Madison, Wis.– The Guild, Inc., the leading direct marketer of home furnishings and gifts created by artists, announced today that its board of directors has appointed Lisa Bayne as the company’s chief executive officer, effective immediately. Bayne succeeds Toni Sikes, who will continue to serve as the public spokesperson for the company in the areas of art and artful living. Sikes will hold the title of founder and artistic advisor, and remain on the company’s board.
Bayne, a member of The Guild’s board since November 2006, consulted with the company on development of its consumer brand, The Artful Home, throughout 2007. Bayne is a veteran marketer and merchant, with broad experience in developing high-profile multi-channel consumer brands. Most recently, she was executive vice president and chief marketing officer of the J. Jill Group, where she presided over a major brand overhaul. Prior to J. Jill, she served as senior vice president of brand for the Gymboree Corporation, senior vice president of marketing for Smith & Hawken, and in numerous executive-level positions at Eddie Bauer.
“Since joining our board of directors in 2006, Lisa has earned the admiration and respect of everyone in the company,” said Sikes. “Her extensive experience with consumer brands, combined with her passion for art, make her the ideal leader to take the helm as The Guild’s CEO at this time. There are tremendous opportunities ahead for the company and I look forward to working with Lisa as we take advantage of those opportunities.”
The Guild also announced an additional round of equity financing from existing backers. The additional capital will be used extend the reach of the company’s consumer marketing, with special emphasis on expanding its popular website.
“The Guild has been one of the most significant architects of the marketplace where the Internet intersects the art world,” says Scott Potter, managing partner at San Francisco Equity Partners and chairman of The Guild’s board of directors. “Since our initial funding of the company in 2006, sales have nearly doubled. This is an ideal time to bring on board a CEO with a track record of successfully building premium brands on a national scale, and Lisa is the perfect choice.”
Bayne will split her time between Madison, Wis., where the company is headquartered, and San Francisco, where she lives. Michael Baum, who has served as president since 2004, will assume the position of chief operating officer reporting to Bayne, who will directly oversee all aspects of marketing and merchandising.
“In this time of mass commodity overload, The Guild offers consumers access to beautiful and original works of art with which to live,” said Bayne. “I am thrilled to be associated with this unique business and its artists, and look forward to growing the reach and presence of The Artful Home brand.”
The Guild, Inc.® is the leading online retailer of original art and fine craft items shipped direct to customers from the studios of top North American artists. The Guild’s catalogs, The Artful Home® and Artful® Gifts, present collections carefully selected from the 10,000 items available through The Guild’s artfulhome.com website. Since 1985, The Guild has also published annual sourcebooks helping design professionals locate commissionable artists for special projects.