Anita Hawkins and Jamidah – Founders of We are ULTRA!

Anita Hawkins co-heads the ‘We Are ULTRA’ creative collective, hunts interesting things and writes about them, sometimes dances, and makes art happen in tiny spaces.

She once ran away with the circus, and has worked with everyone from Nike and Nokia to the United Nations. She also really likes it when women eat.

What are you working on right now?

Anita : We are busy at We Are ULTRA pulling a pop up store concept together whilst getting our latest collection out for the Fall/Winter tradeshow madness. I’m also continuing to develop my performance art concept ENTER by making it a more ‘democratic’ and ‘spreadable’ performance experience.

Jamidah : Our spring collections, the ULTRA retail store and more madness.

What does your typical day look like?

Anita : Getting up and hopping immediately onto the laptop to connect with the Malaysian team and plow through all that needs to be done. It consists of a lot of writing, twitter feeds, Google Reader ‘research’, and the many meetings that happen with possible collaborators.

Jamidah : Warm and bright, shades of chaos and satisfaction as soon as I step into the workshop. Mostly done online we try to be paperless and use dropbox, google docs and mindmeister for our internal docs.

3 trends that excite you?

Anita : Collaborative Consumption, big time – I really look forward to a world where sharing is the standard. Online:Offline, Connectivity and multiple levels of understanding and experience excite. And…Cyborgs? Ha, maybe not a trend but a direction of human-technology integration that I am intrigued with.

Jamidah : Green growing everything from rings to signage.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Anita : Come up with them, have the confidence to act fast, and stay on top of it to make it a smart reality.

Jamidah : Cocktails and dancefloor sessions then it’s speed typing on our macbooks, meeting with the people who can execute them, then its all go from there. We dont like to hesitate with our ideas and just go for it if we believe in it.

What inspires you?

Anita: Ingenuity, confidence, strength and thoughtfulness in individuals, experiences or simply things.

Jamidah: Travel, films, art and music.

What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?

Anita : To act out of ignorant confidence. I learnt to remember to judge a little and search the outcomes from a wider perspective.

Jamidah : Keep your creative juices to yourself and the ones you trust only. Its good to be inspired and encouraged but there is someone out there who will jump on the chance to use your ideas as their own.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Anita : Let’s democratise the public space for intimate, unexpected engagement. My current idea for ENTER is to create spaces where anyone can come to engage in performance (or experience) in an intimate environment within the public space. Any readers want to make it happen? Do go ahead!

What do you read every day, and why?

Anita : Email, to engage and get rid of that unread count! Ha. I would love to be able to read everything in my Google Reader every day, but unfortunately that doesn’t quite happen. However, my favourites are Co.Design, Brain Pickings, Mind Hacks, Seth’s Blog and Creative Applications.

Jamidah : Treehugger – green daily dose, psfk – trends, twitter feeds -fun, the local daily – need to know what’s going on in my country.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?

Anita : The Flounder by Gunter Grass. Because one could only hope to be as eloquent as Grass’ Flounder. Or, because however dry it’s a great meld of a selection of the ages, food and a courthouse-bound flounder. And we all thrive on a good story.

What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?

Anita: iEverything. They keep me connected.

Jamidah: Addicted to blackberry messenger. I have some unusual characters on my bbm that are just a PING away. Its for business and casual stalking.

Three people we should follow on Twitter, and why? 

@rachelbotsman, keep on top of that collaborative consumption goodness.

@niubi, a great eye into China.

@weareULTRA, that’s us, we find lots of interesting innovations, and it’d be lovely to see you there.

Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?

Anita: Cindy Gallop.

When is the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

Anita : I don’t keep track. Laughing at myself often happens. So let’s go with that.

Jamidah : We laugh easily. We dont take ourselves too seriously. Just spend 5 minutes with the team and there is sure to be some silliness happening.

Anita: What are you going to be working on in five years.

Something that I’m truly passionate about.

Anita: Are you happy?

Why, yes!


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@weareULTRA; @twitanita