We had the good fortune of connecting with Janice Robinson-Celeste and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Janice, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My original partner and I started Successful Black Parenting magazine because we wanted to see more Black babies on the covers of parenting magazines. This was in the 90s. Today, parenting magazines have gotten better at putting diverse faces on the covers of their publications but they still can’t cover cultural norms as we do with every topic from Black hair care to health care.
Our motto is to help Black parents not only survive but to thrive.
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?
Successful Black Parenting started as a print publication. We had just enough money to fail. I financed my home and credit cards to make it happen. At the time, we had no idea of what we were doing, but we learned, and we did it. Learning about getting advertisers was the hardest part. I sold the advertising and learned that my passion sold it for them but I learned this part too late. Even though we had Fortune 500 advertisers, they came on board once we were struggling to stay afloat. We always had the community’s support but we faced questions from advertisers like, “Do Black people read?” Yeah, they still think that.
I learned that businesses can be dirty. We had a competitor lie to our advertisers, which also hurt us and I had a huge unscrupulous advertiser that offered me an indecent proposal, after that, I was done. I closed the publication down for 23 years. I regretted closing it for at least 20-years. In those 23 years that it was shut down, I learned a lot and gained a lot of talents from photography, social media, website creation, videography, to Photoshop and I decided in 2016 when Black Lives Matter was gaining momentum to create a presence for the magazine on social media. I said to myself, if the community supports it, then I’ll make it an online publication for now, and if we get enough support and investors that I’ll create a limited print publication with unique circulation as well. I got the support of the community, now I need investors.
What the world should know is that as long as I have the means, I will never let this publication go again. It’s my baby.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I reside in LA. I’ve only been here for a few years but Santa Monica Pier is great and the Malibu beaches are clean. I would literally have to ask people who have lived here longer about what to do and check out.
I am a novice hiker and would suggest checking out some of the trails in the Santa Monica mountains.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would shoutout to my original partner, Marta Sanchez. She is the one who recognized my talent and told me to do this. I told her then that I’ll do it, if you do it with me and she jumped in — all in. Even today, although she isn’t with the magazine anymore, she still advises from the sidelines. If it wasn’t for her igniting my passion for this publication, it would not exist. I love what I do and I found that love because she saw it in me.
Other: We also have an animation company, Ethnic Animations on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTFWNYcHljMKNTAd5WbVkpQ And we have a publishing company that published its first board books for babies including the Mom’s Choice Award winning book, “Miles’ Stuffy Nose” and “BIG Kid: For When You’re Feeling Small In A BIG, BIG World.” We also have a syndicated podcast available on all platforms called, “BackTalk” — https://anchor.fm/janice-celeste