Today we’d like to introduce you to Barbara Sparks.
Alright, thank you for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us how you got started?
I’m Barbara – but everyone calls me Barb; at an early age, I always knew I was a leader and wanted to teach, but I didn’t know how to do it. It wasn’t until high school that I started my first side hustle, creating resumes and cover letters – helping people get jobs.
I did Career Coaching for 10 years before pivoting to focus on Business and Marketing about 3 years ago. My mission was to help people make impactful decisions by giving them the resources to move toward their dreams and goals. I worked with people from all walks of life, from high school students to recent grads, government and remote employees, and more.
I was helping them work through common issues such as: how do I get promoted? How do I switch careers after being in the same industry for 30 years? To obtain an internship in college and find work/life balance. I decided to pivot to Business and Marketing because of my passion. I honed my skills and launched a hand-made swimwear to test my skills and experience. Also, I have gotten results for others that exceed what they thought possible. The results were more than I’d hoped for—I was selling my products. I continued creating and building a community of women around shared values and interests.
Fast-forward to today. I am a Brand Strategist who is on a mission to help entrepreneurs communicate the value of their brand to customers using Psychology, Design, and Strategy.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a smooth road?
This path has been rewarding. Overthinking used to be one of my biggest struggles, leading to procrastination and causing a lot of stress because very little would get done. I’ve learned that most of your thoughts are judgmental and negative towards yourself, which causes you to go in the opposite direction.
I’ve learned to stay in the moment and enjoy the moments that challenge me the most. Don’t get yourself worked up over things out of your control – learn and find solutions. I’ve also known that you must do some serious soul-searching and be willing to step outside your comfort zone. You’ll have to ask yourself some hard questions to discover your strengths, weakness, and fears to bridge that gap between now and your future.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’m a Brand Strategist, Founder, and Owner of Opin Creative and NZINGA Outfitters – a women’s clothing and swimwear brand where we specialize in sustainable and upscale pieces that are versatile and timeless. I help entrepreneurs communicate the value of their brand, products, and services through teaching sales psychology, strategies, and design. When I tell someone what I do, they ask, “what is a brand strategist?” It combines a few things, being a problem solver, thinking outside the box, being innovative, leading, and executing ideas. I am most proud of my self-development, it’s an ongoing learning process, but that makes it intriguing and worth it.
Devon Zayd El (swimwear photos) & Niya Troi (personal photos)