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Conversations with the Inspiring Sarah Parks

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Parks.

Sarah, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I would have to say my journey into the fashion world has been probably bumpier than most. I don’t think I always thought I would get into fashion, but as I look back, I have always been drawn to it in some way. I think it started when my mom, my sis and I would go visit my grandparents’ house. My grandparents were always very active and one of the things they loved was ballroom dancing. As some may know, ballroom dancing goes hand in hand with dressing up and I can remember being little and watching them both get ready. My grandma had the prettiest gowns that she paired with jewelry, her makeup and elegant perfume. Meanwhile, my grandpa wore the best suits and tuxes, matching cufflinks and cologne that I can still recognize to this day. I loved their entire ensembles, the feel of the fabric and how put together they looked with one another. Fast forward to graduating high school and I had an inkling to do something fashion related, but this time in the design field.

Over a year, I took a few different fashion design courses and quickly realized that my skills did not lie in the immensely detail-oriented field of design. My love for fashion was slightly deterred and it took me awhile to find where I f fit in in the industry. I continuously studied the fashion and style, designers, trends, magazines etc until I stumbled upon blogging which was relatively new (in 2012). Therefore, while finishing my finance degree at Arizona State University I started my first fashion blog. I wrote about literally whatever had caught my eye at that time in the fashion world or something I personally came across. I quickly learned I needed to become more methodical when it came to writing. The blog was mainly outfit post/ideas for men and women and covered some beauty. During this same time, I started receiving inquiries to style other people and I started to volunteer with local fashion shows and photoshoots. This experience led me into the world of personal styling that I still am heavily involved in today.

Back to my first blog, I ran the site for five years and formally shut it down in the Summer of 2017. I knew I wanted to take my blogging into a different direction and a rebrand was necessary. In December of 2017, I launched All Things Phashionizta which is literally all things me but centered around fashion. I am able to share more about my personal life, fashion and in general things that I encounter and/or interest me that I think most women around my age can relate to. I wanted to create a site/blog that grew and changed as my life grows and changes and this one is exactly that. In addition to running the blog, I also work regularly as a wardrobe/personal stylist with a variety of clients and maintain a full time job in the banking industry. My journey into fashion has definitely been with it’s ups and downs but it has also brought me some of the best experiences I’ve ever had and has taught me so much about myself along the way.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Blogging, wardrobe styling, and fashion, in general, are just tough. It’s hard to get into these sectors, be taken seriously, get opportunities AND get paid. The biggest challenges are ones you never think, such as: remaining consistent despite the no’s, despite feeling that no one is reading your posts and despite not fitting the mold. The two areas I’ve struggled with are:
1. Consistency – in general, it’s hard to keep doing the same thing day in and day out with the same level of tenacity as when you first start. My first blog was a prime example and a learning curve for me in this exact area.
2. Comparison- it’s super easy to get caught up looking at others’ “success” and comparing where they are to where you are. I did this a lot when I first started out and ultimately, it got me nowhere.

My advice:
I think firstly (if that’s a word), know how you work and what fuels your drive for whatever business you are starting. Personally, I know I have spurts of creativity or times when I am inspired to write and I have to capitalize on those moments and get the most work out of that time. Most people starting out like myself are working a full-time job while trying to build a brand or business, so making the most of your available time is crucial.

Secondly, stop comparing yourself to others and focus on comparing you to you. Each year, I look at where I am in relation to where I was 12 or 6 months prior and as long as I am progressing, then I’m in the right direction. I spent a lot of wasted time and energy when I first started getting down on myself that I wasn’t further along than others who had started their blogs or wardrobe styling businesses before or even after me. It was torturous, but eventually, with the help of some great people around me and myself recognizing how it was affecting my mood and business, I realized I had to create a different approach. I now have a self-progress comparison for myself and I’ve unfollowed any social media accounts that I felt was fueling the comparison.

Of course, all this is easier said than done, but over time, I’ve seen how much it has helped me remain focused on what is most important to myself as it relates to my brand and business.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into All Things Phashionizta story. Tell us more about the business.
As a blogger my site, All Things Phashionizta is where you get to come along on my journey, see my everyday outfits, get style advice and more.

I am also a wardrobe stylist and you can set up a complimentary style consultation that will get you started on your stylish new journey on the site as well. I love getting to know my clients, their needs and build them a wardrobe that they can truly live in and feel great in. I specialize in the one on one needs of individuals who don’t have the time and/or the desire to shop for clothes. My ability to understand the client’s lifestyle, body type, and their specific needs is how I differentiate myself from others in the industry. As a wardrobe stylist, it’s not as easy as finding a cute outfit and putting it on your client. You not only have to understand the person but also their body type, preferences, quirks and more effectively create a look or looks for them. I believe my business acumen that I’ve learned throughout my corporate career is another huge strength in understanding the ins and outs with running a business regardless of industry and allows me to better relate to my clients who are in that same arena.

As a brand, I’ve been able to host a “Shop, Sip & Style Tips” event at a local menswear store, named Top 6 stylist in Arizona, published two style books available on Amazon and have worked on numerous photo shoots and fashion shows. These opportunities have been amazing and I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for myself and All Things Phashionizta.

Who do you look up to? How have they inspired you?
First and foremost, my mom 100%. She’s by far the strongest, smartest and most resilient person I know. She’s always pushed me to go after what I wanted even if it wasn’t always the popular choice or went with the crowd. She’s been my number one supporter since I can remember, she attended all my basketball games while growing up and now she attends all my fashion events with the same enthusiasm. She’s been an incredible role model for me and I hope at some point in my life I can be a fraction as great as she is.

Secondly, would be my circle of girlfriends. There’s a core group of 3 to 4 that I surround myself with constantly. They come from very different backgrounds, but they are all incredibly determined women in their respective fields and are complete girl bosses. I love to watch them thrive and it makes me want to go even harder. I think it’s important as a woman to have other women in our circles as we grow and especially when creating a brand or business. Many of us (women) have encountered similar obstacles and having the knowledge of someone coming before you and learning how they navigated those same waters is invaluable.

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