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Community Highlights: Meet Kevin Van Belois of The Fabulous Group

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kevin Van Belois.

Hi Kevin, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
From three years old and onward, I knew that I wanted to work in film. I loved movies – obsessed about them and memorized everything I could about them. I grew up in North Carolina, and I wanted to move to Los Angeles. But I thought that I might need a middle step first – it was either New York or Boston. I visited both for college, and I decided that Boston was a better fit for me. So I went to film school at Boston University. Those four years flew by, and I soaked up all of the knowledge that I could gather. And finally, I was ready to move to LA. I packed up and drove out here. Those first two years were confusing, and it took me a bit to find my footing. Eventually, I ended up at an advertising agency in Santa Monica – here I could use all of my film knowledge, I could write, I could edit and much more (we wore a lot of hats). From there, I eventually took a leap and ended up at a huge marketing agency in Hollywood. Here, I would really prosper – the opportunities were seemingly endless. I started as a producer, then worked my way up and eventually, I was running the Content team at the biggest agency in town. We got the opportunity to work on some of the coolest films of the last 15 years. I loved every minute of my creative life here, with a team that I adored and respected.

Eventually, though, the grind of time began to wear down on me. My job transitioned into something less interesting – my days became about growth, margins and more, more, more. I loved my team and I really loved our clients and projects, but the job itself was more challenging and less interesting at the same time. It was time for a change, and at the end of January 2020 – I left my job to go recharge myself and find a new place for myself in the world. A health crisis took me down for a couple of months, and by the time I was better – the world had closed because of Covid. A lot of my friends and former co-workers lost their jobs as the industry contracted. It was heartbreaking to watch. I decided that I would start my own agency – one specifically that focused on content & marketing. But I wanted this one to be different. I didn’t want to lose sight of creative vision, and I never wanted to forget my co-workers. The goal was to create an agency that focused not on relentless growth at the expense of the staff and the creative but an agency that put employees and creative first. I wasn’t blind to the realities of the world – we couldn’t set up an agency that lost money. But, we could set up an agency where our mission first and foremost was to take care of the employees and not the shareholders. So I started The Fabulous Group (yes, I came up with the name) – at first, it was just myself unpaid. Then I found some projects from new clients and clients who had been with me over the years. I began to freelance the people I used to work with who had lost their jobs – smart, talented, amazing, kind, brilliant people whom I knew would deliver creatively.

Our first few projects went well – it mostly felt really good to work with people I cared about. There was a lot to figure out – I had a run a large group before, but I had never run a company. Thankfully, we didn’t need a huge infrastructure at first because our industry was almost entirely remote – MPAA made allowances on content security in a remote workflow and that helped us enormously. With time, the work started to steady and I made the leap of hiring our first employee. And then we hired the second employee. And as our reputation continued to grow, our business proved itself to be completely viable. Very naturally, we began to hire more people. There were no constraints on us imposed by shareholders, and we could recruit talent from underrepresented groups. Our leadership team did not look like your typical agency – and we are so proud of that. The Fabulous Group in two years became the dream team – amazingly talented creatives united in a company that was here to put them first and foremost.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Starting the Fabulous Group has been a dream of mine, but there certainly have been struggles. One of the biggest challenges was figuring out how to start a business in the middle of a pandemic. Filing paperwork to start a company with the Secretary of State of California and applying for a business license when nothing could be done in person was a fun hurdle.

When physical production did kick back in through the town, it seemed like everything came back to life at the same time. All of a sudden it became incredibly difficult to book stages – there was fierce competition for the stages. That was rough because in our business, we don’t always have a huge heads up on when we need to book stages for a shoot. Those were a tough few months of searching, finding, holding, bidding for stages.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
The Fabulous Group specializes in world-class creative, production services, and content creation.

The Fabulous Group’s team represents some of the most talented individuals from the entertainment marketing and content world. We believe talent is rooted in diversity and are committed to bringing you a team that represents the world we live in. Our core values are the basis of our people goals, and we actively promote diversity in hiring, development, and leadership. We think this gives us our competitive advantage – we aren’t your same old agency.

OUR MISSION STATEMENT

We provide our team a superb creative environment, driven by our guiding principles of diversity, equity and inclusion.

We practice empathy, tolerance and humility.

We aspire to be a nurturing, engaging and purposeful workplace for anyone.

We think that’s where Fabulous lives.

What do you like best about our city? What do you like least?
Likes Creative Individuals – Los Angeles is home to so many amazing creatives. I’m amazed every day to be able to experience the wealth of creative genius that flows here.

Problem solvers – California ingenuity surrounds us. We set trends with technology and movies and culture here that set a precedent for everyone else, that inspire the world.

Dislikes
Traffic here is pretty horrendous. Ha. It drives me crazy.

Air Quality
The air quality here is pretty awful. My allergies are constantly on fire 365 days a year.

Did I mention traffic? 🙂

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