"If you need help, there are people right there [at SCORE], with amazing knowledge. And free! ” -Youngsong Martin, Owner of Wildflower Linen.
A wedding reception, party or other special event should be a memorable experience for hosts and guests alike. But to fashion designer Youngsong Martin, something just didn’t look right. By drawing on her extensive experience in the world of apparel, Young felt she could “dress” the entire event by creating elegantly tailored slipcovers and linens, and in the process, help define a memory-making tone of glamour. That idea led to the formation of Wildflower Linens.
Almost immediately, Young saw her idea take off among Southern California’s event organizers. In fact, she was afraid her business would grow too fast.
“You don’t really realize what’s involved with running a business until you actually do it,” Young explains. “I was comfortable with my marketing approach, but I definitely needed help with the management and financial aspects.”
With SCORE’s help, Wildflower Linen has a solid financial and marketing foundation to support continued growth. Corporations, banquet managers, event organizers and bridal reception planners across Southern California now call on Young to assist with events in private homes, and in venues as diverse as the Ritz-Carlton Hotels in Laguna Niguel and Pasadena, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Birthplace, and luxurious charter yachts in Newport Beach. And, with several Hawaiian resorts now among her clientele, Young’s company is poised to serve party planners and event venues nationwide.
“It took only a few conversations with Terri to know that I could trust this organization,” Young says. “She understood immediately the kind of business I wanted, and was so enthusiastic about helping me. I couldn’t believe she and other business veterans would be willing do so much and not receive a penny for their efforts.”
Former sales and marketing professional Terri Carr helped Young refine her business goals and reviewed her marketing program.
Young also began working with Jim Anderson, who used his extensive background in finance and management to review Wildflower Linen’s accounting and financial practices. He also helped with issues such as expense tracking, inventory control, taxes and planning/budgeting.
“It’s one thing to think you know where your money’s going, but it’s quite another to actually write expenses down and see how they affect your operations,” Young says. “Jim helps me analyze expenses and determine if they are necessary to help keep my business growing. It’s almost like I’m getting an MBA from him!”
Young remembered hearing about SCORE several years earlier during the launch of another business venture, and decided to give them a call. Young continues to rely on Jim Anderson and SCORE to help in monitoring her company’s financial health, as well as other issues such as employee benefits stuff and insurance. “Small businesses often fail because they don’t get help,” Young says. “They can find everything they need at SCORE, and for no charge. At some point, I hope to become a SCORE mentor and provide other entrepreneurs the same kind of expert assistance I’ve been blessed to receive from Jim and Terri.”
“I liked the idea of working with retired executives who understand what small business is all about. They have a track record, but they also had to start somewhere too.” says Youngsong Martin.