We had the good fortune of connecting with Tommy “Chommy Tee” Chanthavong and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tommy “Chommy Tee”, what habits do you feel play an important role in your life?
For me, what helped me succeed to become a better influencer is to watch, listen and learn. The reason why is because you are portraying to your audience that they should trust your knowledge with the recommendation(s) you are providing them and not giving them false information or just posting on your feed because the business wants you to. These are the 3 words that helped me succeed on where I am with my success currently.
Watch – I’m super observant when I’m with other bloggers and how they create content. Being unique and having your own flare to your brand separates you from everyone else. Always ask yourself, how can I create an ideal image with what I have? How creative can I get with the product that is currently present?
Listen – To be a good leader in life, you have to be a good follower. To be a good follower, you must listen to all the advice and take the constructive criticism people give you. It shapes you into who you are now and later. Many times, I was too sensitive to what people told me, but I reminded myself all the time that it’s to help me improve as a blogger.
Learn – With the two words above, the learning part would be the hardest of the 3 words. Applying what you see is harder than you think. There were many times where I’ve unsuccessfully executed a photo and I kept redoing it until it clicks. I learned from mistakes I’ve made in the past and I’ve made improvements. I can know hone my skills and love learning from new and old bloggers with creating content!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I started my page back in 2017/2018 and it was during New Years Eve. I wrote down 3 New Year Resolutions I wanted to accomplish by the end of 2018 and 1 of my resolutions was to be a food blogger. With that, that’s how tastewithtee was created. In the beginning, when I first created the account, I didn’t know what direction I wanted to take my brand and I had felt the burn-out with the first half of 2018 (juggling school and other personal issues as well). I was lost, but then had to reevaluate where I wanted to go with this food account. Long-story short, I formed Chowdown H-Town (@chowdownhtown1) in the last half of 2018 and the rest was history. I wanted to support small businesses in Houston and utilize my page as a platform to get exposure for them as well. Throughout the course of creating a foodie group page, I’ve also obtained Community Leader status on Bestfoodhouston (@bestfoodhouston) and verified contributors on Bestfoodaustin (@bestfoodaustin) and Bestfooddallas (@bestfooddallas). With those credentials listed, I also earned Yelp Elite status in 2020. As you can see, the time I’ve put into my food account it has paid off. I’ve also learned some very important lessons through it too.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned through the course of my career as an influencer is: always believe in yourself.
This is one of the lessons I hold dearly to me since the beginning of my food account. I’ve always had doubt and questioned my skills as a food blogger and taking photos. I always wanted to have the best quality photos to provide and show my audience my talents and skills. I practiced taking photos, creating content, editing and just learning from those who I’ve crossed paths with. They helped me tremendously with constructive criticism and guided me to having the perfect “money” shot(s).
What I want the world to know about me, is that I let my actions speak louder than my words. My photos do all the talking for me as an influencer in Houston. I’m currently expanding my brand and audience to Austin, Dallas and Thailand and wanting to make my way towards becoming an influencer in those cities too! I am challenging myself to achieve higher goals way beyond the Houston food scene. Short term goal is to work in both Houston and Austin’s food scene. My long term goal is to work as an influencer in Texas and Thailand! I hope everyone who comes across this article can follow me on my journey to success!
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.
So I ALWAYS recommend my best friend the best places because she loves looking cute and have aesthetic photos.
Places to eat:
Cute brunch places – Egghaus, Postino’s, Bar Boheme
Thai food – Zaab Der, Iyara, Thai Gourmet, Street to Kitchen
Coffee shops to visit – Summer Moon (any location), Buzz N Bites, & Luce Ave Coffee Roasters
Farmer’s Market – I love coming to these on the weekend because you get to me so many local business owners too!
Chinatown – I ALWAYS recommend everyone to check out this section of town because there’s just so many good eats with Asian food and a variety that can satisfy your cravings.
There’s tons of things to do in this beautiful city and depends on what my friends who visits want to do, I give them more defined details on what area they’re going to be in and spots to check out.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First and foremost, my close friends and family! I appreciate you guys being there every step of the way for me during this journey and I am glad you all are able to see the growth and acheivements I’ve made! Thank you for going with me to collaborations and seeing how much work I put into my social media platforms. Without you guys being my foundation for why I want to be an influencer wouldn’t be solidified.
Lastly, Chowdown H-Town (@chowdownhtown1), this is my baby and my project and I am blessed with those who come and gone with this foodie family group. You guys are my biggest supporters and amazing inside and out. Getting to know each of you individually and personally makes me super happy our paths cross. Seeing you all succeed in your own way makes me more happier than you know it~