This week I am delighted to be sharing my interview with Samantha Wills and her Legacy Project, the Samantha Wills Foundation. As a successful entrepreneur who has carved her name into the cut-throat fashion industry, I have watched Samantha over the years with both awe and interest. She has tenaciously built her business empire from the ground up. And as any creative entrepreneur will tell you there are days that you just want to give up and go back to the regularity of a 9-to-5 job and be satisfied. But the truth is you can’t. There’s always a burning desire within you to do it on your own terms, in your own way, in your own time and this Legacy Project is designed to help you do just that.
Read on to discover the inspiration behind the foundation, its purpose and the great lessons Samantha has learned in life.
What inspired you to set up the Samantha Wills Foundation?
I am beyond grateful for the incredible online community that I am lucky enough to engage with. Being able to reach hundreds of thousands of women through social media on a daily basis is incredible. But I truly believe that with that type of following, comes great responsibility. The majority of our followers are young females and it would be remiss of me to portray my story as one of all fashion industry glamour and no sweat. A series of airbrushed images that imply I just woke up one day with a global company, or that this fashionable life and path is only for the ‘chosen few’. Because that would be fraudulent.
Because the truth is, for the first 3 years of starting my brand, I hand-made every single piece of jewellery on my dining room table. My hands bled, and I was getting about 3 hours of sleep per night. I have had more doors closed in my face than I care to think about, but that just made me incredibly savvy about finding open windows.
I have sacrificed relationships due to the amount of travel and time required to build a company from the ground up. There have been nights I haven’t been able to sleep given the pressure of what I am responsible for. I have pissed industry people off by speaking my mind and my belief that there is no actual ‘need’ for what we do in the fashion industry, but it is purely an industry based on ‘want’. And as such, it is my belief that we, as established people of industry, need to give back. Giving back with time, knowledge, mentoring, funds, encouragement, inspiration. – Something. Anything.
And that’s what The Samantha Wills Foundation is about – it’s a platform and community for our followers to learn, ask questions, be inspired and connect and know, that if a girl, with no tertiary education, from small town Port Macquarie, Australia, can be based in New York City, meet incredible people doing amazing things on a global stage, all while being paid every single day to do what she loves – then hell, so can you!
Was there an event or circumstance that served as a catalyst for the foundation?
No singular event. People would graciously line up after talks I would give, and they would usually ask me similar questions. I wanted to give each more time, but wasn’t able to – so I thought having a platform that allowed me to answer these questions and give each answer the integrity it deserved would provide some guidance for people who are just starting out on the journey.
It can feel very isolating in start up. I remember how I felt when I was starting out, you wake up at 3am with anxiety and feel so alone. I wished there was something back then that I could log into at any time of day to read and connect to and know that I was not the only one going through the process.
I guess it’s a matter of ‘Be who you needed when you were younger’.
Is there a highlight of the foundation so far?
I think there have been many, but the overarching one is definitely the response from people, and how women have written saying that one article gave them the confidence they needed – that is pretty powerful.
How does the Samantha Wills Foundation bring your unique talents to life? In what way does it give you personal fulfilment or a sense of purpose?
I don’t know if it brings my talents to life, but it tells my experience & my lessons in a very relative way. I want the reader to feel like I am in the trenches with them, not sitting on a pedestal talking down to them. I want it to be very relatable, so I write as I would if I was talking to a friend.
It gives me a sense of purpose because I feel that showing your vulnerabilities or hardships empowers others and makes them feel supported knowing they are not alone in what they are experiencing.
What great lesson or lessons have you learnt so far in life?
Too many to list! Life is a classroom! I think the one I am focused on appreciating right now, is to trust the timing of the universe. We want things to happen so quickly, that we become frustrated when they don’t and when we get frustrated, it affects so many parts of our life & our output.
Know what you want to achieve, and set to work on preparing yourself for that – educate yourself, verse yourself, work your ass off, so that when the opportunity is presented to you, you are ready. Trust that the universe has your back, and you are exactly where you are meant to be at that very moment.
How would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as honest, genuine & kind.
How can people find out more about you and Samantha Wills Foundation?
My Instagram is like my daily diary @SamanthaWills
A few of my favourite bonus questions with Samantha…
Who or what is your favourite?
Find out more about Samantha Wills Foundation:
and Samantha Wills:
Thank you for being here and consciously choosing to explore the different ways that ordinary people are living extraordinary lives by serving a higher purpose through their daily work. Everything we do here at YLP.com is designed to inspire and empower you to live your legacy and bring your unique talents to life.
So tell me what is your #legacyproject going to be? Think about the Foundation that Samantha has started. Is there something you could do to help another in business? Mentor, Coach, or give back in some way. There is no doubt that knowledge is power. I have experienced that in my own business and there is so much untapped wisdom in the experiences of others that we can all learn from.
I’d love to know what you think about Samantha’s Foundation and if you have a personal experience sharing your wisdom. Please share your comments below I can’t wait to read them.
Live With Purpose,