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Meet VIPER Founders Kelsi Kitchener and Celeste Durve: The Duo Breaking All the Rules of the Hospitality Industry

Meet VIPER Founders Kelsi Kitchener and Celeste Durve, the Duo Breaking All the Rules of the Hospitality Industry
Danielle Hans

Boss babes! What do Drake vs. Kanye West and SoFi Stadium all have in common? Event expertise at the hands of VIPER founders Kelsi Kitchener and Celeste Durve.

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When it comes to large-scale events, every aspect of operation and production must be executed perfectly to ensure maximum success for A-list celebrities and brands. Needless to say, no other company runs VIP Event Relations quite like the dynamic duo that coined that very term, Kitchener and Durve.

“Don’t let anyone try to tell you who you are or try to box you in,” the duo exclusively told Us Weekly, reflecting on their humble beginnings when they launched VIPER with only $500 each. “Most people never understood what VIPER was or how it would make money.”

Meet VIPER Founders Kelsi Kitchener and Celeste Durve, the Duo Breaking All the Rules of the Hospitality Industry
Danielle Hans

The women founded VIPER in 2014 and have been taking over the hospitality industry ever since. After working in the VIP guest relations industry and running doors, Kitchener and Durve came to realize which areas needed improvement.

The duo completely flipped the industry on its head after noticing that nightlife, specifically, lacked female representation and modern structure. They also learned that the nightlife space was existing in ways that didn’t align with digital developments.

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Kitchener and Durve made it their mission to spark a change and ignited a fire that still burns bright today in the industry. While their entrepreneurial journey wasn’t ever easy, it was always worth it.

“Most people said we would fail within six months,” the women told Us. “But we stayed in our lane and stayed true to ourselves.”

Since its inception, the company has won huge accounts and spearheaded innovative and forward-thinking guest experiences for the likes of Nylon, Nars, Google, Amazon, Hulu, Fendi and celebrities, including Kim Kardashian and Tyga.

The VIPER founders quickly became the go-to girls for teams looking to plan events that would go off without a hitch for their most treasured guests. “If you have an idea you believe in, pursue [it],” the ladies explained. “Nightlife is a tough industry. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.”

Today, VIPER stands tall as a Forbes 30 Under 30 honored company, employing more than 65 women — a.k.a. The VIPER Girls — who steadfastly believe in the vision of the women who started it all.

Kitchener and Durve continue to forge a path for ambitious women, changing the game in the luxury events and nightlife scene. The VIPER brand has continued to expand in 2022, with new activations, the start of season 2 of the “Smart Is Sexy” podcast, and a series of service expansions and offerings, including VIPER Girls.

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“We’re so excited to launch our media and casting division, VIPER Girls, which allows our clients to hire our talent for digital and content needs,” the pair told Us, noting they previously cast people for events and video productions, including Kardashian’s remake of Elle Woods’ law school application. “We’re also expanding the Smart Is Sexy brand onto YouTube, debuting guests and launching merch.”

The entrepreneurs revealed they are motivated by Mindy Kaling and Amina Muaddi, who have shaped and revolutionized both the entertainment and fashion landscapes. As the women continue to grow, it’s become clear that their brand is well on its way to achieving similar success.

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