottest celebrities wear your accessories?
Samantha: It is still very surreal!! It is great publicity and exposure for the brand, however ideally I would rather see women who empower other women through business achievement or community involvement wear my collections. It is these women who are taking a stand and changing the world, these are the women who I would like to see be affiliated with my label.
B&L: Where do you get your inspiration?
Samantha: I get my inspiration from where I’m at in life. I don’t follow extreme high fashion. I pride myself on presenting collection that are honest and tell the story of my journey. I hope my collections grow with the wearers, as I grow as a person and as a women, my collections change. I hope my clients can relate to my collections something that is relevant to their lives. I always promise my clients that the collections are designed with freedom, expression, spirit and truth.
B&L: Have you always wanted to be a designer?
Samantha: No, through school I wanted to be a dolphin trainer!! But I was terrible at science! I always had a passion for Art and as I said, designing is my hobby, so it only seems right that I am now a designer. I love working for myself, throughout school, I was always told my pieces/sculptures were too big or too ‘out there’… I love that now the sky is my canvas and I can design to any extreme I like. It is very liberating.
B&L: Who were your biggest role models growing up?
Samantha: I grew up in a small coastal town in NSW. The only role model I remember having was my cousin Marissa. She was two years older then me and I just thought (still do!) she was amazing. She is very artistic also, so it is very apparent why I was drawn to her. Growing up everyone thought we were twins and I thought that was great!! Everything she did I wanted to do… She did tap dancing so I did tap dancing… her favourite colour was purple, so I changed my favourite colour from pink to purple!
B&L: What will you be wearing this upcoming spring?
Samantha: This spring I will be in my signature long bohemian style (I Love Lisa Ho!) dress by day and probably a shorter style dress for hitting the town. I like neutral colours, but sometimes branch out if I find a beautiful vintage piece in a gorgeous teal or lemon. Accessories will be all about matching your feature ring with your earrings.
B&L: What 3 must have beauty products would we find in your handbag?
– Lip Balm… must have!! I cannot leave home with out it!
– Bottle of water
– My diary… I’m very old school and still keep a diary that I write in… It runs my life! I need my week laid out in front of me and a black berry or electronic organizer would confuse me for sure!
B&L: How do you like to relax?
Samantha: I love the beach and you will find me there everyday in summer. I love to read and love to loose myself in a great chick lit novel!! I also love to splash out and get a massage, my boyfriend is currently doing his diploma of massage and he has to practice on my 3 times a week…bliss!!
B&L: Did you ever have any doubts that you could make it, and if so, how did you overcome them?
Samantha: Absolutely! I have doubts everyday. The day I quit my full time job, I had $109 in the bank. There is never ever going to be a perfect time to do anything, so I took the plunge. Sometimes you have to put your self in a sink or swim situation to really see what you are capable of. When I have doubts, I just take a deep breath and close my eyes… I try to think if there is anything else I would rather be doing and until I can think of something, I know I am in the right spot.
B&L: What advice do you have for other women who dream of owning their own business?
Samantha: I would say follow your heart. Life isn’t a dress rehearsal… you have to believe in yourself and surround yourself with good people. Be prepared that there will be knock backs, but use these are motivational tools to reach your goal. Once you reach a goal, make sure to set another one to make sure you are always challenging your self and working towards something.
B&L: What is next for Samantha Wills?
Samantha: We are working on a new eyewear collection which is our debut sunglasses range, we will have another collection out before summer and our Bridal collection is about to be released! There is never a dull moment in our office and that is just the way I like it!
B&L: What does being a woman mean to you?
Samantha: Being a woman to me is about strength, it is about the ability of being resilient to bounce back stronger. It is about enjoying your femineity and also your strength. I hope that my story inspires other women to follow their dreams.
Visit www.samanthawills.com.au for more information and to view online store.