The Greater Los Angeles chapter has produced numerous Success Stories. These are businesses that have been tracked over time and have succeeded due in large part to SCORE counselor involvement. Let’s develop a counseling relationship for you and your business and create another Success Story.
Recent Success Stories
Red Carpet Cookies – Marianne Hudz
Until 2011, Marianne Hudz spent her career at desk jobs. When her job ended and she had no future move planned, her husband suggested she might become a baker.
So she enrolled in West Valley Occupational Center’s culinary program then went on to Los Angeles Trade Technical (LATTC) while working as a production baker at Universal Studios. But she had no knowledge about owning a business.
In the spring of 2013, she left LATTC and Universal Studios with the goal of starting her own baking business. At SCORE LA, she found the people and resources she needed to get her business off the ground. She enrolled in the free, 10-week Entrepreneurs’ Training Program at the Valley Economic Development Corporation (VEDC) to learn how to write a business plan and applied for a permit to operate a home-based bakery under the Cottage Food Law. On September 1, 2013, she opened Red Carpet Cookies (redcarpetcookies.com).
Within six months, it was clear she needed a commercial kitchen space. In the fall of 2014, she opened her current location in Van Nuys, California.
By now, her products and services include reception catering, wedding cakes, cookies with logos, and gift boxes shipped across the country.
The T-Shirt Spot – Linda Stewart
Linda Stewart has 38 years of experience in the fashion industry, which was the foundation for opening The T-Shirt Spot. While at school in South Los Angeles she designed for many of her teachers and for talent and fashion shows.
At 26 she started her first business, “Lynda Lee’s Designer Boutique” (her clothing label brand). Her services included tailoring, bridal gowns, theatrical costumes and movie productions and she established herself as a private designer for Andre Crouch, The Isley Bros., and many others. She secured 13 windows at I. Magnin’s stores on Wilshire’s Miracle Mile and in Beverly Hills.
For a while, the Real Estate industry caught her attention. Buying, renovating and selling properties afforded her time to make money while having fun, traveling and pursuing numerous hobbies.
The stronger passion, “fashion” continued to call her name. She opened her next venture; KL Designs, a manufacturing company. This upper end denim design and manufacturing company was a good outlet for her fashion designing, fabric design and innovation. However, her equipment, (30 machines), her inventory, patterns, samples and everything were lost during the LA Riots and the business collapsed.
But she had a new vision. The T-shirt generation is strong and endless. Hence, The T-Shirt Spot became her next venture in the fashion industry. In 2003, she began to cover an entire neighborhood with affordable clothing that can be customized to realize the community’s dreams. She donates to little leagues, helps schools with their uniform design to create great images for the youth, and works with schools on their fundraisers.
She constantly adds to her product lines with updated equipment that allows printing in six different methods. She focuses on her local community, schools, car clubs, bike clubs, social clubs, companies and individuals, but delivers anywhere!
Watch a video of Linda Stewart and her SCORE LA mentor
“If I Need Help” is a not-for-profit that supports families with people who wander, such as children or the elderly. It started up without much structure, but with a lot of goodwill from the founders, Bruce and Erin. SCORE helped the company up-scale in order to cope with its rapidly growing membership, establish a realistic budget and formalize the various functions in the company. Proof yet again that all businesses, for-profits and not-for-profits alike, once they reach a minimum size, need to pay attention to the business-of-the-business approach of their operations.
Renee Starms – Internet Marketing Success Coach
In 2009, I discovered the wonderful industry of internet marketing. And since that time, I have been successfully blogging and marketing online as well as teaching others how to leverage the power of the internet to create a successful online business.
I have worked with several small businesses (and an elementary school) ranging from; legal services, insurance agents, bakeries, actors, etc., creating their online presence (website or blog), marketing and social media strategy to help them increase exposure and get more business.
Presently, one of my most joyous projects is working at my sons’ elementary school teaching the teachers how to blog and running a blogging challenge for the classrooms. The students, parents and teachers are having a blast learning how to engage and communicate within the school setting using social media.
Frozen Fruit Co
We heard about SCORE online via Google. We had just moved over to LA to start Frozen Fruit Co and were currently going through the permitting and build out phase of our store. Being both from London, England launching a business in a new country is pretty daunting. When we came across SCORE we felt we had found a resource which could really help guide us.
We started to go to training sessions and looked for a mentor with experience in store openings and running food businesses. That’s how we came across Phil Binderman. Phil was a wealth of knowledge. He has vast experience in the food industry and helped guide us through the opening as well as the essentials of running a food operation, covering areas like the importance of having a soft opening, staffing and expansion. He has become a vital part of our business and a great sounding board for whenever we need to talk to someone. He has also been a great resource in directing us to other specialist mentors when we were looking for marketing help in promoting and getting the word out about our specialist frozen treats.
Once we learned about the workshops through SCORE we were keen to take in as much knowledge as possible. From crowd funding (something we always dismissed) to social media, the workshops are a great way to get access to experts and fill gaps in knowledge that we wouldn’t ordinarily be able to do.
I started going to SCORE when I got serious about opening Katie’s Bakery. SCORE proved to be a great organization to help put together all the pieces needed to help my business succeed. Plus, the support and encouragement provided by my main mentor helped get me through those discouraging periods along the way.
I initially met with mentors who specialized in marketing – one even conducted a group mind mapping session with some of my friends to come up with a wonderful tagline, given that all my baked goods are made with organic, gluten-free, all natural ingredients. Plus, some are dairy-free.
Katie’s Bakery…deliciously enlightened
SCORE’s workshop on social media helped me understand the importance of social media for my business and I was able to connect with a new marketing company through SCORE that I am now using to manage my online efforts.
Founder & Owner of Katie’s Bakery, Pasadena, CA
Link to an article in Pasadena Now.
Katie’s Bakery offers simple small sweets
Yoga-urt by Melissa
Developing Yoga-urt took close to four years of research, building my business plan, and finding funding, although I was turned down many times, including by my family. During this time, I developed skills in business planning, budgeting, marketing, everything related to opening up a restaurant, never giving up on my dream. I worked closely with Randy Lash from SCORE to prepare my financials for the business plan and went to several workshops, which nurtured my entrepreneurial skills. Eventually, with support from SCORE, I was able to win financing from SBDC PCR to open up my store and have been operating for the last couple years.
“I came to SCORE about growing pains my internet sales business faced. Specifically, our need for more physical warehouse space, seasonal cash flow issues and justification for adding employees. Over 14 months, my SCORE mentor and I resolved all issues and he helped me grow sales and profit.”
Orr Ben-Zvy, Simple Compounding Goods, Inc.
“When we began our business, we did not know anything about running our own small business. We came to SCORE looking for information on how to start, insurance needs, marketing ideas, advertising ideas, business licenses that were needed. SCORE helped us with all those pieces to start a small business.
SCORE expertise was invaluable to us.”
Gail Meyer & Kathy Flood, Moving Matters, LLC
San Fernando Valley
“SCORE has been incredibly helpful from day one. We attended numerous workshops, webinars and worked with our mentor to navigate early start up questions, issues and challenges.”
Lisa Woods, GroundSwell Group, Los Angeles