2020 Local “Creative” of the Year
By Claire Aiello
Vice President, Marketing and Communications
We continue our profiles throughout the year of winners from the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber’s 2020 Small Business Awards, held virtually in October. Party Life, LLC won Local “Creative” of the Year.
Husband and wife team Turkesa and Agyei Lanier established Party Life in 2015. The company offers unique transportation options, focusing on a fun and safe experience for the customer.
“We specialize in reliable, luxury transportation at an affordable price, while providing the city peace of mind that citizens aren’t on the road drinking and driving,” said Turkesa Lanier. “The Party Life Buses cater to corporate events, weddings, birthdays, Quinceañeras, proms, bachelor & bachelorette parties, as well as other events. We’re more than transportation, we’re an experience.”
The COVID-19 pandemic was very tough for the business, though. Just a few months before it started, the couple had bought a new vehicle for their fleet. “We were ready to hit the ground running in 2020. We prepared a new marketing strategy and new, innovative ways to increase revenue. However, the pandemic put us completely on pause.”
The Laniers sold the vehicle due to the uncertainty of where the year would head, and also lost reservations and revenue during what would have been prom season, March through May.
“We remained idle for two months, however, we realized the importance of remaining visible during this time frame,” said Turkesa. “The goal was to remain in the public eyesight regardless of whether the business was operating or not in order to remain relevant. Therefore, we didn’t stop marketing even though we were closed, we just minimized our campaigns to small social media ads and posts.”
The marketing wasn’t always for people to utilize the bus, she explained, but sometimes to simply provide encouragement.
“This alone kept us relevant and also showed our compassion for what the entire world was going through. By continuing this strategic marketing, business is now picking back up because we remained visible and relevant during the most critical times of the pandemic,” she said.
Party Life is still in business five years after forming, and Lanier says she considers that the company’s greatest achievement besides winning the Small Business Award.
“Winning this award made me proud,” said Lanier. “It made me realize that all of the years of hard work put into this business in order to provide this service to the masses has not been in vain. I felt that our strides over these few short years are now being recognized and for that we’re forever grateful.”
“When we started this business we had no idea what the outcome would be or how it would take off,” she added. “We didn’t even know if people would understand what a party bus was here in Alabama. It was definitely a ‘take a chance and see’ situation that turned out to be amazing! So being around is the ultimate achievement!”
Lanier says she and her husband hope to grow the business over the next 10 years. When asked about what advice she has for other small business owners, she encourages them to be persistent.
“My advice is don’t give up — because just when you do, you might’ve been right at your breakthrough. Also, continue to educate yourself on your industry, as all industries are ever-changing,” said Lanier. “Last, don’t be afraid of growth! Which is something I need to work on. But growth ultimately means transitioning to bigger and better.”
This article appears in the April 2021 issue of Initiatives magazine, a publication of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber.