We had the good fortune of connecting with Nakita Chanthavong and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nakita, as a parent, what have you done for you children that you feel has had the most significant impact?
I believe the most important thing I’ve done as a parent is something I’m still learning about and doing myself to this day. I never knew what I wanted to be as a kid. I was always told to go to college, get a good-paying job and that’s it, but I had a feeling that wasn’t for me. If my kids ever feel the same way, I want them to know that life isn’t always linear, but that doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong path.
There’s no guideline or handbook on how you’re supposed to reach success. But there is a rule I’m trying to make sure they always follow – to make sure you’re happy doing what you’re doing even if it comes in non-traditional ways or at unexpected times.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I always knew art was more than just the physical pieces of work that you showcase but it’s really about storytelling and the impact you’re making to those experiencing the art in its truest form. I’ve always dreamt about giving back to my community and expressing myself artistically but it was a struggle trying to figure out how to incorporate my two passions into one.
In my previous corporate role, a small fraction of my job description was event management, but I started becoming unfulfilled with how the Atlanta community was being acknowledged and began questioning how my audience was experiencing the events too. I started Kita + Velvet to celebrate the local talent and beautiful people we have in the most magical way. I view event styling as a representation of the people I’m celebrating, not just about making a room look pretty with vases and flowers. It hasn’t always been easy – a lot of emotions, sweat, tears, and a fear of the unknown success held me back at times, but remembering my purpose and that it wasn’t just for me but for my community helped me overcome a lot of the doubt.
The most important and fulfilling part about my work is that I’m always putting in efforts to incorporate other local creatives and partnering with these small businesses to make sure we’re putting together unique and personalized events. Everyone has a story and I’m so happy that local artists and Kita + Velvet can be a part of someone else’s.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Where would we even begin!? First off, I’d have to show my best friend what a community Atlanta is and drop off a few meals at a Free99Fridge and swing by Harold’s Chicken for some lunch. We’re exploring the city next and dropping by to see some local street vendors at Little Five Points or taking a chance at trying to catch the latest sneaker release at Wish and continuing our shopping spree at Walter’s. For dinner, we’re craving some oysters so why not stop by Ponce City Market to show her WH Stiles Fish Camp. We can grab some desserts on the go and walk the beltline to burn it off. On another evening, I’ll most likely take her to Johnny’s Hideaway for some dancing, Dark Horse Tavern to sing a bit, or even Our Bar for a REAL good time – just depends on our mood. But what better way to recover the next morning than indulging in some Waffle House?
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My family has always been my biggest support group! Not only have they been there to give me a helping hand, but they’ve challenged me and pushed my creativity just a little bit further. My parents and siblings have always been my inspiration, my boys are my motivation and my partner has been everything I needed in between and more. But I couldn’t go without showing respect and love to my high school English teacher, Mr. Appling who never gave a damn what I did after as long as I was happy – here’s to you, App.
Surita V. Photography