Small Business Recovery Spotlight: Skye Saylor
Meet Skye Saylor, the co-owner of handmade toy company MarninSaylor. When you take a peek into their Pike Place Market shop, you’ll be greeted by fantastically crafted toys called Pastry Pets, including Donut Cats, Maple Bears (like maple bars), and more. After starting out as a small business in the daystall crafts area of the market, MarninSaylor moved to a permanent retail location in November of 2019.
“In our seven years as market merchants, we’ve been consistently impressed with the market’s ability to ‘take care of its own’, recalled Skye.”We’ve made so many connections with the other shop owners and have gotten a better sense for how the market functions and cares in bigger and broader ways.”
The spirit of the Market was tested like never before last March when COVID hit. MarninSaylor was one of the nearly 500 Market vendors, artists, and shops affected by the shutdown. In spite of the uncertainty, there was an outpouring of support from the community. Skye remembers “there were fundraisers for buskers, businesses that needed help were hiring market people who had lost their jobs at other businesses, and of course The Market Foundation launched their extensive and multi-faceted recovery campaign.”
The Small Business Recovery Fund is a grant program providing financial support to Market businesses, in order to support them in their recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and help them transition to new economic conditions. The program was built to allow business owners to make targeted investments, not only helping with rent relief, but also providing opportunities for investing in better equipment, transitioning to e-commerce and online sales, and developing new products.
“We were incredibly fortunate to be able to contribute a small amount of our sales to the Recovery Fund, and this contribution came back to us tenfold in the form of a grant from the fund last September,” said Skye. Support from the Recovery Fund allowed MarninSaylor to cover fixed costs during an uncertain fall season, staying current on rent for production and retail space for almost three months. Skye believes that “having that flexibility in determining how to use our revenue stream was what kept us afloat both from financial and mental health perspectives!”
Since its launch, the Small Business Recovery Fund has invested $631,000 in 132 businesses throughout the Market. In addition to these funds is dedicated staff and peer consultation time to help business owners strategize how to utilize these funds for their business’s development. By creating time and space for entrepreneurs to intentionally plan their investments, recovery fund recipients were able to emerge from the pandemic with thoughtful, long term action plans. Because of the hard-working staff of The Market Commons, applicants for the Small Business Recovery Fund received 140 hours of one-on-one support for their questions and concerns on how to move their business forward.
The impact of the Foundation’s work cannot be overstated even in normal times,” concluded Skye. “Right now, the Market needs their support more than ever. We are incredibly grateful to The Market Foundation and all of its donors for helping to keep our business alive during the pandemic, and for bringing hope to so many market businesses, workers, and residents.”