In celebration of National Women History Month, we spoke with a fantastic female entrepreneur who has inspired and paved the way for other women to pursue and succeed in their entrepreneurial dreams. Meet Youngsong Martin, the founder of Wildflower Linen.
While planning her niece’s wedding, Youngsong Martin realized that the type of linen she was looking for simply wasn’t available. “If I am looking for something and it’s not there, then someone else is looking for it out there too,” said Martin. In 2001, Wildflower Linen was born. Martin, who says “SCORE changed my life,” initially reached out to her SCORE mentor in 2003. Over ten years later, Wildflower Linen has had much success. The company based out of Southern California has expanded to several showrooms with customer service specialists throughout the U.S. Wildflower’s specialty table linens and chair covers have been featured at film festivals, Vanity Fair after- parties, and even entertained the First Lady of the United States! Martin has received countless awards and recognition for her thriving business and community service projects. However, no matter the success Martin and her ever growing company have received, Martin has core concepts that have worked for her.
Martin shares some of her ideas about: what is an entrepreneur, how to achieve your business dreams, and what giving back to the community means.
Learn & Make a Difference
When asked who her favorite entrepreneur was, Martin said there were so many people who inspire and influence her; it is hard to pinpoint one. “You look around and there are so many entrepreneurs; my next door neighbor is an entrepreneur and I am learning every day from them.” Martin believes anyone can be an entrepreneur and entrepreneurs don’t necessarily have to be categorized as individuals looking to gain something financially, but individuals looking to make a difference. “I believe politicians can be entrepreneurs,” says Martin.
Take the Leap
Making a difference with your business begins with taking the first step. “Follow your dreams, a part of being an entrepreneur is being courageous and having faith. Everyone is afraid. I am afraid but I try not to be. I remind myself fear is not real. If I don’t try, I don’t know if I can do it or not. There is no map or recipe to success, there isn’t one unless you do it. If you think it’s going to work, try your best. It may not, but at least you tried.”
Martin who is involved with nonprofits and charity events says “having a thriving business is great, but community service is what matters. I believe we can all get together to help other people… we need to make sure these people are taken care of. I want Wildflower to be known as a place that is a good role model to a lot of people but more than that, a company committed to community service.” Recognizing that entrepreneurs surround us in many different fields and that we can learn from them, taking those courageous leaps of faith, and giving back to our communities are great places to begin when starting or reigniting your business passion.
Enjoy hearing stories of female small business owners and the wisdom they have to share? Read more in the SCORE Success Stories. And if you’re a woman interested in starting a business, take the leap and find the guidance you need by connecting with a SCORE mentor.