We had the good fortune of connecting with Janice Carter and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Janice, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I have always had a keen sense and passion for creativity, unique design and decorating; however, as a divorced mother of two sons I made the decision to further my career with the Federal sector for financial reasons. That decision turned out to be very lucrative financially and professionally. I was able to advance in several management positions with increased responsibility, oversight and governance during my tenure with the Federal sector. I was afforded the opportunity to receive phenomenal executive level leadership training; build effective work processes through reorganizing various organizations; create functional, motivated teams and establish an avenue for employees to offer suggestions to improve processes and express other suggestions or concerns. In retrospect, I realize that taking the job with the Federal sector laid the foundation of combining my passion and more importantly God’s purpose and will for my life. As a child, I always loved to write and wanted to be an English teacher. However, as I got older, I became less interested in teaching; but kept a dimly lit, burning desire to take everyday life issues and write poetic stories to capture what was happening in the world and people’s hearts with biblical references. Kouture Expressions Unlimited allows me to utilize my purpose and passions in life by creating personalized specialty items and events that my clients will remember for a lifetime; not, just during the event.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
As I mentioned earlier in the article, I realize that Kouture Expressions Unlimited (KEU) is a part of my gifting from God; along with my passion for writing, design and decorating. My experience in upper management in the Federal sector exposed me to strategic thinking and planning, organizing, working under deadlines and the importance of delivering in a timely manner, listening closely and letting the other individual talk, along with managing budgets. As an African American female, I worked in an environment that was predominately White males. Therefore, I had to deal with the trifecta of being young, female and African American. I had to gain their respect, while holding my own position on issues that I did not agree with them on. I was able to achieve both of those challenges; they saw me as a full pledged peer.
I think what sets KEU apart from most businesses in the Event industry is that we are in the business of making the event more than just decorations and beauty. We strive to design the event not only aesthetically; but, to have personal items that speaks to who the client is. When I conduct my meeting with the client, I take that opportunity to get to know them; not, just their vision. I have found that most clients do not always know exactly what they want. I am most proud of the fact that most of my clients and I have forged lifetime relationships and repeat business because of our interactions and the final reveal of their event before the guests arrive. That is the moment that I exhale and know that I did a great job. While I take a lot of pride in my design creations; ultimately, they are my judge and jury. Living currently in a pandemic environment, my meetings with them are virtual for safety reasons. I stress safety for them and their guests and have been encouraging virtual events utilizing Zoom; it has truly been a huge success.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Post pandemic, Day One, I would schedule a day of pampering at my favorite Day Spa, My Choice Spa and Wellness Lounge to prepare us for all of the walking and running around that we would be doing the week. Day Two, we would hit the various malls and stop at my favorites for unique pieces for the home and business, Marshalls, At Home, Home Goods, TJ Maxx, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, Ross, etc. Because my friend likes unique jewelry, I would introduce her to Oschuwa Conversation Pieces and RAYV. Day Three, I would plan a lazy day at home reminiscing on old times with a catered meal from Lady Di’s and an array of sweet delicacies from Cake Me Crazy. Day Four, I would take her around to catch up with family members, probably hosting a surprise get together. Day Five, I would take her to my office to see where the magic starts, ending it with dinner at a place of her choice. Day Six, I would plan another day at home with an order-in of her choice and a movie night of pre-selected movies and hot popcorn from my popcorn machine. Day Seven, I would take her to my place of worship, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. Sprinkled in throughout the week, I would take her to Reunion Tower, Bishop Arts Theatre Center, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Home of the Cowboys, AT&T Center, among other places. Because of her fondness for Home cooked Soul Food, I would take her to Sweet Georgia Brown, Trucker’s Cafe, The Biscuit Bar, Brunchaholics, Smokey John’s Bar-b-Que & Home Cooking and Ms. Mary’s Southern Kitchen.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I will start by thanking the Heavenly Father for entrusting in me a gift to touch the lives of others through poetry, designing and event planning. Secondly, I am blessed to have parents, John McKay and Norma Jean Carter for instilling love, morals and values as my conscience compass, strong work ethics, early introduction to God and His word and the support and encouragement to become whatever I chose to do in life and never let the world or others define who I was. My sons, Cedric and Jayson who have always been my inspiration for all the accomplishments in my life. My siblings, nieces and nephews (who are too numerous to name), friends Pat & Greg Thomas and Tina Alexander who have rallied around me throughout my life and step in to help at a moment’s notice when I am doing events. Also, the Desoto Chamber of Commerce, specifically Patricia Coleman and Maurice Owens who gave Kouture Expressions Unlimited (KEU) its first opportunity to be showcased during a large-scale event; along with C. Rena Thomas of Desoto High School who has used KEU consistently to design its Annual Hall of Honor inductees. I am so blessed to have so many people be a part of my journey that I could not possibly list the names here; however, anyone not listed knows my heart and appreciation to them.
Other: Google My Business – https://koutureexpressionsunlimited.business.site/