The ecosystem of events in the entertainment industry, especially behind the scenes, is clouded by smoke, mirrors, money, and status, making it a difficult one to navigate. Former Bolthouse Productions interns Kelsey Kitchener and Celeste Dave are the co-founders of VIPER (VIP Event Relations), a team of knowledgeable young women who see through the light and fog to deliver bespoke hospitality. I decided to bet on the vision to form. Agencies — Focused on brand engagement and guest experience, no need to apologize for age or appearance.
Relatively quickly, the duo became regulars in the Hollywood hospitality industry, appearing at SoFi Stadium’s Bootsy Bellows Lounge and Nylon’He has managed lavish events for HBO, Amazon, Hulu, Fendi, Nars, and has worked with Kanye “Ye” West, Drake, Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus, and more.
Derivatives of Duo smart is sexyis a YouTube channel and podcast of the same name, now in its second season, that follows the lives of Dave and Kitchener navigating entrepreneurship and dating while discussing topics ranging from personal development to business to spirituality. Introspection. Episodes or guest interviews.
“Celeste and I were always left at the front door for event check-in. We had the personality that you definitely do.” [pick] greet people So we got really good at figuring out what we needed on the doorstep,” Kitchener explains of his time as an intern in the Hollywood party planning business in late 2014. She and Dave found that the lack of a dedicated team and efficient tools impacted the check-in experience when guests arrived at major industry events, as well as the overall atmosphere of the evening. “We got together and thought: “This requires a better system that’s easy to create.” Bring a group of girls, our own friends, or people we know to streamline this whole process.
So two friends and female entrepreneurs followed their intuition that improvement was possible and launched VIPER in the spring of 2016, when Kitchener was 24 and Dave was 20.
“We were able to run a process that would normally be run by a PA or an intern, and we branded that front door the ‘VIPER Process,’” says Kitchener.
One approach to improving the check-in guest experience at the door was to modernize the now archaic style of erasing names with highlighters, paper, and clipboards. The two found that the introduction of technology such as iPads, new software and hotspots to run Wi-Fi made things easier and events more successful. I was.
“If you’re moving very quickly, especially if you’re running an event with over 2,000 people on the guest list, and if you’re adding names to the guest list frequently during the event, there’s a lot to do. You might come across it, you can’t sync it across the board Let’s take a look at the whole front door. [Asking] How can we make this better and more efficient for our clients who spend millions of dollars on their events?” says Kitchener, adding: So making sure we were creating a seamless experience right from the jump so our guests wouldn’t be frustrated to walk in and enjoy the experience was very important to us when VIPER started. . ”
In short, VIPER provides front-of-house logistics and operations for your event. They have an independent contractor staff of about 120 young women (along with a management team of 13) who have a particular aesthetic that is not a rare sight at industry parties or private sections of clubs (read Please: They’re fine – not only at staff events, but also as brand ambassadors and atmosphere models.
“I’ve noticed that people are more excited to talk to and inform these beautiful, smart girls than the man who owns the company. “It’s like the only thing a woman can get in this world. We’re more exciting to talk to. So we started playing with it.”
Earlier this year, VIPER handled 11 events over Super Bowl weekend (four events in one night was unusual, requiring a team of 130 staff members on deck). Two of them were for Revolve and h.wood’s “Homecoming Weekend” Super Bowl party, which welcomed A-list names like Drake, Adele, Kendall Jenner, Megan Thee Stallion and Justin Bieber (table sold from his $40,000 to his $100,000).
This fall, VIPER will maintain a presence at SoFi Stadium, one of the retainer clients that Durve and Kitchener consult for VIP guest experiences. The group manages the fieldside Bootsy Bellows lounge at each Rams home game and concert, manning everything from hosts to bottle service. And next, VIPER will be curating guest experiences for several designers attending his LA Fashion Week starting October 6th.
“[Consulting] It’s very unique because Kelsey and I are sitting in one of the most unique perspectives in the nightlife industry,” says Darb. If they do, they say they only work with their own brands. [different] With brands and celebrities on board across the board, it really broadens our view of the industry. It expands our network and expands our knowledge. We are not limited to just one sector. ”
The leap from what they thought was just a side business to a bona fide hospitality agency wasn’t always a straight line. Dave said: We were very young and I think it was actually very beneficial for us to be a little naive about what we needed at that youth. We were operating by actually doing things. It didn’t have to be perfect. We both decided to make that sacrifice in order to commit to the long term. ”
Durb says he was skeptical of their adventure at first (detractors predicted they would last three months).
“You can be a bottle server or you can go with a promoter,” she says. “But that was where it really ended for you.” At first, Dave and Kitchener, who often work 12- to 14-hour days, ended events at 2 a.m., sat in diners until midnight, and did business. was strategizing on how to improve When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they were forced to go back to the drawing board and decided to expand the services the team offered (cocktail servers, consulting, brand ambassadors, etc.).
“We had not received a salary for four years, but instead paid our team a very competitive salary because it is important to us that women also make enough money in this industry. That’s why,” says Dave. “Now they are happier at work because we did it…their energy on the ground is so great that clients actually get a better product. The company has a high employee retention rate, and many of the women who work for VIPER always wear the brand’s trademark ‘VIPER black’ outfit and have worked for Durve and Kitchener for about five years. I’m here.
The company is also relatively racially diverse and is still considered unique in the world of Los Angeles luxury lounges and clubs. ” says Kitchener. “We all knew how bad racism was in that Hollywood nightlife space. we actually reversed it [trend], which is really surprising and important. ”
The company does not have office space, but it does have a content studio for filming and various other projects. Recently, VIPER launched a business division that offers brand casting, video and photo shoots, and content creation leveraging the talents of its staff.
Interestingly, perhaps ironically, Dave and Kitchener are less interested in socializing in LA’s nightlife scene. “Being two young girls, I didn’t have the luxury of not only running a company, but being her party girl,” says Kitchener. Their fun night out idea is to have dinner and drinks at one of his favorite restaurants in the city. Pace, Marvin, Gjelina or Sunset Tower Bar.