Nikki Duong Koenig: Kim Leeson

Nikki Duong Koenig: Kim Leeson

Handbag designer Nikki Duong Koenig, featured for her eco-conscious fashion company, Cykochik, in the Lake Highlands Advocate magazine in 2017, is the new host of CreativeMornings, Dallas chapter, a volunteer nonprofit organization that hosts a free monthly breakfast lecture series for the creative community.

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So far Dallas participants have heard stories from social entrepreneur and interdisciplinary artist Jin-ya Huang, ceramic artist Marcello Andres Ortega, West Dallas and Oak Cliff barrio historian Victoria Ferrell-Ortiz, and rock climber Mario Stanley (featured in our sister publication, Plano Magazine). If you missed those, check them out here.

“Since taking over as host in January, my mission has been to celebrate and elevate the diverse stories of Dallas creatives through our speakers and partners,” says Nikki, who has told us in the past that she draws inspiration from “a social, collaborative community of artists, artisans and art patrons from around the world.”

A week from today, Friday, May 19, CreativeMornings will feature arguably Dallas’ most prolific photographer — who also shoots for the Advocate as a freelancer, who also was featured, for her remarkable house and history, in the Oak Cliff Advocate magazine — Kathy Tran.

Tran’s unique and $1.1 million two-story stucco Art Deco Kessler Park home includes the 29-year-old’s photo studio and space for her creative team to work and hang as well as rooms for a friend and a family member. She and husband Rockey even host yoga and art-gallery days.

She was able to overbid on the abode last year not because she was born rich or privileged — in fact, quite the contrary. She speaks openly of a traumatic childhood, community college and living off leftover food from photoshoots during her early career. She straight-up hustled her way into her current, awesome situation.

She told the Advocate she didn’t realize how hard she was working — three to four photoshoots a day every day for more than a decade — until she realized she could buy a million-plus dollar home. “I was like, ‘Jesus Christ, this is how much I’ve been working?’” she said.

Attendees at the next CreativeMornings event will be treated to her story — 8:30 a.m. at Common Desk on Elm Street.

CreativeMornings started in New York City in 2008 “out of a desire for an ongoing, accessible event” for creative people in the community. “The concept was simple: breakfast and a short talk one Friday morning a month,” according to founder Tina Roth Eisenberg.

Today, attendees gather in cities around the world and online to enjoy creative connections, inspiring community, and generous opportunities,” organizers say in a video. “Volunteer hosts and their team members organize local chapters that not only celebrate a city’s creative talent, but also promote an open space to connect with like-minded individuals.”

The growing archive of past breakfast talks includes design legends, hometown heroes, and everything in between. Speakers are selected by each chapter based on a global theme.

Learn more about the Dallas chapter and those involved with it here.

(Featured image by Diego PH for Unsplash.)