Janice Faison’s secret to success lies in her ability to use her talent and intelligence to optimize opportunities. After landing the opportunity to work as an assistant to hip hop group OutKast, she was promoted to an assistant manager to Big Boi and eventually became partners in their Celebrity Trailers venture.
BLACK ENTERPRISE spoke to Faison about being a Black woman entrepreneur in a male-dominated industry, how she started her company, and how the coronavirus pandemic has affected her business.
BE: You co-own a company with Big Boi from OutKast. What is the company and what led you to the decision to start it?
Faison: The company is called Celebrity Trailers.
While working as an assistant to Outkast and then as an assistant manager to Big Boi, I saw the outdated and uncomfortable trailers booked for them and their peers. I wanted to change that. When I ventured into real estate, I purchased my own RV with the intention of having a mobile real estate office. However, when Ludacris’ manager, Chaka Zulu, requested the RV for a tour, my eyes opened to how lucrative renting RVs could be. Shortly after, I got insight into booking trailers for productions and I pitched my trailer for The Monique Show on BET. Then, BET requested seven trailers for The Game and that’s when I knew I needed more capital, so I partnered with Big. Eleven years later, the company has been able to provide trailers for music, film, corporate, festival, sports, and award show productions as well as host the world’s biggest stars. It’s been a blessing.
Being involved in the entertainment industry for so many years, how has being a Black woman allowed you to navigate through whatever difficulties you’ve encountered in a game dominated by men and what motivated you to succeed?
Being a Black businesswoman comes with its challenges but it’s a title that I’ll hold any day.
I consider myself a natural-born hustler. That energy has helped me overcome obstacles as a Black woman making moves within a male-dominated industry—and truthfully, the world.
While navigating my profession, I’ve seen and been through a lot. I can share many stories about being treated unfairly because of my race and my gender. The entertainment business is tough but I believe being a Black woman in it, is influential. Everything that I’ve done up to this point has been backed by my desire to uplift and inspire the Black community. Whether it’s giving back to hospice patients, hiring Black employees, supporting independent Black productions, or brainstorming ways I could help the homeless—I believe we should have the ability to experience a quality life.
The Black community is powerful. Whichever ways I can use my resources to uplift us, that’s always been, and will continue to be, my motivation.
With the coronavirus pandemic hitting us as hard as it did, how has that affected business and how do you anticipate moving forward?
Although the traditional bookings for music and film productions stopped, it’s a blessing from God that we were able to secure a sports contract in wrestling. I’m very appreciative of the company that reached out and helped to keep the business active during this challenging time.
Over the recent years, I’ve been open to serving clients that don’t align with traditional bookings, and I’m glad that work is paying off. Now more than ever, I’m getting creative and exploring the unique ways the company can continue to thrive. I’ve had a lot of ideas in my back pocket, and the pandemic has shown that it’s time to make the happen.
What advice would you give to anyone striving to become a successful entrepreneur and what particular trait would you recommend they use to their advantage?
Believe in yourself and go for it. There will be many days when you doubt your capabilities, but don’t give up.
Most importantly, be ready to knock down walls and create your own opportunities. Ever since I was little, I wanted to be in the music industry, so I put myself in positions to attract possibilities but also, create them on my own. Being the owner of Celebrity Trailers and a real estate investor, I get told “no” or “not right now” all of the time. But, I can’t let that stop me.
Your ideas excite you for a reason. Keep grinding until you see your vision in front of you. It will not be easy, but it’ll be worth it.
What’s in the future for Janice Faison? What should we anticipate business-wise from you?
I want to teach young entrepreneurs how to use their business mindset to launch their own RV companies and creatively invest in real estate. I’m also building a Black-owned multi-use vacation resort. I’m very excited about it!
I’m remaining open-minded to whatever opportunities come my way. This year has put life into perspective and there are a variety of things that I could still do, despite being in the game for 20-plus years. The possibilities are endless.