Why Small Businesses Matter
Shop small, do big things for your community
Why Small Businesses Matter puts a spotlight on the local merchants who donate their time, talent, goods, and services for the betterment of our community. The shop local movement spreads virally as local businesses who are “tagged” have the opportunity to share their story!
You're IT Guilded Lynx!
Three questions with Lessley Burke, founder of Guilded Lynx.
Why did you start your business?
I opened Guilded Lynx eleven years ago. We are a small jewelry-making studio and school that provides classes and a place to work for anyone making jewelry or working in metalsmithing. We also have a small retail gallery where students have the opportunity to display and sell their work. Private tutorials are definitely the most popular service we offer. People seem to really enjoy being able to tailor their instruction to exactly what they are interested in doing. They can pay by the hour and schedule a class when it best suits their schedule, rather than trying to work a scheduled class into their already full calendar!
How many local businesses do you use to support your business (products and services) and can you name them?
Everyone at the studio has made at least one trip to the Ridgefield Hardware store! If the studio runs out of something or we don't have the right tool, there will definitely be something at Ridgefield Hardware that will work! We also support many of the restaurants in town. Spending a long day at the studio working or learning makes people hungry. Maybe they grab a hotdog from Mike's hotdog cart which is right outside our door. Or maybe it's pizza from 850 or tacos from Baha Cocina. Or a cupcake from The Cake Box or a sandwich from Tazza or Steve's.
Have you "reimagined" your small business?
I would say that since Covid and the lockdowns, Guilded Lynx has become a much more personal experience and we have created an amazingly supportive community. Before Covid, we scheduled about 10 classes a year with master metalsmiths coming from all over the country. Students would sign up for scheduled classes on our website. Classes always ran on weekends, which didn't suit everyone's schedule. Once Covid hit, all had to end, and I thought that might be the end of the studio. Instead, we found ways to keep the studio open and I think it became a lifeline for those stuck at home. They had a place to go once or twice a week. Once the lockdown ended it became clear that the old business model wasn't going to work.
So the studio started offering private tutorials. The studio has a much more personal feel to it now and has many new people trying their hand at metalsmithing. There are no class requirements. All a person needs is the desire to be at the studio. The studio has stepped away from the way traditional way of offering classes. Instead, the experience has become much more personal and I think much more fulfilling. Maybe one day we will go back to offering larger group classes, but for now, people want the freedom to come and go as their schedules allow so we will continue to accommodate them!
Lessley would like to nominate Lyn Kehoe Power Yoga to be featured next!
HamletHub thanks Fairfield County Bank for making our Why Small Businesses Matter series possible!