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The REAL reason Samantha Wills closed her $10 million business

The New Investors video series brought to you by Yahoo Finance reveals the secrets of the most successful entrepreneurs and business people in Australia today. This is the fourth episode of the season.

 

Samantha Wills had had enough.

“I realised I’d done the 100th flight between JFK [New York] and Sydney – it was in 2017,” the multi-million dollar entrepreneur told Yahoo Finance.

“I actually sat at the airport and I wrote a letter of resignation to my business partner.”

For more than 15 years Wills had built up a global jewellery business. She was envied by her rivals for getting celebrities like Eva Mendes, Taylor Swift, and Pink to wear her products in public, not to mention having them placed in the Sex and the City movie.

But a $10 million business takes a lot of energy and personal sacrifices to operate, and the significance of that 100th flight between the US and Australia had struck her like lightning.

“I want to take a board position with the company. I want to step out of the day-to-day. I was just done with the travel. It felt very ungrounding.”

The letter was addressed to her business partner, but it was really a note to herself to crystallise her decision.

Source: Instagram/@samanthawills, samanthawills.com

Her business partner was very understanding and formed a plan to have Wills step away from the daily grind. The venture would continue with a new Creative Director and Head of Design.

But time drifted by, and by 2018 the business frustratingly still hadn’t found the right people for those critical positions.

“I had, at the time, gone up to a meditation retreat in upstate New York and [the business partner] had sent me an email while I was there. And the title of the email that he sent me was ‘the business is at a crossroads’,” Wills told Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Sarah O’Carroll on the New Investors show.

The email detailed some cultural issues at the company.

“When I opened the email, I was standing at an actual crossroads on this meditation camp… I actually had the instant thought – like I had my hand on my heart – that it’s time to close,” Wills said.

“And it was the calmest thing. I didn’t tell a soul for another two weeks. I woke up every day for the next two weeks and I pretended I’d already implemented the decision.”

And even after two weeks, the decision felt right – not rash.

“I said [to myself]: you don’t have a company, how does it feel? And it felt like the right thing to do.”

The company was performing well, according to Wills, and selling it was also an option.

“There is no logic behind this, it makes no sense commercially what we’re doing. But that’s the thing with intuition. You don’t have to explain it,” she said.

“The brand had achieved everything that I wanted it to… And I wanted to take a leaf out of the Seinfeld model and close when we’re on a high.”

The New Investors video series brought to you by Yahoo Finance reveals the secrets of the most successful entrepreneurs and business people in Australia today. This is the fourth episode of the season.