Today we’d like to introduce you to KeKe Montoya.
Hi KeKe, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
My love and passion for event planning started 21 years ago when I was planning my son’s first birthday party. Shortly after, my family and friends began asking me for help to plan special events of their own. In 2011, one of my clients suggested I start my own business as an event planner. I gave it some thought and figured why not me?
All of the self-doubt started to kick in because I am not a college graduate. I literally worked two jobs during my senior year in High School. My mother was a single parent raising me and my two siblings so I made it a point to give her the bigger of my two checks to help out with whatever she needed and I kept the smaller check for myself.
A few years after I graduated High School, I got married, had my son and purchased a home in the Antelope Valley. He was the highlight of my life and everything I did, yet college was never something I wanted to pursue. In 2011 I took a leap of faith and started KeKe’s Luv Event Planning. I failed miserably because everyone wanted my services for free including family. So after about a year, I decided to give it up, which hurt because this is truly my passion and I was blessed with so much creativity.
Years passed on and I was still planning events for my children and some family members and friends. Again, a client suggested I should start my own business, not to mention I had the calling to try again. I was uncertain because of my previous failure but decided to give it another shot. In August of 2020, I registered my business name, revamped my business logo, designed my website and have since been living on a prayer.
Building a business is not easy especially for someone who has limited start up capital, works a full-time job and has a lot of responsibilities outside of work and wears many hats helping out in other establishments such as church. However, it is not impossible either. But who would have known Covid would hit and hit so hard? It was a tough time for me to try and build my business during Covid, but I didn’t stress too much because I was quite busy with my full-time job and other commitments. Putting my dream on hold became a norm for me. Sadly my husband viewed it as more of a hobby for me not a business until I showed him I was serious by registering my business as an LLC.
In 2021, Covid was more rampant and the laws were strict, basically forbidding gatherings of large numbers. I would get small orders to create customized hats and tumblers for friends and had the privilege of creating customized items to sell in an online Winter Boutique during February on a few selected days, celebrating Love through the establishment where I work at full time.
In the months ahead, I slowly began booking jobs but was saddened by the fact that I couldn’t really focus on my business the way I desired. In October, I had three events, a gender reveal, a Quinceanera and my children’s combined birthday party; my son, Elijah was turning 21 and my oldest daughter, Niamyah was turning 15. The gender reveal was a total success. All of my planning was great leading up to the Quinceanera until the night before the event. I felt weak and had trouble breathing properly. I took a Covid test before going to my client’s home to begin setting up. My test came back negative, so I went as planned. It was a bit of a struggle so I did what I could and informed my client I would be back the following morning to finish setting up.
The next morning on October 16, 2021, I felt worse than the night before. My son begged me not to go and to go to the hospital. I informed him that I had to finish the job I was hired to do. We cried together and he told me he loved me and that I was his favorite person in the world. After another long embrace, I encouraged my son to go to work. Hesitating, he walked to the door, looked back at me and said he loved me and came back to give me another hug. I mustarded up the strength to go to my client’s house and proceeded to decorate despite the fact that it was hard to breathe in the mask. After all was said and done, I went to the hospital. After two negative tests, the nurses decided to do a more invasive test and two hours of waiting, the results came back positive. I was immediately admitted to the hospital as I was struggling to breathe.
All I could think about was how long I would have to be there away from my family and how my children’s party had to go on regardless if I was to be present or not. Turns out I had Covid pneumonia and was hospitalized for ten miserable days. Luckily I had the venue, DJ, caterer, cake, and decorations paid for. The only thing I needed to focus on was the items needed for the charcuterie table and dessert buffet table. I reached out to my mother and made certain she understood this event was to happen with or without my presence. She was a trooper ensuring everything I wanted for both tables by shopping and running the errands on my behalf. Needless to say, I was discharged from the hospital on October 26th, literally four days before the event. I was on oxygen, barely able to walk, but still made it my business to show up and do what I could to make my babies day special. I required help due to my condition and called on a few family members and close friends and we executed everything as planned. I even got my wish to dance with my son. It was a beautiful night, definitely one to remember!
Fast forward to today, I am still recovering from knee surgery that took place on January 13, 2022. So again, I have not been able to promote my business the way I would have liked to. However, I have been blessed with a couple of small events. I believe everything happens just as it is supposed to so I have decided to go with the flow of things and do solely what I can. It is my desire that my business grows over time and I can get some training and certificates under my belt to solidify my abilities and strong creative efforts I have been blessed with.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Trying to establish and build my business certainly has had its challenges. Being that I am a one-woman show, a wife, mother and full-time employee, I struggle with the maintenance and upkeep of my website and social media posts. My children have certain commitments that require my time and attention as well. Also trying to find time to go to the gym and have downtime for myself is rare.
Also, not having the capital to hire help as needed or to take on some of the aforementioned tasks has also been a struggle. I aspire to one day open an all-inclusive event center and have a full staff. My determination and love for what I do will not allow me to give up. I can only get better with my craft and find a balance in everything I do.
As you know, we’re big fans of KeKe’s Luv Event Planning LLC. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
KeKe’s Luv Event Planning is an event planning service that offers a vast array of services such as planning from conception to completion, same day event coordinator services, custom centerpieces and decor, dessert buffet displays, photo backdrops and custom photo props, balloon garlands, scrapbooks, personalized items and much more.
I have over 21 years of experience planning events from Children’s Parties, Quinceaneras, Sweet Sixteens, Adult Parties, Gender Reveals, Babyshowers, Weddings, Anniversaries, House Warmings and Church Events.
Creating beautiful things ignites the flame within my soul and I love the reaction from my clients when their vision comes to life. It is a blessing to be a blessing to others in what is sometimes the most stressful time in their lives, one detail at a time! I also love when my clients trust me enough to get as creative as their budget will allow and work my magic without them knowing any of the details. Over the years, I have built and maintained strong relationships with some of my clients who have become more like family.
I have a strong ability to listen carefully to the needs of my clients and offer suggestions when they have absolutely no idea of where to begin when planning a special event. Having a gift of creativity and the ability to see “what can be” is also a plus. It is amazing how creative we can truly be and the transformations we can make out of an ordinary object such as a plain candle holder.
Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
When you find your passion and what drives you, look for people in the same field. Follow them on social media and see what works for them. You have to put yourself out there and try to get involved in community events, trade shows or bridal expos. Building relationships with outside vendors is also key to your success.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.kekesluvevents.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/kekesluveventplanning
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/kekesluv