I’m really excited about today’s Stripe Talk feature with Samantha Wills. If you aren’t familiar with her line, just please head on over to her instagram and be prepared to get sucked into her amazing world + bohemian, beachy vibe. SW is entirely self-taught (so cool) and makes some of the best jewels around. You’re probably familiar with a few of her more iconic pieces (cough, cough – the Bardot Ring) but did you know she’s also expanded… now designing eyewear, handbags, and home goods?
Grace: Tell me a little bit about how you got your start in the industry. How did you start designing jewelry?
Samantha: I started making jewelry as a hobby, when I was about 20 years old. I would sell it on a weekend at a local market, in Sydney Australia, and then work full time in a retail job thru the week. After about a year, a friend offer me a spot on a showroom wall at Australian fashion week – I took the spot, hoping to make at least one order back to cover the $500 cost, and ended up writing $17K worth of orders – I quit my job the next day & decided to dedicate everything I had to creating a brand, that I would hopefully one day be able to take global!
Grace: You’re entirely self taught (which I think is so cool!) Where do you get your inspiration?
Samantha: Thank you! There are good & bad elements to this, being that you just have to work things out for yourself, but on the good side, you have no conceptions of what is traditionally right or wrong – and I really like that. My inspirations come from the SW women – I think it is a very luxurious time to be a designer – social media allows you to see exactly who is wearing your work, how they are wearing it & where they are wearing it.
Grace: And I know that you love to travel… what are some of your favorite destinations?
Samantha: I am lucky to be able to travel a lot! I was just recently in the Maldives – and it was like a dream. The colours were electric – aquas & turquoise waters – served as perfect inspiration as we use turquoise as a stone a lot in our collections.
Grace: Anywhere that you are dying to go next?
Samantha: Morocco has always been high on my list! My best friend is getting married in London in late August, so I am also hoping to get to Santorini on that trip to experience a little bit of European Summer.
Grace: Let’s talk about your line… what are your best-selling pieces right now?
Samantha: Our FINE collection is our best selling category at the moment – but our best selling piece ever, is our Bohemian Bardot Ring – it was made famous in 2008 when Eva Mendes wore it – and it has been our best selling item since.
Grace: And what are your personal favorites?
Samantha: I am really into the FINE collection at the moment – the ear cuffs & layered rings – we have really made them our own, by using stones inlays, as we are so known for our stones.
Grace: Describe your typical day.
Samantha: There are three types of typical days for me. When I am in NYC (the majority of my time) I am very design focused. I go into a creative bubble in NYC to get al the collections done.
When I am in Australia, I am very team & PR focused. I usually do 6 weeks NYC, 10 Days Australia consistently. So my team usually locks so much into the 10 days, it’s a bit crazy.
Then my third typical day is when I am shooting campaigns or traveling – these days can start at 3am or midday or 2pm – there is no schedule, and I find this works best for the jet lag!
Grace: Let’s chat fashion… what trends for Spring are you most excited about?
Samantha: The main thing I am excited about is that hair & makeup is going back to minimalism. Natural is beautiful!!
Grace: And who are your favorite fashion designers?
Samantha: I love Aussie designers – Bec & Bridge are a favorite, Sass & Bide. Internationally I love Chloe & YSL.
Grace: Let’s talk about beauty… tell me about your beauty routine and the products you use!
Samantha: I am all about healthy skin – I am an SK-II addict – their collection is an investment in your skin. I love St Tropez fake tan, a bit of concealer under the eyes, bronze blush cheeks & a wipe of mascara. Less is more, and the healthier the skin, the less makeup you need!
(Note from Grace: I couldn’t agree with Samantha more here… and I’m hooked on SK-II too!)
Grace: If you were going away for 3 months and could only take 3 beauty products, what would they be?
Grace: Who are your style icons?
Samantha: I love 70’s style – Bianca Jagger at Studio 54. I love Elle MacPhersons Beach Chic style also – very Australian luxe!
Grace: What would you say is your biggest professional accomplishment?
Samantha: I would say it the team around me. You are only as good at the people you associate yourself with, and I have huge admiration for everyone I work alongside.