Tizzie Nuss of The Spark Project on carving her own path, and her mission to create a safer space for kids with the SPARK™ Shield

Tizzie Nuss_Blog Header

Describe your business in a few words?

One school shooting is too many and exactly why I created the Spark Project. We’re on a mission to protect our kids and future against school shootings with our patent pending SPARK™ Shield. The SPARK™ Shield is a bullet resistant, lightweight, customizable folder that kids can easily carry and transport to and from school.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

As a mom, I continued to see these heartbreaking events happen and felt helpless. God placed this issue on my heart. But the thought of trying to create something to protect kids felt too complex for me to tackle. That was until 2017, when I got my last sign – the day I lost my eyesight. That day and the two days that followed were the scariest days of my life. I promised God that I would never question my calling again. So, when my vision came back, I got to work and have been on a mission to protect our kids ever since.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

I was a HR Business Partner for over 10 years. I loved working with people and loved helping them solve their problems! 

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I always had a very strong entrepreneurial spirit and loved the idea of creating my own path. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do until my purpose became clear in 2017. 

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

In 2020, we launched a crowdfunding campaign and within 2 weeks the pandemic took over. While that wasn’t part of the plan, we still had a successful campaign and because of that we were able to make the very first SPARK™ Shields last year.

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

When we launched our crowdfunding campaign I didn’t think about sales tax. That was until I called the Department of Tax and realized I had to absorb that cost and pay sales tax for every product that was pre-ordered. Lesson learned!

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

Bringing the SPARK™ Shield to life. I didn’t have any experience with bringing a product to market and definitely didn’t know anything about the ballistics industry. But throughout this process I think my faith has helped me overcome every challenge along the way.

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

We launched during the pandemic which was tough, but we made it happen!

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

We are super focused on engaging parents and developing a nationwide community around our cause. A community that has had enough, that wants more for our kids, and that stands together to spark positive change.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

I’ve learned that no plan will ever go the way you intend it to, but despite setbacks you can choose how to respond. I have to give my feelings space/time, but I’ll always find the silver lining and take that next step forward!

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

Social media takes a lot of time, but it is a great way to connect…send that DM you’ve been thinking about sending!

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

I lean on my husband a lot and his constant support and encouragement has helped me during the really tough times. 

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

I think so many of us strive for some sort of balance and I’ve struggled with work/life balance throughout my entire career. Being an entrepreneur has allowed me to truly flex and not carry around that feeling of guilt that I’ve felt in the past – which I’m so grateful for! One piece of advice – make sure you find a culture and leader that aligns with what you’re looking for – be clear about what’s important to you and make time to disconnect. 

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

My real name is Elizabeth!

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

1.) Make a list of your to do’s. 2.) Assign a level of priority to each task: high/medium/low. 3.) Tackle that list & take breaks.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

Being an Entreprenista means carving your own path that’s fueled by passion and purpose. Showing up every day to take that next step forward and celebrating all the little wins along the way.

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





Natalie Ramirez Designs Impactful Spaces With Her Architecture Firm

Hi, Natalie! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business. Natalie Soledad Ramírez is the Founder and Principal Architect of Natalie Ramirez Architecture + Impact Collaborative. She has worked in architecture for over 14 years. She believes that the built environment can act as a catalyst for positive change and has devoted much…

Massage Therapist Gabby Garduno Promotes Self-Care and Mental Wellness

Hi, Gabby! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hola, I’m Gabby, a Los Angeles mobile massage therapist providing massage for self care and mental wellness. What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member? Definitely being in a community with ladies who want to help build each other up! What made…

How Leslie Roberson Became a Leader in Inclusive Beauty Retail

“I became hyper detailed on the processes and how the business should run. Any good business, this should be the baseline. Nothing else, like this is it. How does your business run without you? My team understands that everyone’s on board, so they just move through the system systematically. And so if they have any…

