Women Entrepreneurs

Wonder Works Soars With Advice From SCORE Mentor

When the hospital she worked at was bought out, Christine Osborne, an occupational therapist and marketing director, went home one day and told her husband, “My creativity’s gone. I can’t do it again for another company.”  The antidote for Christine and colleague Dan Morrisey was to open a retail toy store that showcased the “wonder and magic of fun.”  Since those early days in 1990, Wonder Works has become a model citizen of the Charleston community with 4 locations that greatly enhance the enjoyment and success of locals' lives.

www.wonderworkscharleston.com

Owner/Founder
Christine Osborne
My Location
Mt. Pleasant SC 29464
United States
Employees
30
Year Company Formed
1990
My Successes

Everything about her Wonder Works toy stores is one-of-a-kind. With an amazing and knowledgeable staff, over 2,500 hand-picked toys, creative free events that draw thousands and thousands of people in the community, and providing children with a platform to follow their dreams and charitable endeavors, Wonder Works creates an experience like no other for its customers. The mission of Wonder Works is four-pronged: to inspire its employees, customers, community and charities.

Wonder Works was named the 2013 Small “For Profit” Business of the Year by the Coastal chapter of SCORE.

And in 2013, Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr., announced recently that Thursday, May 16 would be “Christine Osborne Day” in Charleston, due to all the contributions she has made over the years to the Charleston community, its children and its local charities.  To celebrate the honor, the four locations will collected even more donations for the four charities the store works with the most: Happy Wheels at MUSC Children’s Hospital, Abby’s Friends, Hugs for Hope, and Keys for Hope.

Hugs for Harper

What's Great About My Mentor?

Knowing very little pertaining to “retail,” Christine Osborne and her former partner, Dan Morrisey, reached out to volunteer SCORE mentor Bud Garforth in 1990, and he helped them lay the groundwork for the store's continued success. “We took his advice and contributing elements to the next level, and now have a business model that is so unique … and full of momentum,” said Christine.

Bud’s advice became invaluable from a business standpoint to include exceptional customer service tips, of which Wonder Works is known for in the region. For the first 3 years, Wonder Works did not make a large business decision, without first consulting Bud. Without Bud’s guidance, Wonder Works would currently not be in its present position with 4 successful stores. The groundwork and support provided was crucial in establishing Wonder Works mission and branding within the community.

The decision to begin growing the business came early on with a store catalog, then a physical store expansion into a location two doors down (tripling the selling square footage). Then the team decided to open a second location. With each growth initiative their SCORE mentor, Bud, assisted Wonder Works in reviewing the pros and cons of each choice, while sharing his “retail insight.” Bud’s ability to listen, provide necessary support when initiatives did or did not meet their intended targets, was a constant light. Christine says, “The unending support in these early years was EXTREMELY formative in helping develop Wonder Works into what it symbolizes for the community today…a place of wonder for individuals of all ages, where hopes and dreams do become reality.”

LooHoo, LLC Succeeds By Using Advice From SCORE Mentor

In 2010, new mom Cindy Prince created LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls as a reusable, energy-saving alternative to dryer sheets to help protect her family's health and the environment.  The product quickly caught on with friends and family who also wanted to limit their exposure to toxic chemicals, reduce laundry time, conserve energy and save money.  In no time, the high quality dryer balls were a hit with retailers and customers across the country.

www.loo-hoo.com

Owner/Founder
Cyndi Prince
My Location
Camden ME 04843
United States
Employees
1
Year Company Formed
2010
My Successes

Within 2 years in business, LooHoo had over 50 retailers carrying their product, including major outlets like Whole Foods.  The business and founder, Cyndi Prince, have been featured in InStyle Magazine, Green Child Magazine and as a cover story in Maine Biz.  In addition to being chosen as a Top Ten Green & Healthy Gift Idea by FOX channel 23's Good Day Maine, Cyndi was also chosen as a Leg Up winner by Spanx founder Sara Blakely.  The win allowed LooHoo brand to be exposed to the millions of Spanx customers across the country via the company's catalog, website and social media channels.

The next goal for LooHoo is to target business customers like hospitals and nursing homes. Cyndi has plans to increase production capacity by 4x which she says would allow her to employ 20 people.

What's Great About My Mentor?

Cyndi met Portland SCORE mentor Nancy Strojny at a women's networking luncheon and a strong mentoring relationship quickly ensued.  During the pair's monthly meetings, Nancy provides support and guidance on various challenges such as defining the long-term goals of the company, changing the layout of the website, dealing with legal issues around trademarks, changing the company name, developing a new brand, pricing, and recently, creating strategies for working with larger retailers.  Cyndi says that Nancy is "an invaluable mentor who is committed to her success."  She says she "continues to receive advice and expertise that helps her business grow and move in the right direction."

SCORE Advises Budding Business Owners - Vicki Vaughan

Date
Wed, 2013-05-15 10:35

Before Gabriele Hummels-Schucker took an entrepreneurial leap in March and opened her business, Schugga Bakery, she sought out advice from an outfit called SCORE.

Hummels-Schucker, a native of Germany, was determined to put her skills to work by opening a shop selling pastries from her homeland that range from a seven-layer cake to bread rolls and pretzels.

She got advice from Halbert Brown, the incoming president of SCORE's local chapter.

Oh, how we all wish we knew the secrets to getting your business’s website to the top of search engine results. Yes, you can pay for the right to be on top, and I’m not saying that isn’t worth trying if your budget allows, but that’s getting ahead of myself. Every entrepreneur has his or her own SEO battle story, and the methods that work for one company don’t always work for another. That said, here are some guidelines to get you started:

 

By Rieva Lesonsky

Oh, how we all wish we knew the secrets to getting your business’s website to the top of search engine results. Yes, you can pay for the right to be on top, and I’m not saying that isn’t worth trying if your budget allows, but that’s getting ahead of myself. Every entrepreneur has his or her own SEO battle story, and the methods that work for one company don’t always work for another. That said, here are some guidelines to get you started:

About the Author

Rieva Lesonsky headshotRieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at twitter.com/rieva and visit her blog at SmallBizDaily.com.

Visit her website SmallBizTrendCast to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.

Every year new successful products hit the market and we commonly see and know about those successful products.  While these successful few are the result of effort and focus, these products and many failed products all started with good ideas.  As a product innovator, you may believe that all that is required is that good idea but there is much more required for commercial success.

Commercial success is not defined as a good idea, but as the ability to make a profit on the idea.  Your early efforts to bring an idea to market must be focused on answering that key question of “can my idea make money?”  For an idea to make money, a sufficient number of customers must be willing to pay a high enough price (when compared to the cost of producing and selling that product).

Your customers are online. You need to be too.

 

By Carmina Perez

Con­sider this:

As of June 2010, there were 266.2 mil­lion Inter­net users in North Amer­ica. That’s 77% of the pop­u­la­tion. Source: Inter­net World Stats.

These two immigrant entrepreneurs got instant credibility by using American advisors. Find out how they did it.....and how you can too.

 

By Elaine Pofeldt

Chris and Natasha Ash­tonIMMPRENEUR STATISTICS

·         Country of Origin: U.K.

·         Emigrated to U.S.: 2003

·         Launched Petplan USA: 2003

A trademark protects you, your business, and your livelihood.

By Tudor Capu­san, Esq.

New Brand logo

Separated by a common language and business cultures.

Immpreneur Mark Wilkins explains the differences between doing business in the U.S. and his native U.K.

By Anne Field

Don't get trapped in an obsolete business plan. Business and market conditions evolve. To succeed, so must you.

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