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M. SAMANTHA WILLS FOUNDATION

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[2004-2017] FROM 'A BRAND' TO A 'BRANDED RETAILER'

Samantha Wills

After 9 months in-build, with at least 25 people working on this project, last night at SWHQ, over thai delivery & red wine, after a 6am start for our Sydney team, we turned our brand new website on. I will not do my online team the discredit of listing all the improved functionalities are, but in a nutshell, our new site has the capacity of complete user personalization from shopping experience to marketing, will be able to accommodate triple the amount of users per second that the previous site could hold, and (+ a heap of other back end bells & whistles) will look to increase our capabilities as a business, and as such our annual online revenue significantly in its first phase. www.samanthawills.com

For those who do not know, we made the (Some say brave, some say crazy) decision to close our independent wholesale business globally this year (separate & excluding DAVID JONES concept areas + The Iconic), doing so, so that we could focus on being a branded online r(E)tailer, rather then a brand that had a retail channel. Our change in approach, & execution has us, as a retailer, thinking very differently, more proactively, with more agility, more strategically, and with a refreshed perspective of evolving, and really owning our message & offer.  
I often talk about the difference in business between ‘what’ & ‘why’. Business is what you do, brand is why you do it. Our new website is the tip of the iceberg in what the new phase of SAMANTHA WILLS looks like, and it is definitely exciting times ahead. 

We are in our 13th year of business this year, and in that time I have witnessed four (including this one) SW website builds. Each bigger & better then the next, not just as our team & budget increased, but as technology evolved. But before you check out our new baby, there is a god send of a site, that like the internet was intended, never forgets. If you so care to time travel for a second, the images below will show you what the original samanthawills.com(.au) site looked like. I paid a lovely woman named Jen, who worked out of a dark, windowless Kennards storage unit in a dodgy block in Ultimo (next to a storage unit that sold porn DVDs for cash) $6000 to build for me. The brief was Lush / Rainforest / Dragonflies / Butterflies / Peacock. My obvious desire for script & drop shadow font was nearly as strong as my desire for the colour Olive. I was running an NOKIA 8210 with a purple cover, E-commerce was not a thing, Facebook had not even been heard of in Australia, Nicky Hilton was our biggest celebrity to note, and I thought a boob tube & over plucking my eyebrows was a great idea for my very ‘serious’ headshot. 

Thankyou to the incredible team that planned, and built, and testing, and uploaded, and created content, and art directed this new site. Notably, Nadia Lotter, Adriana Tedaldi, Tom Wishart, Jess Roberts, Lucy Nixon, Courtney Jane Bimba, Andy Gilroy, Rosalie Molloy, Katie Northwood,& Bettina Pham. It is aesthetically beautiful, and technically powerful! Thank you for the commitment to the vision, and the late nights in its execution.


Here's to our next phase, as a branded retailer!! - SWx

(....And thank you to Jen, who in 2005 charged me more then my first two cars combined, to build this early piece of gold, (from a dirty, sketchy as f*ck, Ultimo storage unit!))