Solano Napa SBDC

Guild Napa

“These changes happened sooner than we had planned (because of COVID), but we are embracing it,”

All Client Stories

Business owners, Carrie Saxl and Monica Stickley opened GUILD Napa in July, 2019 offering summer craft camps for kids, art workshops for adults and kids, parties and celebrations. But when the COVID pandemic hit, they were forced to shut down their entire business

By Carolynne Gamble, SBDC Business Advisor

Challenge

Business owners, Carrie Saxl and Monica Stickley opened GUILD in July, 2019 offering summer craft camps for kids, art workshops for adults and kids, parties and celebrations. GUILD is a maker space, event venue and retailer of handcrafted goods made mostly by local designers.

GUILD is a place for everyone, from the curious novice to the seasoned artist seeking to brush up on old skills or learn something entirely new. The business is designed for building community, learning together and having a good time, offering classes for all ages and abilities.

Because of COVID-19, GUILD had to completely close down. They could no longer host birthday parties and events, and they had to cancel their workshops and camps.

Spring and summer camps were already booked and then immediately in March 2020 they had to refund everyone’s money. They didn’t know if they would be able to hold their camps and workshops, and they faced the possibility of having to close GUILD’s doors for good. They were also scheduled to offer art enrichment at two elementary schools and those programs were cancelled due to school closures. All money was refunded, so there was great loss of income.

Game Plan

Business Reset and Reinvented!

GUILD received a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan from the SBA, plus a grant from Arts Council Napa Valley. They ran a Go Fund Me campaign which “really helped,” said Monica. It certainly indicates support from the community, family and friends.

GUILD began offering virtual celebrations, art workshops online, self-care workshops, journal making and more. They also partnered with local restaurant, Heritage Eats and Honrama Cellars for Cinco de Mayo and offered a Piñata making kit. They are working on video tutorials on how to use multiple kits.

They are currently working on a series of maker kits to launch late summer. They now offer online retail selling jewelry, hats, wallets, handbags, scarves and art made by local artisans, makers, designers and photographers.

Results

GUILD shifted their business model and while they eventually wanted to launch virtual classes and online retail, “the change happened sooner than we had planned, but we are embracing it,” reported owner, Monica.

Monica and Carrie are very grateful to SBDC and all the help they have received. They appreciate the business advice, marketing, networking, plus help with applying for the EIDL loan.

GUILD is located at 575 Coombsville Road in Napa and may be reached at 707-492-5429. To learn more about GUILD online classes, kits and retail products, visit www.guildnapa.com/.