Teachers’ Assistant 

Guild Local provides platform for grassroots education.

Want to make a little extra money sharing your wicked quilting skills? Looking for someone to teach you social media savvy?

Through the Guild Local website, guildlocal.com, Mid-Southerners can sign up for classes on everything from simple guitar chords to how to make chai tea. Classes are taught by other locals, who can use the site to create a class they'd like to teach.

"If you have something you want to teach, a passion, a skill that you're great at, you offer the class [on guildlocal.com]. We market you, advertise the class, and take care of all the processing. We help the teachers find venues to teach classes, schedule it, book it, and communicate with the teachers and students," said Mark Horrocks, one of the founding partners of Guild Local. "It's an online marketplace of classes taught by local experts in the community."

"The idea for Guild Local already exists out there in the world, but there's nothing like it in Memphis," said Cole Taylor, another founding partner of Guild Local. Yolo's Taylor Berger is a founding partner as well.

The class offerings — about 30 listings right now — are all online, but the classes take place offline in the community.

"This is not an online class. This is face-time. Our emphasis is on the local community and building community with what we do," said Horrocks, who is also the director of Habitat for Hope and organizer of the annual LuvMud events. "It's also a great opportunity for small businesses to connect with their customers in a new way, as teachers or as venues for classes."

Guild Local classes fall under six categories: business, technology, health, arts, culture, and culinary. The majority of the offerings are what Horrocks calls "micro-classes," one-off classes of about two or three hours in which students learn a particular skill.

Teachers interested in posting a class on Guild Local first create a profile and fill out an application with a description of the class they would like to teach.

"Each of the teachers fills out an application and lists their background and experience," Horrocks said. "The beautiful thing about this is that we're all experts in certain things in certain ways. We've got a lady who wants to teach jam-making and jellies. She's been doing it for 20 years. Does she have a college degree in jam-making and jellies? No. But she has the experience to prove herself."

The teacher's profile also has a space for student ratings once the class is over.

"The teachers will be credentialed through the students who take the classes," Horrocks said.

If accepted, teachers work with Guild Local to find a venue, schedule the class, and attract students. Teachers set the student fee, which must be paid in advance. Once the class is finished, teachers keep 60 percent of the profit. The other 40 percent goes to Guild Local.

The average class fee will stay between $25 and $50 including materials, although some classes may cost more because of the materials involved.

Jamie Harmon, photographer and entrepreneur behind the Amurica photobooth, is leading the first Guild Local class on January 23rd. He's teaching photo techniques and lighting.

"It sounded like a great alternative to continuing education at a major university and a great entrepreneurial way to make money," Harmon said. "It's simple. I go to the website, fill out the form, and [Guild Local] will do the rest. If people sign up for it, I'll teach a class every week."

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