Naima next to the logo of her knitted item business, Knits by Naima.
Cover Image © Naima Barnes

Black Perspectives #11: Naima Barnes (Financial Planner & Business Owner)

Naima Barnes is my favorite kind of person: She works hard, plays hard, and “finds joy regardless”. I respect that about the ways I’ve seen her move over the years from advising others in their financial journies to managing her own literal hand-knitted empire. Jump in and find out more about it all in her Black Perspective.

Introducing: Naima Barnes

SSD: Jumping right in, tell me a bit about yourself and what you do.

NB: I’m a Black Woman, a Jersey girl at heart, but living and loving the DMV area. An alumna of The Ohio State University who loves her dog (Smokey), her family, and friends. I help individuals to create and implement a plan for financial independence, and I’m the creator and owner of Knits by Naima – a handcrafted knit and crochet accessories brand for the modern woman. I have been knitting since 2013 after I learned the basics at a knitting club from my job in Seattle.

Naima Barnes - Financial Planner and Small Business Owner.

SSD: What inspired you to get into financial planning and knitting?

NB: Growing up, I wasn’t taught a lot of financial literacy. It was mostly, “Put a little bit of money aside for a rainy day and don’t spend more than you earn.” Once I stumbled on the Financial Planning industry through my college courses, I was astonished that there was a career out there to help people be financially smart. However, I knew that this was something that my people needed, and my mission is to make sure that they are empowered to make smart financial decisions.

My inspiration for knitting comes from my creative great aunt. I have always loved making things with my hands. I remember going to the craft store with my great aunt as a child and trying different creative activities – latch hook, embroidery, sewing, jewelry making, etc. However, it wasn’t until my first job after college that I fell in love with knitting. Once I started making, I was hooked and wanted to see what else I could make. Fast forward 9 years, and I enjoy making things for other people.

SSD: I love it! What is the oddest thing you’ve ever had to knit either for yourself or for someone else and how long did it take you to make?

NB: The oddest thing, I would say, was making a stuffed animal hanging net – it caught me completely off guard because I hadn’t seen one of those since I was a child but it actually came out really beautiful and only took me a few hours to make.

SSD: What’s a tip that you’d give someone who sees you, is inspired, and wants to follow in your footsteps?

NB: Go for it! If you are interested in becoming a Financial Planner, reach out to someone in the field. And if you’re Black, don’t be afraid to contact some of the Black planners for conversations to learn about what the industry is all about and their journeys [specifically]. Most of us are pretty friendly

If you want to get started as a maker, YouTube is your friend! I learned so many things from YouTube that I was able to elevate my skills and learn new stitches and patterns. If you need more hands-on instruction, look for a local knitting circle in your area or a local craft shop to see if they have classes.

The Knits by Naima merch table is open for business!

SSD: Are there any YouTube resources that you’d specifically recommend to people in the realms of Financial Planning, Knitting/Making, or Business Ownership? Tell us a few and why you suggest them.

NB: For Financial Planning, I would recommend more books vs. YouTube – I Will Teach You to Be Rich, The Simple Path to Wealth, and You Need A Budget are all good for people to get started, but speaking with a comprehensive planner is the best way to get started.

For Knitting/Making – TL Yarn Crafts and New Stitch a Day are my go-to’s because they help to show simple techniques to get started and patterns for beginners

For Business Ownership I would recommend the book Profit First because you can figure out the back office side (working on the business).

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