Graphic icon art of birds in white against a yellow background

Love Conquers All

It proves the mettle of a person to keep a new business going in the face of a cancer diagnosis and a global pandemic—all while maintaining a positive attitude.

But that’s just what Samantha Kin did with her business, To Be Loved Events, a boutique wedding planning, design, and coordination company based in the greater Los Angeles, California, area.

In August 2020, Kin—who graduated from Lundquist College in 2019 with a degree in business and a concentration in entrepreneurship with a minor in media studies—was diagnosed with stage 1 cancer.

Since her schedule of weddings had slowed somewhat on account of the pandemic, but hadn’t disappeared entirely, Kin kept working throughout her treatment, supported by her clients, family, and colleagues.

And it all paid off. In March of this year, Kin was officially declared cancer-free.

Describing the experience, Kin said, “I feel lucky and fortunate, as horrible as it was.”

Kin, who grew up dreaming of becoming a wedding planner, jumped at the opportunity to start planning her business in the entrepreneurship 101 class at the college.

“I went into college knowing what I wanted to do,” Kin said, “I always loved planning events and helping with weddings. Naturally, wedding planning was on my radar.”

In the class, Kin chose a name for business, began developing her brand, and planning her website. She also did style shoots and mock weddings. Over the summers, Kin also worked with professional wedding planners.

When she graduated, she said, “I had my foot in the door.”

And not only did Kin’s business remain up and running throughout 2020, it flourished. Last year, her LGTBQ+-certified planning agency was a best of 2020 finalist at California Wedding Day, and it also brought home the 2020 Couple’s Choice Award from WeddingWire, an industry-leading wedding planning website.

With cancer behind her and with pandemic restrictions beginning to loosen up, Kin’s business outlook is improving even further.

Throughout the pandemic and during her cancer treatment, she learned the value of strong client communication.

As a means of fostering trust and building relationships, Kin was open and honest with her clients about her cancer diagnosis, asking for help when she needed it.

“Everyone was so gracious,” Kin remembered.

If anything, her clients told her, “we trust you more now. It was a weight lifted,” Kin said.

To students still enrolled at Lundquist who dream of one day owning their own business, Kin said to push through the fear.

“If you’re not terrified to do it, it’s not the right thing to do,” Kin said. “It’s never going to be the ‘right’ time,” she continued, “so jump right in, and never look back.”

—William Kennedy