We had the good fortune of connecting with Twyla Grider and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Twyla, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I am a creator. It’s what I was born to do. I create art as the Spirit moves me. I create opportunities then use my gifts and my unique skill set to build a life of freedom and security. So I had to have a career that would allow me to continue to create. Once I understood that, I never looked back.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Stellar Creative Collective is a full service fashion design and development firm serving clients all over the United States. We call ourselves a collective because our company is a collection of independent contemporary fashion designers, artists, technical designers and strategists. Our consultants provide Creative Coaching, pushing each member beyond their creative limits to produce beautiful products, while also addressing the business needs of Merchandising and Sourcing to focus the line and position it in the marketplace.
Because we are a collective, brands are able to work within the collective, sharing resources, lowering costs and finding unique opportunities for collaboration and cost sharing. I’m so excited about the projects we are working on for 2022. We have 2 new brands, and a relaunch all very exciting!
Becoming the Creative Director and CEO of a design firm has been one of the most challenging undertakings I’ve experienced. Prior to this, I was a full time fashion designer, designing for major companies such as Jessica Simpson, Robert Rodriguez and Nine West. After years of hitting the glass ceiling as one of maybe two black designers, I decided to expand my consulting business and try to make an impact on the next generation by cultivating new talent. Once I made the decision and really leaned in, that’s when things started to really take off.
Was it easy? Well, I did start my consulting business as just a side gig, however I felt so rewarded when I would see my clients win. So I made the decision to really go after it and I haven’t looked back. Owning your own business has its challenges. Mainly funding and exposure, but I never really worried about either because I knew I was operating within my purpose and although there were some challenges along the way, it felt good to still be operating with my purpose. I meet every challenge head on by reminding myself who I am. I am a creator. It’s what I was born to do. I am a cultivator. It’s what I’ve been called to do. I am a curator. It’s what I LOVE to do.
I’ve learned so many lessons as a designer and as a business owner. I guess the most important is to be true to myself. Know what I believe in and make sure I’m always on purpose. There are so many shiny objects that get dangled in your face and you want to go after them all, but you can’t do all things well. So do the one or two things GREAT! Be know for your greatness, not for being busy.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well. Currently I live in the New York City area. But whenever I visit Atlanta, I still love to go to Little 5 Points. It’s always been a great source of inspiration for me. They have good vintage shops and there’s just so much to see. I can spend all day there, fall into a bar to have great conversation with random people, then head to a gallery or two with some friends from SCAD.
When in Atlanta I have to go to Mary Mac’s Tea Room. The Mint Juleps are sooooooo gooooood!!!! I usually go after a day of shopping at Phipps Plaza. To cap off a good week, drinks at 5Church isn’t bad either.
Atlanta continues to change and has really become the new Hollywood of sorts. Every time I visit I experience something new. That’s what’s really cool about Atlanta. It’s always an adventure.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to shoutout my Mom for cultivating my gifts. As a child of a true creative, she understood the importance of letting me explore the world differently. She encouraged me to be inquisitive and to find my own way. She was a beautiful artist. She sketched, she sewed, and is still a wonderful interior designer. So it wasn’t a stretch for me to go into a creative field such as fashion.
When I was very young, I wanted things that just didn’t exist and my mom would take me to the fabric store and I would design what I wanted right then and there. She would then make it happen. My mom allowed me to see the world that I wanted to live in, the fantasy and luxury of it all and never ever hindered me from my pursuit of it.
My second shoutout would be to my amazing friends. They all cheer me on, support me no matter what and when I need them, they are there. My friend Sharifa referred my first client to me and that was the beginning of my consulting agency. There would be no Stellar Creative Collective without Sharifa Wip. She planted the seed.
@ayannalistenbee @elxstudio @Blackity_Black_Apparel @lineijinc @lobjewelry