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What’s a “Guild” Anyway?March 13th, 2015 by
Being on the GuildQuality team, we get questions about our name a lot – “What does GuildQuality mean?” or, “What’s a guild?” so we asked our Founder and CEO, Geoff Graham, to explain a bit more about the meaning of our name and where it came from:
Trade guilds–organizations formed by artisans to promote quality within their craft–have been with us for more than 1,000 years. Early guilds provided a platform for young people to enter a profession and advance their skills, and many of Europe’s earliest universities were created by these guilds for just that reason.
Importantly, guild statuses (apprentice, journeyman, master, or grandmaster) gave people a general, reliable understanding of someone’s skill level, even if they’d never seen the artisan’s work. This enabled a journeyman to travel widely and find work wherever there was work to be done–whether it was on a cathedral in Hamburg or a fortress in Marseille. This greatly contributed to the wide exchange of skills and ideas that set the stage for the Renaissance.
As with many institutions in the medieval period, politics played a heavy role in determining one’s status and earning potential. As guilds’ influence grew, their focus changed; Over time, they became arbiters of status and advocates for protectionism. We still see this sort of thing today in aspects of our modern institutions. Trade organizations lobbying for protectionist regulations, union wage setting, and licensing all share something in common with what guilds had become after they lost their way, and just as their influence began to wane.
When I started GuildQuality, I wanted us to create a new platform for promoting and celebrating quality within the building profession. I considered naming it simply “The Guild,” but ultimately added “Quality” as a reminder that no matter how large we grow, our focus will always be on advancing quality within the profession.
Geoff’s explanation reveals that while the term “guild” has medieval roots, the main idea still holds true today – a group of like-minded craftsman coming together for the greater good of their trade or shared interest, as well as the group itself.
That’s why we call our customers “Guildmembers” – the homebuilders, remodelers, and home services contractors who are part of our community are committed to bettering the building industry through quality craftsmanship, service excellence and dedication to customer satisfaction. By being a part of such a high-caliber group, our members have access to tools that help them improve their businesses and share their stories.