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SBDC's Mary Cervantes: COVID-19 leads Napa's GUILD to reset and reinvent
Small Business

SBDC's Mary Cervantes: COVID-19 leads Napa's GUILD to reset and reinvent

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Editor’s note: this column was written by Carolynne Gamble, SBDC Business Advisor

Business owners Carrie Saxl and Monica Stickley opened GUILD in July 2019 in Napa 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, the two explained.

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 two said.

The business is designed for building community, learning together and having a good time, offering classes for all ages and abilities.

In addition to workshops, they offer camps for children and onsite and offsite maker experiences. The 1,200 square foot studio in Napa is a space where you can book birthday parties, bridal showers, and corporate events and meetings. The studio is also available for rental for photo shoots and private events.

That was then. What now?

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 they had to refund everyone’s money.

Saxl and Stickley 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.

Business reset and reinvention

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 Stickley. 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.

Saxl and Stickley 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.

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 Stickley.

Saxl and Stickley said they 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, the two said.

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

SBDC resources available

Receive business and loan advice from Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Center at 707-256-7250 or napasonomasbdc.org

Watch now: The Napa Chamber of Commerce launches a community assist campaign

Mary Cervantes is the business services director for Napa Valley College Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Center. Reach her at 256-7253 or mcervantes@napavalley.edu

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