21 Jun A SPARKLING AND REWARDING ADVENTURE – SPARKLE CHARLES
Trading as “Sparkling Gold Chocolates” Sparkle Charles always had that entrepreneurial spark sitting within her psyche. “Since age 10 I always had a burning desire to start my own business but was always prevented by family influences.” Like many of us Sparkle grew up in a traditional home where the standards focused on attending school, acquiring a solid education and landing a good job.
Sparkle’s dream unfolded eight (8) years ago “one day whilst in office I said to myself that this can’t be all to life.” She began to press forward “having an IT background I wanted to do 3D printing of chocolate cake toppers. I gathered my finances and took a small loan.” In 2016 Sparkle attended a convention on 3D printing in Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York which renewed her entrepreneurial thinking “whilst there I asked one of the conference officials if she’s certain that 3D machines were available; they were but extremely costly and that was a disappointment.”
The Chocolate Explosion
Sparkle’s persistence and determination to fuel her passion intensified “I started to learn everything about chocolates; with advice from my coach I reached out to local chocolatiers including the House of Orlando in Tobago.” Her experience at the House of Orlando was extremely enlightening “I spent an intense weekend and learnt how to make chocolates from bean to bar. I wanted to pursue another course ‘From Bean to Bar’ to obtain certification and though my funds were depleted I was still able to negotiate my way to complete the course.”
Destined to succeed, Sparkle used her salary earned from an IT position she landed at an educational establishment to pay for the course “upon completion of the course I reached out to local chocolatiers for an internship but was told that there’s enough information on the internet.” Sparkle’s interest became amplified “I took another loan and returned to the United States to pursue another program in chocolatiering; that resulted in me being able to work with six (6) chocolate ambassadors in the USA who gave me advice; in fact they’re still part of my network.”
Following this feat “Sparkling Gold Chocolates” was birthed in 2016. Sparkle’s clientele started with friends and has now transitioned into events including weddings, birthday parties, and other exclusives. With the pandemic, pivoting took place “I’ve created an online presence and is still able to maintain a strong customer base.”
Shell LiveWIRE Experience
“Participating in the Shell LiveWIRE Programme was a phenomenal experience. The coaching session facilitated by Mrs. Dale Laughlin was awesome; the session on managing Family-owned businesses by Marcus Sun Kow was packed with information regarding strategies for effectively running a business day to day ” said Sparkle. She continued “the entire programme challenged me to break barriers that would have been resting in my mind. I learnt that anything is possible through determination.”
I want to be the one of the best in the chocolate business in the CARICOM Region; I’d also like to give back to youths – in the same way that Shell and YBTT offered me this unique opportunity I’d like to do the same.”
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Shell LiveWIRE is Shell’s global flagship social investment Enterprise Development programme, with a vision to strengthen local economies by promoting entrepreneurship, innovation and meaningful employment. Since inception in Scotland in 1982, the programme is facilitated in over 15 countries and supports thousands of entrepreneurs willing to transition their bright ideas into sustainable businesses. Download the Shell LiveWIRE Deal Book.