Thursday, June 16th 2016
Thank you everyone for being here today.
Please excuse me if I seem overwhelmed, it is because I am, as it still all very surreal to me.
It's surreal to me that 12 years ago people paid money for something 22 year old me made on my dining table.
Its surreal to me that Eva Mendes, Rhianna, Taylor Swift & Drew Barrymore would wear something that has my name engraved on it.
Its surreal to me, that out of any brand in the entire world, Patricia Fields chose ours to be in SEX AND THE CITY.
It’s is surreal to me that we are stocked in some of the biggest retailers in the world.
It’s surreal to me the following our brand has. And not just a numbers on instagram, but a truly engaged follower, who are active engagers in the brand, gracious enough to engage in daily conversation with us & each other, incredible women who are as much on this journey as I am.
All of these facts, and many others that have amassed over the past 12 years from our 2004 launch til present day, are not lost on me. People often ask me, ‘Do you sometimes pinch yourself?’ and I reply ‘Yes, every single day.’
No more so, then when you get a call from Optus, who tell you Mark Wahlberg has signed onto their new campaign, and they would like you to sign on also. Mark Wahlberg… and me.
I wanted to firstly thank Optus, not only for this incredible opportunity, but for telling my story with such honesty & integrity. The commercial was filmed over a few days in New York City. A stage was built out for each of the flashback scenes, where my 2004 life was recreated. The level of detail that the team went into to ensure the story was told with authenticity, from the prop department bringing in the exact brand of baked beans I used to eat in my jaffels when I had no money, to replicating the exact business card I was using at that time.
My friend Mantas often talks about participating. He says; ‘You’re not here in this one life to be a spectator. You are a participant. You have a responsibility to contribute. To be involved.’
Every single person has influence. You have influence to the people you interact with on a daily basis, you have influence on the energy you bring to every conversation. Your words, and your actions matter in every situation.
If you are here today, it is because you have a captive audience; as media or as an influencer, you have a following.
And this is such a privilege, because it means you have a voice.
It is my unwavering belief, that to whom much is given, much is required.
There is a responsibility, as facilitators of influence & as we build brands in this digital age; whether it be a product, service or personal brand, that we not only publish the polish, the glamour, & the success stories.
We have a responsibility to give back, and to empower our respective communities by also sharing the struggles, the hardships and the hurdles. It’s all too common to push a perfect image and polished success story, not only is it all too common, but in my opinion, it is also boring.
There is real power in knowing you are not alone in something, be it an experience, situation or a feeling. And it is by sharing our vulnerabilities & experiences – that you not only connect with people, but you empower them, because by them knowing they are not alone, that the hurdles they are facing we have all faced & are facing in some way, and the feelings of fear, isolation & self doubt are common. It is this honesty, that is empowering.
As women of influence, it is our responsibility to share our knowledge, to open our networks & contacts. Because when women support other women, the possibilities are infinite.
My business partner Geoff Bainbridge once asked me ‘What do you want your legacy to be?’ – its something I think about a lot, and it’s a question I pose to everyone I interview for the Samantha Wills Foundation. Because legacies are not left, by designing a great collection, or turning over a certain amount of profit, they are not left by a perfect series of instagram pictures. ------ Legacies are left by the values we uphold, the way in which we approach difficult times, the way we make others feel, and the way in which we give back to our industry, to our community, to our country, and to our gender.
There has been a 46% increase in the number of women business operators over the past two decades.
Worldwide, women own or operate 25% to 33% of all private businesses.
I am proud to be a woman in business.
I am incredibly proud to be an Australian woman, doing international business.
And I am extremely humbled to be in this room today, amongst so many incredible women in business; women of influence.
I want to thank OPTUS for this incredible opportunity, and to everyone who worked on this campaign, and delivered our story with so much honesty, and integrity.
I love the tag line on this campaign ‘No one starts a business to be small’ – So what ever it is you are pursing. Pursue it with aggression. Knock on every single door, knock twice or three times if you have to, knock louder where you need to. Celebrate your wins, and disclose your loss’, and share your stories of resilience. Don’t just live a life, leave a legacy.
VIEW COMMERCIAL: Samantha Wills for OPTUS