A Peek Inside My Village: Barbara Clark Ruiz

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Barbara Clark Ruiz has always marched to her own beat. A Pratt Institute alum, she skyrocketed early as an activewear designer. Her first job out of college was with Adidas, where her designs quickly became top-sellers. Eventually Barbara launched her own firm, designing for top brands that included Nike, Fila, Speedo, Hanes, Asics, and Disney. In 2011 she landed the coveted role as design director for tennis star Venus Williams' apparel collection, ELEVEN by Venus.

Most recently, Barbara has pivoted her talent for brand development to an entirely new industry: pets. She's the Founder and CEO of Lick You Silly, a line of dog food treats and products that includes a chicken-flavored dog food seasoning. Thanks to Barbara, now even Toto can have "hot sauce" in her bag. When I asked Barbara what she's had to #droptheball on in order to keep both her design and dog enterprises moving forward she mentioned a to-do that's been on her list for awhile: completing her registration for minority-owned business status. Part of her procrastination is due to unfamiliarity with the process, so if anyone reading this can help out please reply so that I can make the introduction. One of the best parts of dropping the ball is getting support from your community to pick some of them up.