Simonetta Lein is an Italian born Model, Author, and Millennial Activist considered one of the top 100 fashion influencers in the world. She is the founder of The Wishwall Foundation, with its international project The Wishwall www.thewishwall.org. Simonetta contributes to Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, Huffington Post and advocates for women in her blog Empowering Style by The Wishmaker www.thewishmaker.us. Simonetta is an Entrepreneur, a TV personality and a top model that has contributed to several shows at NYFW and at Madison Square Garden for Style Fashion Week. Her fans call her The Wishmaker.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
One day of 7 years ago I was in Milan Italy and was chatting with a web manager about the future of business. He said: social media will be changing the way of doing everything. At that time social media was powerful but not as much as today. Many still didn’t understand its power. Including myself, up to that point. That meeting guided me on my path that led me to become today recognized as one of the 100 top fashion influencers in the world.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
I have many interesting stories but lately, I am very proud of a big accomplishment. I co-founded Ausonia Partners LLC a year ago with the intent of helping others in the world of social media influencers, targeted PR and marketing. A year later we have been named by INC magazine among the top 5000 fastest growing companies in all America. I am an immigrant who came to the US 3 and a half years ago not knowing anyone. Achieving this result in a year makes me very proud. I must be doing something right, I said to myself.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Well, I thought Instagram was not that important. Can you imagine? Instagram is an immediate visual communication. I thought it was “too simple” even though I was attracted to it as my first degree is in fine art and my thesis was on a body art/photographic concept. But I thought I needed to be more complex than that. I have learned that sometimes what is simple works better. And that what is YOU is the real key.
I not only run an LLC but also a non for profit, The Wishwall Foundation. When I have started it I just wanted to make wishes come true. I did not imagine that I would have received any type of wishes at that point. I honestly began by helping anyone I could, and I found myself dealing with soccer organizations, singers agents and more. I was granting wishes from America to Italy, waking up sometimes at 5 AM for the jet leg to ensure that everything was running smoothly. I soon understood that my mistake was not putting a precise bigger focus in what my organization wanted to do and represents. As much as every wish is important, granting a single wish that wasn’t impacting a community didn’t bring me joy. With my board of directors, we improved the mission and at today we ran the most amazing campaigns to truly impact the world, one community at a time.
Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?
With my personal business as a social media influencer through my LLC, I had the opportunity of meeting so many amazing brands that do go. For instance, Mikah Fashion who inspires women through their clothing to embrace their scars as that is what makes them unique. I have been supporting the brand and was their guest of honor at New York Fashion Week 2019 for a Flying Solo event, where I heard the stories of many women. They feel empowered by only wearing a piece of clothing that represents them. I strongly believe that fashion has the power of exuding confidence.
Or Awake Watches, another brand that actively cleans the oceans from plastic and creates the coolest watch designs while saving planet Earth. I am actively involved with both to show how fashion can definitely be an instrument of good.
With The Wishwall Foundation instead, we have been able to rename a street after a woman killed in a hit and run accident in Philadelphia, give an EKG machine to a mobile clinic in Florida, support a domestic abuse program for women and their children sponsoring a playground and hope boxes for al of them, gave blankets and towels to an entire women shelter, brought a “smile day” to 180 indigenous children in the Philippines. We also supported 100 girl child in Africa with their education and I had the honor to see “The Simonetta Lein Literacy Award” taking place in Nigeria for 250 children. On The Wishwall we are advocating every day for women, future entrepreneurs and inspiring the community in and outside the net.
Can you tell me a story about a particular individual who was impacted by your cause?
It was magnificent to receive messages, comments of support, video messages by an immigrant Jamaican woman, who is really bringing a big impact to disadvantaged communities in Florida. We helped her with her mobile clinic and equipment she needed for her patients. She then sent us stories of people that were personally touched and whose lives have changed because of the medical equipment we donated. I still remember her and her gratitude. So many people I will never meet that in a way were forever helped by my organization’s work.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
When I made certain wishes happened, or different fashion campaigns flourish, I have been told it was impossible. I proved them wrong. You can do it too.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
Leadership is lead by example. You have to be the example for someone and be ready to show the way, others will follow.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
Be patient – I never truly understood what my father meant when he said: “in life you need patience”. I did not understand I had to apply it to my business as well. I admit it, I still don’t like the concept but hey, there is just no other way.
Be tenacious – Yes, I heard about it as a young girl, but no one ever told me that without that quality you will never make it. In order to succeed you have to dare.
You will have to outsource – No one ever told me I cannot really do all on my own. You have to be good at looking out and get lucky sometimes to find good collaborators. Be ready to have a watch with multiple time zones on it. The more your business expands, the more the world becomes small. Also, remember that not all the outsourcing will go as you expected. Be ready to stand up for yourself and understand at the same time different cultures and business practices.
You have to continue – no one ever told me I would have had moments in which I seriously would have wanted to have given up. Your persistence wins in the long run.
Be good no matter what – no one ever told me that business also means meeting people or situations that are not always easy or good. You have to constantly grow as a person and bring your heart and soul into your business. Do not let others change your good nature.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
The Wishwall – a wall of wishes where the voiceless can have a voice, where anyone can decide to help someone and where true stories can become a reality. I am doing it, I would love for you guys to be part of my movement as well. Please watch The Wishwall Tv Series on Amazon Prime via FNL Network.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
You get more flies with honey than vinegar. Sometimes you will get exhausted in life as in your business, please remember that your good nature is the most valuable asset you have. I have to remind myself of that every day.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Marcus Lemonis. He is just awesome, and he shows you how your business is a true part of yourself and how good people can really contribute to society through their businesses. He is honestly one of my inspirations and I have learned so much from him. Please, Marcus, we can make you some real good Italian food.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Please visit my www.instagram.com/Simonettalein