SBDC shares a legacy of success
Drenna Love had a problem, so she solved it by starting a business. “Our boys attended a church school,” she says. “After September you were just out of luck if you needed a uniform; none of the local retail stores had them.” In 2005, Drenna launched Legacy School Apparel.
According to Drenna, her success started at the Hampton Roads SBDC. “My relationship with the SBDC began in 2004 when I attended my first workshop on how to start your own business,” she recalls. “I gained valuable information on choosing a legal structure, writing a business plan, and financing a business. I really enjoyed the one-on-one coaching sessions with Debra Hamilton Farley, Associate Executive Director at the SBDC. Whenever they held a workshop that I could benefit from, I always made sure to attend,” she says.
One topic Drenna found particularly challenging was marketing. “My background is in accounting and bookkeeping, so when it came to marketing, I was all over the place,” she says. “I attended as many traditional and social media marketing webinars and seminars as I could. My mission for 2017 was to put together a strategic marketing plan.”
Debra, who has remained Drenna’s SBDC consultant over the years, helped. “Mrs. Farley suggested I put together a presentation packet for a new school I was interested in doing business with,” Drenna notes. “I didn’t get that contract, but I used the presentation packet at two other schools and won contracts with them both.” Last March, Drenna met with Virginia SBDC Retail and Restaurant Consultant Marc Willson. “He came out, evaluated our store, and gave me some pointers on marketing,” Drenna says. “One thing I like about the SBDC: if you’re going in the wrong direction, they will tell you, which is what you want.”
“This past summer I won my first SWaM (Small Women and Minority-owned) business contract for $30,000 with Tidewater Community College,” Drenna says. She became a certified SWaM vendor after completing an SBDC workshop on that topic.
Clients for school uniforms continue to grow, and Drenna added graduation apparel to Legacy’s inventory. “Often we moved into career apparel and became the go-to place for small business uniforms,” Drenna notes. “When we added medical apparel, we started working with several medical training schools.”
Throughout 2017, Drenna continued to add marketing initiatives. “Mrs. Farley reminded me of all the great tools and resources on the Virginia SBDC website,” Drenna says. “I felt like a child at the candy store when I found all the webinar recordings I needed to help me put together my strategic marketing plan. I’m at the point now where I feel like I’m on the right track,” she concludes. “Thanks to the SBDC I have a marketing plan in place to grow the business and take it to the next level.”