By Jules Lavallee
Los Angeles, California (The Hollywood Times) 08/15/2020 – As the pandemic continues to hit the nightlife and hospitality industry hard in Los Angeles, Celeste Durve and Kelsi Kitchener of Viper by KCH are not stopping. The Co-Founders of the top LA Hospitality agency, VIPER, which boasts a 50+ all women led and operated staff have pivoted their business strategy with success.
VIPER is well-known for running the VIP relations and guest lists at all the premier clubs and celebrity events. What has the pandemic taught you about the future of business?
Yes, we are! The pandemic has taught us that people crave social connection. While it’s important that we all take a break from being physically close, it’s been pressing to find ways to stay emotionally connected. While we don’t know when we do believe we will see a return of events in the future as there is a human need for social gatherings that goes back to the caveman days. In the meantime, the pandemic has also taught us that we need to work with brands differently and stay flexible. The future of VIPER might look a little different than its past versions and we’re so excited about that! It’s always been important to us to not sell out for money, so we’re keeping that in mind as we pivot. Overall, we think the future holds a lot of innovation, we’re excited to see new ways of connection and new ideas for digital experiences.
How has your business pivoted and evolved during the crisis?
We’ve been getting to spend more time building the internal foundation and structural essence of the company, which we didn’t have a ton of time for before the pandemic. We’ve also been getting creative and working with clients in different capacities, coming up with unique avenues to engage guests on behalf of brands through things like digital campaigns or drive-in event concepts.
Additionally, we have been building up our company’s purpose and focusing heavily on nightlife safety. As the first team in the industry to apply pressure on nightclub owners to re-evaluate who is coming into their clubs, we hope to create a safer space for women with more rules in place to lessen drug-facilitated assault.
Share your strengths as the top LA Hospitality agency, with 50+ all women-led and operated staff.
VIPER was the first-ever all-female guest experience company, and you’d be hard pressed to find a team as good as ours. The VIPER Girls are smart, efficient, solution-based, and always friendly. They operate as liaisons between a brand/ artist and their guests/fans so they are a key ingredient to a well-done event or experience. With an A-list clientele, the team can be found running the doors of all hottest parties, getting VIP’s in quickly and keeping party crashers out.
Who inspires you?
We were both raised by single moms and we’ve always been inspired by how they handled challenges on their own without relying on outside help. Additionally, our team inspires us every day. The VIPER Girls are so smart and solution-based, witnessing them work motivates us to keep scaling the company to give them a larger platform to support their efforts.
How are you working with Clients on Comeback Strategic Planning?
We’ve been working our venue clients on unique concepts to host guests in more intimate settings that are socially distanced. And for our brand clients, we’ve been creating concepts for digital experiences. We’ve been focused on getting impressions for brands that still want to interact with their client base even during this time, so we’ve been trying to get creative and think outside the box.
How are you using this Time to Build Company Culture?
We’ve been spending a lot of time on Zoom brainstorm sessions with our executive team discussing how to strengthen company culture. We’ve been implementing unique ways to stay connected like sharing playlists, home workouts, or quarantine activities. As well as using the downtime to plan outings and ways to volunteer as a team post-COVID.
What’s next for VIPER?
Right now we’re focused on digital experiences for our clients and our #LASTCALL safety initiative to make the nightlife industry a safer space for women post- COVID. We are also rolling out a very exciting new division in the next coming months that we can’t say too much about now but stay tuned!
VIPER Company Background
Launched in 2016 by Founders’ Celeste Durve and Kelsi Kitchener. VIPER is an Los Angeles-based hospitality agency that manages guest experience and VIP relations for top global brands and A-list celebrities from the NFL, Google, Hulu, Amazon, BET, Apple, Beyonce, and Kanye West. The company is now home to a team of 50+ women who provide guest services for events and experiential activations at the intersection of pop culture + nightlife + entertainment. The company’s mission is to re-define the male-dominated hospitality industry by shaping its own company culture as an all-female team supporting equal pay for women and protecting women in nightlife against sexual assault through VIPER’s initiative #LastCall.