WotW: Samantha Solberg
Samantha Solberg is the Founder and CEO of an incredible organization called Samantha’s Treasures, in which she sells jewelry to help aid girls in Africa.
Did we mention that she is sixteen?!
Samantha is an amazing girl with a huge heart, and this week, Julia had the opportunity to sit down and chat with her about her aspirations, ballet, time management, and the joy received from changing the world.
Julia: My first question is what inspired you to create this organization? What fostered your love for Kenya, and how did you know starting a business would be the best way to channel your passion? What is YOUR story?
Samantha: My story started with me wanting to help a neighbor. She was diagnosed with ALS and needed help fundraising for a car that would allow her to get around in her wheelchair. I had created some Christmas gift tags and sewing bobbin ornaments and asked my mom if I could create a website to sell them. Her initial response was no, due to her concern over privacy issues and internet safety. I kept asking and created a website offline to show her how easy it was. She finally came on board and said yes and Samantha's Treasure was born. It was not long after that that one of my friends, Abby, which I had danced with, moved to Kenya, Africa as missionaries. They started a discipleship group called Girls with Vision. These ladies needed hope, a way to earn money, and learn new skills. They began to teach them to make bracelets from beads and wire. I asked my mom if I could sell their bracelets on my website. I created a brochure,http://www.samanthastreasure.com/media/brochures/ and business cards. They needed more help to accomplish the tasks at hand like sending one of the girls to school and raising money to rent out a space for them to work and have worship. In addition to purchasing the bracelets from them, I send back 50% of the profit from my business. Since August 2011, I have sent almost $7,000 back to them in purchase of inventory and profit earned.
Julia: What were some challenges you faced, and how did you overcome them?
Samantha: A huge challenge I have is marketing and advertising. I rely mostly on word of mouth. I need to increase my visibility to be able to sell more items. I have been working hard doing farmer's markets, vendor home shows, and school fundraiser auctions. I also have a role model, business mentor and friend, RoxaneMann, inspires me and helps me by selling some of the bracelets at her stores, called Walk on Water. She does amazing community outreach and through her retail shops here in Central Florida. Most of my sales are around the holidays and through myEtsy Website at https://www.etsy.com/shop/SamanthasTreasure/about. I also recently started a blog, http://www.samanthastreasure.com, “Building Hope, Near and Far”, to share my story and bring the importance of hope to a broader audience as well. I also have to keep up with social media sites like Facebook, Twitter,Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn constantly and this requires a lot of my time and my mom has had to help me with this at times.
Julia: Who is your role model, and why?
Samantha: In addition to Roxane Mann, who I mentioned already, my role model is Lizzie Wirgau, founder and CEO of Market Colors. I was blessed with the opportunity of being able to meet her through Northland Church's vender show that we both participated in. She created a business where they collaborate with the craftsmen all around the world to create beautiful handmade products that bring sustainable income and help break the ongoing cycle of poverty.
Julia: What are your short and long term goals for your organization?
Samantha: My short term goals include visiting the Girls with Vision group in Kenya for the first time this July. While I am there, I hope to create a short documentary film about them and the Matlack family to raise awareness and show others how they live and what their needs are and how important God's love and hope is to their future success. Thankfully, I have been able to raise enough money through my business and T-Shirt fundraising to go! My long term goals include starting a not for profit. I have a business plan to take to college sororities which would help them raise money for their sororities and also help those in need as well through providing sustainable income for them. Another goal is to help young people here find hope, focus and great purpose in helping others around the world. You are never too young to make a difference in the world.
Julia: What tools or habits do you use to manage your professional life with school and personal life?
Samantha: Time management has been a huge challenge for me. I am still learning and improving all the time. I am currently trying to learn more about social media and scheduling posts ahead of time so that I do not have to be on it every day. I was so blessed with the opportunity to have been selected to participate in the Disney Dreamer Academy 2014 and learned so much that I can do that will help me in my business. Currently, I am active in a dance company, as well as having my own ballet classes that I teach three times a week, Video Creating, Side jobs, church leadership for middle schoolers every Saturday, Bible Study, painting, school work and yes, a social life. Most of my social life revolves around Church Youth Group, Bible Study and Dance, so that streamlines my social life a whole lot and the Bible Study and Youth group always keeps me on track to focus on the important things. I attend Crooms Academy of Information and Technology for two computer classes and Florida Virtual School for my academics. However, due to needing more time to focus on my business, I will be attending Circle Christian Private School, where I will only attend school two days a week and a third day for a Theatre Company. This will allow me more time to focus on Samantha’s Treasure and teaching classical ballet.
Thank you Samantha so much for taking the time to share your story with HerCulture. If you are feeling inspired, please check out Samantha’s Treasures at: http://www.samanthastreasure.com.