Victoria Tkacheva is a co-founder of Curated People. Prior to CP, Victoria spent over a decade in NYC’s hospitality industry, blending strategy and creativity to accomplish significant results. In 2013, Victoria joined the hospitality team behind Pergola as Director of Events, with her role advancing beyond events to influence overall company growth and culture. In 2019, she joined the prestigious team at Zuma NYC. There she offered her sales creativity while honing her skills in high-end event design and execution. Through Curated People, she continues to craft inventive ways to unite teams and clients in celebration through unforgettable virtual events.
Where did the idea for Curated People come from?
The need for elevated virtual experiences and kits when the world shifted to remote work in 2020. My cofounder and I have worked together for over a decade in the NY hospitality industry. We were a dynamic duo when it came to creating out-of-the-box in person events. When the pandemic happened, the restaurant she owned and the restaurant I was working for at the time were both forced to close due to the mandates. All of a sudden we were all connecting via Zoom, I’ve never even heard of Zoom before 2020. We began to see hospitality professionals like chefs and bartenders get creative with live cooking and mixology videos. Personally, I saw this as an opportunity. I love the hospitality industry but I always thought we were slow to evolve, specifically in the digital world.
We began to connect with corporate clients and quickly discovered that they were all looking for solutions to unite their now scattered teams and clients. They were also overwhelmed by the undertaking of how to navigate hosting online, shipping logistics and selecting a vendor they can trust to plan and manage the event. Yes, there were online companies starting to pop up but they were mainly marketplaces allowing any host to feature their event listings. We set out to source and vet hosts, curate original experiences and manage the full life cycle of the events. We knew we wanted to be a part of the early few that were shaping what the virtual event industry would look like, that we could provide a high touch, expert planned experience and that’s exactly what we did.
Fortunately, we cultivated an awesome network of incredible people throughout our time in the industry and we tapped into it. Luckily, they were happy to dive into the unknown with us and we began hosting clients nationwide. We even approached vendors whose products we loved but that have never hosted events or thought of doing so. It was important to us to find experts in their fields while supporting talented and unique small businesses. We have been in business for 19 months and host everyone from small start-ups to well known global companies and ship internationally. Two years ago we were only hosting people in one physical location, now we are able to expand our reach, engage with amazing people from every country and bring our events global, it’s incredible.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Most entrepreneurs can confirm that no day looks the same but I try to be consistent with meditation in the mornings (gotta stay sane!), and some sort of physical activity like a long walk or pilates before I dive into the day. A typical work day consists of ideation, event planning, client and vendor meetings and zoom events. I also typically work for a few hours every Sunday to plan out the week and get a head start on things. This helps me be more efficient on Monday and not feel overwhelmed by the to-do list. It’s my Sunday Scaries hack.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I am a very visual person so I’ll take the vision pen to paper, mood-board it, run it by a circle of people I trust will provide honest feedback, explore the market’s need for the idea and then take the necessary action steps. One thing I have learned, don’t confuse feedback that an idea is “too big” with being a bad one.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The remote work revolution that is currently happening. Anyone that has worked with me, knows I question almost everything. I want to know the “Why” behind systems, policies and structures put into place. Many jobs could have always been done from a computer, from anywhere and not necessarily 9-5 or Monday-Friday. I am thrilled to see people taking inventory on what is important to them and how they want to work and live moving forward. Change is good. We are meant to evolve and technology is here to help us be more efficient so we can enjoy other aspects of life. And speaking of technology, I am very excited about the Metaverse and how Curated People is going to help shape how events look in Web3.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Not overthinking obstacles when they arise. And they arise, all the time. I jump into problem-solving mode and just get it done.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t rush the process. Don’t compare your path to others. There is always a higher purpose and everything comes to you at a time when you are ready
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Paper straws don’t belong in a drink. Don’t come for me!
But on a more serious note, there is still a surprisingly large amount of people who still believe virtual will fade into the distance as time goes on and don’t see the value of implementing it into their business. I assure you it is here to stay.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Check in with yourself on your “Why”. A lot of times in business you get so caught up in the day to day you forget what the mission is. It never fails to get me back to a clear mind, allows me to refocus on core goals and it re-energizes me on the big picture of it all.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Seeking out mentors and communities of like-minded individuals. Since we started CP, we have joined powerhouse communities with inspiring founders. Our clients are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to helping spread brand awareness, and we know we can count on them for honest feedback so we can always continue to improve. We have also had an exceptional advisor with us for the past year who has been instrumental in our growth. My point is, seek out those who understand what you are building, support the vision and those who have walked similar paths so you can learn and apply as needed.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
If you’re never failing, you’re doing something wrong. All of my failures to date have made me more business savvy. I have always learned way more from a loss than a win. Failing never feels good but once you start to look at it in this way it’s a game changer. If you are embarking on a journey of entrepreneurship, it is going to be the most difficult and rewarding ride you have ever been on. Buckle up and stay the path.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
It’s not a new idea but I’d love to see a continued rise in female founded VC firms. There is so much space for women across all industries but in many of them we need to build our own tables, together.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Pilates. I’ve been inconsistent with a workout regime the last few years and it is true when they say it affects everything. Mind, body, spirit. I am a much better person when I am taking care of my body.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Asana has been one of my favorites since we started CP. It helps keep us on track with all event projects and it’s easy to collaborate with. I’ve also started using Calendly. It’s so much easier to provide your availability this way and have people schedule themselves into your calendar than the constant back and forth to find a mutual time. I have always found that a nuisance.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recently read “The hard things about hard things” by Ben Horowitz. It really gets into the uncomfortable truths about entrepreneurship. As much as daily motivational quotes are helpful, it’s just as inspiring and valuable to read about the struggles of building a business. It’s a refreshing, no-nonsense read.
What is your favorite quote?
I have so many, but there is a quote I recently saw from a fellow member of MYBFF (Blockchain community created by powerhouse women) that hit home for me “The best way to predict the future is to build it”- Emi Yoshikawa.
-Virtual and remote work is here to stay.
-Seek out mentors and communities of like-minded individuals
-Check in with yourself on your “Why”
-“The best way to predict the future is to build it”
-You learn more from a loss than a win.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.