How Renee Parsons Innovated Golf Apparel in a Male-Dominated Industry

“Just surround yourself with people that are not necessarily better than you, but that bring something to the table you don’t—and [don’t] be intimidated by that or threatened by that. I love collaborating and I love having people on my team that bring something to the table and can teach me, and I feel like…

Laurie Arron on Her Coaching Biz for C-Suite Execs and Chiefs of Staff

Hi, Laurie! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hi, I’m Laurie. I’m a trusted advisor and executive coach to C-Suite leaders and Chiefs of Staff. I’m also the founder of ChiefSpace Boardroom, a group coaching mastermind for Chiefs of Staff. What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member? I am…

Take a Look Inside Our Founders Weekend VIP Gift Bags

We’re still thinking about the VIP gift bags from Founders Weekend! The gift bags were filled with such innovative, useful (and luxurious!) products. Amplifying women-owned businesses is what we’re all about and we want to be sure all of the founders that featured products in our VIP Founders Weekend gift bags are discovered by all…

Dalana Lara Turned Her Passion for Baking Into a Cookie Biz

Hi, Dalana! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hi, I’m Dalana, founder of The Cookie Mania. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, I moved to the U.S. in 2015. My lifelong passion for baking was always a part of me, even though I went to college and graduated as an accountant. Beyond balancing…

Ariana Olive Helps People Reach Their Financial Goals Through Planning

Hi, Ariana! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: With over fifteen years of experience in finance and business management, Ariana is a performance-driven professional who provides strategic guidance to help individuals, families, and small-business owners reach their financial goals through comprehensive financial planning. She focuses on four key areas: tax planning,…

How Marina Khidekel Made Her Business a Household Name Through Networking

“Everybody has an unfair advantage. Use it. It could be an expertise that you have, that could be contacts you have in an industry that’s adjacent to the industry of your startup or can help your startup—use that. When Marina Khidekel started her search for a solution to her nighttime anxiety, she turned to weighted…

Elsi Pacheco on Her Brand Development and Digital Design Agency

Hi, Elsi! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I’m Elsi. I am the creative force behind Link Up Level Up, bringing over 20 years of experience in marketing, design, and website development to the digital space for business owners. I was born and raised in the vibrant hustle of New York,…

How Tisha Thompson Launched the First Black-Owned Clean Makeup Brand at Sephora

“There’s a lot of things that come with being able to support a retailer like that… If you’re not ready for those things, then go DTC first because you also have to have: Is your product merchandisable? Do you have unit cartons? Do you have UPCs? All of these kinds of operational tactical things that…

Shulamit Ber Levtov Supports Woman Entrepreneurs’ Mental Health & Well-Being

Hi, Shulamit! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I’m Shulamit Ber Levtov, MA, RSW, CCTP, aka The Entrepreneurs’ Therapist. I’m passionate about mitigating the entrepreneurial mental health crisis and transforming the entrepreneurial ecosystem to include the whole human in business. I do that through speaking, teaching, and consulting, as well as…

5 Tips for Planning a Seamless Event

Founders Weekend was a month ago, and we still can’t get over the impact the event made for our community. Seeing our members, in person, connecting and collaborating with each other was what it was all about.  The content that was captured truly reflects the feeling of our Founders Weekend event and we can’t wait…

Gina Caracci Does it All: Trainer, Podcaster, and Charity Founder

Hi, Gina! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I’m Gina aka GinaMarieFit. I’m a NASM personal trainer, business owner, podcaster, and charity organization founder. When I set out to become a personal trainer and online business owner, my goal was to provide more than just workouts and macros. I wanted to…

Building a 50,000+ Community While Navigating Postpartum Challenges

“I really care about people and I really care to see people thrive in communities where they feel welcomed.” Amanda Smith is the Founder & CEO of Dallas Girl Gang, a 50,000 plus global community of engaged women connecting in career, business, and life. Amanda, a former elementary music teacher, has grown Dallas Girl Gang…