Your Chief Experience Officer is the Re-Branding of Fat, Drunk, & Fancy! You may recall that 365CranfordWestfieldNJ featured Westfield, NJ couple Kim DiGiovanni and Nick Rago a while back. We told their story of the Fat, Drunk, & Fancy brand being based on the philosophy that our society needs to get back to sitting around a table and reconnecting. Local Couple Making The Kitchen Table Great Again The concept of Fat, Drunk, & Fancy and their self-published book all began in 2018.
For the last year and a half, local neighbors had been hitting the town with Kim & Nick – feasting at dinner club nights in New Jersey. People gathering and getting to know each other a little bit more! Once the pandemic hit in March, Kim and Nick brought people together over their EPIC Virtual Happy Hours. The two desperately wanted to support some of the local chefs and mixologists who suddenly found themselves out of work.
Kim DiGiovanni, out of this time of virtual gatherings, rebranded herself and formed Your Chief Experience Officer. What does it mean to be “Your Chief Experience Officer”, you may ask? Kim is “the maker of moments, the arbiter of fun, the Zoom-tastic Zen-master, the fabulous facilitator that takes your virtual event and makes it better than ever imagined. Your Chief Experience Officer “skillfully designs and orchestrates events that are filled with organic moments to spark energy, excitement, and action among your employees and clients.” She is helping and inspiring people to gather better, period. Let’s find out a little more about how you can bring Your CEO into your next event.
Where did Fat, Drunk, & Fancy leave off in early 2020? What was the last event that you hosted?
2020 started with me ready to get some clarity on the direction I wanted to take Fat, Drunk & Fancy. It was time to really get clear on where I was going, and what I was going to do to make FD&F a sustainable business and not just an expensive hobby.
The last in- person event I hosted was on Friday, January 31st for the January edition of the Fat, Drunk & Fancy Dinner Club. I chose the Frog & the Peach in New Brunswick was easy. Our friend, and one of the first chefs to support Fat, Drunk & Fancy, Joe Beninato is the Executive Chef! It was really fun to reunite with Joe and together, we created a beautiful experience for all of our guests!
What memory from that event will you hold on to forever?
Definitely the first dinner where I was able to engage the entire table in one whole conversation at different points throughout the evening. It was a pretty cool experience! I hold onto to the fact that there were not one, but TWO dishes that nobody at the table had ever eaten before. That was a Dinner Club first, and not a memory I’ll soon forget! In case anyone is curious, those dishes were Elk Carpaccio and Monkfish Liver Torchon.
As the pandemic really took hold of this area, what emotions were you feeling? How did it affect your personal life and your business?
Uncertainty, both personally and professionally. Professionally, my husband Nick and I weren’t ever panicked or overly concerned for ourselves. However, we are incredibly concerned (both then and now) about all of the people from the food and beverage industry that we’ve come to know and love.
Professionally, the decision I made to host a virtual happy hour four days before Governor Murphy put the stay- at- home orders in place turned out to be the best decision I’ve made for my business to date!
Being “foodies” and having a love for getting together around a table – how did you manage during this difficult time?
Many virtual dinners and drinks with friends, and LOTS of experimenting in the kitchen! Nick made a bunch of bitters for craft cocktails and became a champion ice cream maker! He also made some jellies and started making an everyday loaf of bread. In fact, we haven’t purchased bread in 4 months!
We also stayed in touch with the friends we’ve made in the restaurant industry. We want to support them in any way that we can. I started offering virtual experiences specifically focused on food and beverage. I did this so I could support local chefs and mixologists who suddenly found themselves out of work.
What made you take a step back to reflect on where this “Fat, Drunk, & Fancy” business was going?
What I wanted to build, create, and give people was bigger than what I felt Fat, Drunk & Fancy could offer. I realized that gathering around culinary offerings like food and wine was the how. This is the way in which I prefer to gather. But what I wanted to create was an experience. Moments that leave an impression on people; that make them feel something. Fat, Drunk & Fancy didn’t feel like it was aligned with that mission., and so the process to think of the next evolution began. Bringing “Your Chief Experience Officer” to life made sense!
What does it mean to be a “Your Chief Experience Officer”?
I am the maker of moments, the arbiter of fun, the Zoom-tastic Zen-master, the fabulous facilitator that takes your virtual event and makes it better than ever imagined. Let’s face it, a virtual event without connection, interactivity, and purpose is just another webinar. And everyone has had just enough of those!
Your Chief Experience Officer skillfully designs and orchestrates events that are filled with organic moments to spark energy, excitement, and action among your employees and clients.
**Here’s a fabulous article featuring Kim and her rebranding experience by MikiFoto + Co: A Case Study in Branding : Kim DiGiovanni of The Chief Experience Officer
What can your followers expect with the new website and new approach?
First things first, Fat, Drunk & Fancy isn’t really going anywhere (literally – the logo is trademarked!). It still holds a very special place in both our hearts. We started that together, but for now, it’s moving into a lifestyle brand for the time being. We may resurrect it as something else in the future, but for now we’re a lifestyle brand presence on social media. You can still find us on Instagram and Facebook under the FD&F name that everyone knows and loves.
Your Chief Experience Officer was created out of a need to figure out how to connect and create engagement, virtually. I focus on bringing my client’s vision for gathering to life. With me using the right tools (an event framework, digital platform, etc.), you can expect interactivity and real-time connection among your guests.
What are you looking forward to in the future with in-person and virtual events?
Helping and inspiring people to gather better…period. Whether #IRL (In Real Life) or virtually. When we gather in person, we focus too much on logistics… what’s the seating arrangement, what place settings should we use, what’s the guest list, etc. When we gather virtually, we seem to have thrown logistics out the window altogether. Additionally, mute functions and chat functions were designed for a reason, which is to enhance the virtual experience. Use them!
The first question we should ask, no matter how we’re gathering, no matter if it’s for personal or professional reasons – is “Why?” “Why are we gathering?”. As Your CEO, (Your Chief Experience Officer) I will help you answer those questions and then create a gathering around that thoughtful purpose.
How can someone reach out to you to create an intimate event for close family or friends?
Email works just fine to start the conversation! email@example.com
How are you at “Your Chief Experience Officer” ensuring that the experiences are safe during this social-distancing era?
At this point, I’m 100% focused on virtual gatherings. I can offer a consult on how you might think about socially distanced gatherings. I believe that if we can do a virtual gathering the right way, we help people feel less of a need to gather in person. It’s not a long-term solution by any means – as humans, we simply need to be with people, in person. For now, I think if we really, really dive in on virtual, it can help us feel some of that connection and joy that we’re all missing.
What are your hopes for the future?
That we can gather together again in real life sooner rather than later in a way that is safe, comfortable and meaningful for all. Professionally, I believe there will always be a need for a virtual facilitator. I’m committed to building a turn-key virtual solution for those that want to create meaningful experiences rooted in connection and purpose.
Best way to keep in touch with you and your ongoing events?
Side note: Kim is always looking for chef’s, mixologists, and wine enthusiasts to add to her contact list for her virtual experiences. Bonus if you focus on Fusion, Asian, Thai, etc.! Double-bonus if you’ve already instructed on some virtual events, (and also looking for general virtual entertainment people). Send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org