Why The Success Of Samantha Wills Has Nothing To Do With Luck
Most of us have heard the Samantha Wills story.
The primary school girl who handcrafted friendship bracelets for friends, the 20-year-old who moved to Sydney from Port Macquarie to sell her jewellery designs at the Bondi Markets, the 21-year-old who wrote $17,000 worth of orders at her Australian Fashion Week debut and the 32-year-old whose eponymous global brand has now found a second home in New York City.
The years between the last two transitions were studded with career gems. The cast of Sex and The City donned her designs, a Hollywood fan base took shape among stars like Eva Mendes and JLo, and fashion writer, Inez Mendoza, famously dubbed her “Australia’s biggest import since Vegemite”.
The brand has since expanded from jewellery to a series of delicate stationery, a bridal collection, a blog, a magazine and an eyewear collection. The designer herself is now Creative Director and the face of Yellowglen sparkling wine as well as partner in creative collaboration with Mount Franklin water.
A sweeping glance across Samantha’s highlight reel makes it easy to pin her success down to luck. Easy, but nowhere near accurate. In fact Samantha recently told Huffington Post Australia that the biggest myth about her career is that she is “lucky”.
“I feel like when people say that, it is implied that it kind of just fell in my lap, or I woke up one day with a global business. But I interpret luck as opportunity, preparation and determination colliding.”
Here are three reasons why woman with drive agrees with her.
#1. She wholeheartedly embraces the real work
In an interview with Cleo, Samantha pointed out what most people do not realise is that running your own business means putting in 10 years of 23-hour days doing just about everything yourself and being at the bottom of your own payroll.
Her own early years were spent single-handedly designing, crafting, selling and shipping $70,000 worth of orders every year for three years. And even to this day, when she has numerous pairs of hands around her, there are certain things that she insists on doing herself. Like personally creating and captioning all her Instagram posts so that each one rings true with her voice and the Samantha Wills brand.
“My vibe on Instagram is very honest – it’s posted in real time, I hope that I give people an insight into the honest workings of my life and the brand,” she told news.com.au.
#2. She seeks to connect rather than command
When you have hit gold with a certain style, the natural instinct would be to hang on to that winning formula. But when Samantha took her signature luxe bohemian style to New York, she knew that there was no way she could replicate the business there. What she had to do was find a way to nurture it in a brand new market instead.
“One of the most naïve things you can do as an Australian businesswoman is to think that’s all that there is to it,” she told Business Chicks’ founder, Emma Isaacs. “You really have to tailor your brand to a new market.”
Part of this tailoring included consumer research via Instagram. With 200k followers, Samantha was in a “luxurious position” to understand what her customers wanted without spending tens of thousands of dollars on market research. As such, she has deftly positioned her brand as a red carpet accessory in both Los Angeles and New York, two of the toughest cities in the world.
#3. She knows the value of a creative recharge
All work and no play would have made the Samantha Wills Instagram feed a very dull one indeed. Especially during her New York stints where she is prone to diving deep into work and not coming up for air for weeks on end.
And so, she told Huffington Post Australia, she makes it a point to go for a walk along the Hudson River most mornings to clear her mind and then drops in at a fitness class like Barre or Soul Cycle in the evenings.
She also recently set herself what she described as “pretty aggressive exercise and fitness goals” that includes a daily hour of cardio at the very minimum. Even on weekends and the morning after a big night out. More inspiring than her commitment is her admission that it is not always easy.
Her caption of a recent early morning Instagram post taken at the gym read, “Not going to lie, do wish I was still in bed…But I’m not. So let’s get at it.”
And when she really needs to mentally switch off, this prolific Instagrammer chooses remote locations with a slower pace and limited access to WiFi. One such place is Tulum in Mexico.
Also read: Slow Travel In Tulum
“Tulum is magical,” she wrote on her blog after shooting a campaign there. “I will be visiting again many times over for sure. It is beautifully remote (an hour & a bit from the airport) and you have no choice but to dial everything down a few notches when you are there.”
Image credit: Samantha Wills
Subscribe to our newsletter and get all our top stories delivered straight to you! Click here to get on the list.
You may also like