We had the good fortune of connecting with Priscilla Powell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Priscilla, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I always felt out of place in corporate America. I’ve held a full time job since I was 17 years old, starting off in trust banking and eventually ending up working for the government. Throughout my career I garnered a bit of success, promotions, pay increases and awards, however I realized that the environment was breaking me. I was dimming my light, wasn’t allowed to be my authentic self, and grew tired of being used to train the well compensated new hires on positions which management deemed me unworthy. The politics, corporate bullying, and the uneven playing field that comes with being a black woman in corporate America made me throw myself fully towards funding my own lifestyle. At about age 20, I made a decision that I couldn’t let any person determine if I was going to eat. This pushed me towards having a side hustle, which helped line my pockets – because even when I reached a level where I was paid well, I wasn’t paid fairly or my worth. I sold everything from lipstick, to cookies, to clothing, to girdles and noni juice, but I never saw a life in those endeavors. Ironically, I discovered the business of travel at the same time I began my government career, and built them both simultaneously. It’s funny I found my voice and strengthened my self esteem thru travel, and the business and industry of travel truly makes my soul sing. In 2016 God spoke to me, and told me it was time to leave my good government job. I disobeyed, I reasoned and rationalized on how I could make them both work. The next three years everything around my work life became toxic, stressful and unbearable, similar to when Jonah was in the belly of that whale. God used people around me, who were once coridal allies, to force me into do what he told me on a spring day a few years prior. Since then I’ve riding the highs and lows of entrepreneurship.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?
Prissi Travels is a full-service travel company specializing in Destination Weddings & Groups. My on the ground experiences sets me apart from my competition, I’ve slept in the beds, conversed with the chefs and tasted their food, and stuck my toes in the sand of the destinations you are considering to host your weddings and groups. I am the Caribbean Travel Queen. I sell what I personally experience, I’m not relying on pretty photoshopped pictures some company sent me. I’m in these travel streets soaking up experiences, gaining contacts, and useful information that my clients use to make informed decisions. It took awhile for me to niche down in my business. Initially I was trying to be everything to everybody looking to travel, which is the quickest way to not connect with anyone. I didn’t want to focus on weddings because I was single, but my mentor helped me realize my superpower was my knowledge, my ability to connect with people and guide them thru the travel planning process. Group travel events are a bit different that a normal vacation, and many couples have needs they haven’t yet identified. My advice for entrepreneurs, is to stay ready so you don’t have to get ready. Train, train, then train again, a part of being ready is knowing what you are doing. Focus on yourself and your business (keep your eyes on your own business), drill down and know your numbers (what it costs to run your biz, what it costs to be profitable, etc.) and identify who you want to serve. Lastly treat your business like a large corporation and always operate from a place of integrity.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 travel so much that whenever I’m in the city I prefer to be home. I rarely get to go out and about in my city, especially with all the shut downs we’ve experienced because of COVID-19. Usually when I’m hosting friends I’m throwing barbecues, game nights and catering brunches at my house, I like to entertain which may lead me into my next business venture. I am all about the food and wine, so bring your stretchy pants if you’re coming to visit. Summertime Chi is a complete mood, so skip the winter visits, unless you are coming strictly to eat during our restaurant weeks which are held in Jan/Feb. Chicago is known for pizza, so we would start our culinary tour at my favorite pizza spot Flo & Santos, we’d then explore grant park and head over to the roof top at the London House for cocktails. A visit to Chicago isn’t complete without a museum stop – so I’m dragging you to see the Frieda Kahlo exhibit at the Cleve Carney museum of art – this trip is about us and I’ve been anxious for this exhibit for over a year now. Day two we are heading over to the Magnificant mile for you to shop and get lost in luxury. We are then heading to Nico Osteria for meatballs and brussel sprout brushetta – I know it sounds weird but I can’t get enough of it. We will wash down our lite bites with a bit of wine, before heading to the west loop for more wine at City Winery, if we’re lucky they will have a great musical act in town. For dinner we will head outside of the city, to Edible Passports – the culinary team at this spot is amazing. We will finish our weekend with brunch at 80 proof, a walk on the riverwalk, and a boat ride along the scenic Lake Michigan. Then we headed home to take a nap because at this point I’m exhausted.Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I must dedicate my shout out to my parents. Although they were not perfect, they were perfect for me. My daddy taught me I was worthy of the best, and instilled values in me that to this day I can’t shake. I was royalty in his eyes, so I cannot allow ANYONE to talk to me crazy or carry me as less than the queen I am. The importance of treating myself definitely comes from my father. My mother lived a life of faith and stewardship, she taught me how to manage, how to set goals and create a simple plan to achieve them. My mama had pearls of wisdom I quote to this day, one of the biggest lessons was the importance of saving something for a rainy day. I owe all that I am to her. I am forever grateful to my parents. I feel like their outlooks on life combined perfectly within me. I miss them dearly but I am confident I will continue their legacies and make them proud.
Other: Blog: www.prissitravels.com/blog