By: CeCe Marie
Has the universe ever connected you with someone that you click with from the start? Someone who vibes with you not only on a spiritual level, but also on a business level? This is how I feel about my relationship with Anna Wilder.
As i’ve been progressing my way through entrepreneurship, Anna is another female boss who I’ve had the pleasure of working with and becoming friends with. Anna is a more seasoned creative who I look up to as she also balances multiple responsibilities for both of her brands, Crown Talk Collective and Musa. I have always taken a liking to individuals who embrace all their passions and stay curious. You can have more than one focus and swerve in and out of lanes while running more than one brand. The key is: do you want it all?
Some days you can find me in the driver seat wearing my manager hat and in my bag doing brand management and marketing for my clients. Other days you can find me switching lanes and on the passenger side as I pick up the pen and blog for Coffee, Tea or Tequila. Before you know it, I’m jumping back into the driver seat to host an event going 70 in the fast lane. As a creative, Anna is on the same agenda. One day she might be freelancing and doing graphic design for her clients. The next day you will probably catch her cutting a deck of tarot cards while providing personal readings and new insights to her clients. By the weekend she could be hosting a networking event or panel for Crown Talk Collective, which by the way, I do recommend that you try to attend one of these events in the future. I hosted one of her panels back in April on the 4 T’s To Success and the amount of energy and gems that were dropped by all of the hard working women entrepreneurs was unmatched. I learned a lot and had fun while doing it.
In honor of #SheWorkinWednesday, get to know more about Anna and what she brings to the table as an evolving creative who embraces Women of Color here in Chicago. #SheWorkin.
1.Who is Anna Wilder and how did you become an entrepreneur?
I would define and label myself as both a Professional Creative and Businesswoman, motivated by the pursuit of my “wildest” visions, freedom and legacy. These exact motivations are what lead me to powering forward into entrepreneurship. Right out of undergrad, I got into Corporate America, realized it wasn’t for me, and I quit my secure 9-to-5 just after a year. I knew having a rigid schedule at an annoying desk job just wasn’t for me. The feeling of confinement was something I could not get used to. Designing the life of freedom I desired was going to take autonomous movement, lots of creativity in how to make a living, and plenty of hard fucking work. Even if I wasn’t quite prepared, I was ready and I jumped.
2. How did you come up with the idea for Crown Talk Collective and MUSA and what is the foundation of your brands?
MUSA was actually once another name, but the goal and the mission have always been the same — to help others on the same entrepreneurial pursuit as me to bring their “wildest” visions to fruition. I want to be a creative and collaborative assistant to others who otherwise wouldn’t know where to start building from a branding perspective.
One night as I was laying in bed trying to go to sleep, a thought popped up into my head that was rooted in my frustration for feeling alone in my entrepreneurial creative journey. I had no network or collective of creative women who shared my same struggles or that could help me level up. So, why not host an event? With a panel? Share insights and ideas? Then I realized that I could make this bigger than just an event. This could be a thing that others could support or feel part of. Something they didn’t always have to actually show up to for a specific event, but a collective, so to speak.
Crown Talk Collective was born. Started the Instagram and started building the following immediately. Designed and launched the site a month later. Was venue hunting a couple weeks after that. Sold out tickets a month in advance for the first 4 T’s to Success with my amazing panel of Women of Color entrepreneurs and business owners. It was a wonderful turnout and I aimed to keep it going.
3. Most recently you did a panel for Crown Talk Collective on the 4 T’s To Success. Can you tell me more about this event?
In April 2019 at Blue Lacuna, I hosted 4 T’s to Success 2, which was an anniversary celebration for my first 4 T’s to Success in April 2018. This was partially a vendor shop and showcase featuring ten Women of Color business owners selling their products and services. The other portion of the event was a panel on the “4 T’s”, which are our Trials, Tribulations, Truths, and Triumphs of being Women of Color and creatives/business owners.
I firmly and strongly believe that all of us have something to share — some gem, some wisdom, some insights, some applicable knowledge — and it’s selfish of us to keep all of these to ourselves when we can bring others up with this. This is not only what the 4 T’s to Success means, but what Crown Talk stands for.
4. Do you have any future events or plans that you can spill the tea on?
Indeed! I know I’ll be doing another in October of this year. I plan on having it revolved around the actual stress of being an entrepreneur. I want to address self-care and mental health. These are big “buzz words” right now, but I still take them very seriously. I’ve seen entrepreneurs burn themselves out and run themselves into the ground. If I can help curate a space or an event to discuss these matters and push the conversation further, I’m all for it. Be on the lookout for that!
5. As a designer and creative, what are some of the biggest challenges that you face?
Other than not having enough finances for all my ideas?! Because whew, chile!
But another big challenge tied to that is balancing my clients work with my own passions or projects that I know and believe are really going to take me to my next level. Every creative has the gift of vision and what I see for myself juxtaposed to what I’m actually doing at this time are two very different things. It’s frustrating, but you can still focus on the long-term while doing the necessary and diligent work of the now. Find and create balance.
6. What has been some of your most memorable projects that you are proud of?
I once worked for an innovative start-up sports supplement company called De Novo Nutrition. We were able to launch unique products, produce original content, and shake up the industry in our niche. The work I did with that team consistently pushed the envelope and caused a necessary disruption. I had the freedom to exercise my creativity without reserve and create supplement design that felt more like art. It’s a time I truly cherish.
Additionally, working on anything for Crown Talk is and always will be memorable. Crown Talk Collective is my legacy. I will keep saying that until I truly know it’s in that position.
7. Who has inspired you along the way and why?
This is really tough. I literally take inspiration from damn near everything. There is no one source. I don’t think I can say my primary source of inspiration is even a person. However, I’m constantly inspired by creative risk takers in business in general. From ballsy, outspoken individuals like Kanye, to fearless artists like Pharrell, or stealthy strategists like Beyonce. Individuals like this keep me motivated.
8. Can you share some of your keys to success that have helped you on your journey as an entrepreneur?
Stay leveling up and aim to work with people at your level or above. It’s perfectly okay to grow together or behind someone, but never be the weakest link. By weakest link I mean don’t have absolutely nothing to contribute. Relationships and networking should not be just you taking from others. If you have nothing to bring to the table then what exactly is your purpose? You just want to eat, huh? Why should anyone want to work with you?
Also, learn to say no. Every move ain’t your move. I combine divine timing with hard work and with that, the moves that are meant for me will always find their way to me.
9. What things do creatives need to pay attention to when it comes to branding?
Don’t ride other people’s wave. Stay true to what it is that you naturally can do. Forcing shit will get you nowhere but stuck in a hole faking the funk. Imagine building your brand on a bed of lies and falsehoods? Blasphemy.
10. Are you coffee, tea or tequila? Why?
All tea, no tears! I hate coffee and tequila has traumatized me one too many times.