We recently sat down and interviewed our board members to give you a chance to get to know them better, and we’ll be featuring one of these Q+As each week on the blog. Today we introduce you to Anika Cook, the Treasurer of the CWC board!
What is your current business/creative pursuit/job?
I'm currently taking “long service leave” after wrapping up The Gently Unfurling Sneak, the design business that I ran for twelve years. I'm using this time to take a breather and explore new creative possibilities.
Can you outline the journey that got you here? What previous work/creative pursuits/life decisions brought you to this place?
When I was studying for my Bachelor of Creative Arts at the University of Melbourne I started experimenting with screen printing and collage and selling little bits and pieces at local markets. After graduating I had a brief dalliance with working in IT (which I was not remotely qualified for) and it gave me the motivation to get my business off the ground. I worked part-time doing web and graphic design at Craft Victoria whilst I built The Gently Unfurling Sneak up, slowly growing until I had to take the leap to being full-time. And then the leap to having staff! Eventually we grew to offer fashion, accessories, cards and artworks, selling online as well as through retailers and then opening a dedicated shop in North Melbourne in 2015.
When did you first come across Creative Women’s Circle?
I stumbled across the website a few years ago and promptly joined up so I could listen to all of the event recordings – I think I was at a moment where I needed some perspective and inspiration for my business. I then went to a morning tea and fell in love with the community… and the cake.
What has your experience been being a part of the CWC community?
It feels like I have really found my people. I found that 'traditional' business people didn't really understand the unique trials of running a small creative business, and fine artists or hobby makers didn't necessarily understand what it's like to make things for a living. The CWC community can give advice, commiserate and celebration all in the one place.
How would you describe the value of membership with CWC?
It's incredibly valuable. The advice, camaraderie and support that you receive as a member cannot be found anywhere else.
Which creative person, living or dead, do you most admire and why?
As an artist I admire Hannah Höch, one of the only female Dadaists, an originator of photomontage and someone who used her art politically, during the Weimar Republic and Third Reich in Germany.
How do you challenge yourself creatively?
By trying new things. I seem to want to avoid repeating myself so I often find that I've gone off on a creative tangent without realising… sometimes too far! But I wouldn't have it any other way.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in your current career? What is your ‘other’ dream job/business?
That's what I'm trying to figure out now… there are a lot of ideas swirling around but nothing has settled yet.
Where do you see Creative Women’s Circle heading over the next two years? Why is this a great time to renew/sign up or volunteer to join the CWC community?
The new board is full of beans and excellent ideas so there's going to be a lot happening! We have lots of goodies planned to help people in their businesses and careers, from the part-time and emerging to fully established. We'd love to see you on board.
Anika is a designer, illustrator and collagist. She was the founder of fashion label The Gently Unfurling Sneak, which recently closed after twelve years in Melbourne and had a particular focus on intricate prints and the use of vintage imagery. Prior to starting her own business, Anika worked in the art and design sectors with Craft Victoria and freelance web design. Anika holds a Bachelor of Creative Arts from the University of Melbourne. Connect with Anika via Instagram.