Celeste Durve & Kelsi Kitchener: VIPER by The KCH Group
“It started as a small thing, but ended up expanding way bigger than we ever imagined.” — Celeste
What is VIPER?
VIPER is the leading full service front of house production and VIP hospitality company. We are an operations and logistics company that begins with sending out invites for client’s events and compiling their guest list. On site, we run all points of entrance. Our team of VIPER girls handles the entire check in process from guest entrance to talent pulls to VIP escorting. We also offer brand ambassadors and cocktail servers to meet all needs of an event or venue.
What was the idea behind creating the company? Did you have any prior experience that helped you get here?
A few years ago, I started working for Bolthouse Productions as an intern. I thought I wanted to do event production, but realized I actually hated it. I met Kelsi working at Bolthouse and we both somehow ended up being the go-to people to handle guest check in at events. However we would always be thrown into it super last minute. After one crazy event at the end of 2015, we decided we would start a small company to handle just that aspect of the event on our own. It was supposed to be a small thing, but ended up expanding way bigger than we ever imagined.
What clients have you worked with?
We are super fortunate to have an incredible clientele list, including but not limited to: Jimmy Kimmel Live, H.Wood Group, TAO Group, Treats! Magazine, Heineken, Team Epiphany, Redbull, Billboard, Weinstein, Parkwood Entertainment, and more.
How do you divide tasks between you and your co-founder?
Although we work closely with one another, each of us has our own strengths that we bring to the table. Kelsi is definitely the creative. She handles all of our aesthetics and branding. I handle more of the logistics and client development side.
What difficulties have you faced and continue to face along the journey with VIPER?
We have built the entire company self- funded. In order to do that, Kelsi and I both took up an extra job in the beginning. Although we do not have any debt, it can be difficult not having investors because we are doing everything on our own. Additionally, as two young women working in a male dominated industry, getting people to take us seriously can be a challenge as well. Furthermore, since we are working as team, we have to remind ourselves that we are all here for the same reason.
Lastly what advice would you give to others?
Our best advice would be to not sell out. For example, we have been approached with so many offers asking us to do things that are not in line with VIPER’s platform, and therefore have had to decline clients. It is important to stick to your brand and not do something for a quick paycheck.