The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: Santa Cruz Guitar Company Head of Sales and Marketing, Musician, Carolyn Sills


By Gabriella Steffenberg

Carolyn Sills gets the opportunity to do what she loves every day at the Santa Cruz Guitar Company. Working at the acclaimed guitar manufacturer for almost six years, she has held the role of head of sales and marketing for the past three.

Because of the company’s small size, Sills and her coworkers all wear many hats, which led to her heavy involvement in marketing and assisting with customer service as well.

Outside of Santa Cruz Guitars, Sills rocks out regularly in her band, The Carolyn Sills Combo. For more information on Sills, read on below, and check out the Santa Cruz Guitar Company along with The Carolyn Sills Combo website.

WiMN: How long have you been in the sales and marketing business?

CS: I have been working at Santa Cruz Guitar Company for almost six years now, and have been the head of sales and marketing for the last three. I joined the company to run marketing and assist with customer service, and continue to do those jobs as well. It’s a small shop, and we all wear many hats.

WiMN: What’s the best piece of advice someone has given you regarding the industry you’re in?

CS: Richard Hoover (owner of Santa Cruz Guitar Company) has taught me a great deal, most importantly to value and nurture all the personal relationships in this business. Get to know your players, your dealers, your market… There’s no substitute for genuinely caring about the people you work for and with, and it allows you to build lasting relationships with those you associate with on a daily basis. This makes it all a lot more meaningful and enjoyable.

WiMN: What’s your favorite part about working at Santa Cruz Guitars?

CS: I am very proud to be able to sell and market an instrument that I can completely stand behind. Our luthiers are so incredibly talented at what they do, and our guitars stand alone in craftsmanship and tone. It’s a pleasure to be able to represent them in the music industry, and have total confidence that our customers will be happy with their one-of-a-kind guitars.

WiMN: Which musicians inspire you the most?

CS: I’m inspired by any musician with sincerity in their music, lyrics and performance.

WiMN: What’s your favorite song of the moment and what about it makes you tick?

CS: My favorite song of the moment is “Beaumont Blues” by The Bellfuries… It just came out a couple of weeks ago. It pays homage to a bygone era but still sounds fresh and new. Great guitar, great lyrics/singing, amazing production – I highly recommend their new record.

WiMN: Tell us about a fond performance or studio memory that you’ve had with your band, The Carolyn Sills Combo.

CS: We’ve had many great moment together… Recording our first record was a highlight… We holed up in a barn in the Redwoods for a week, and came out with a collection of songs that truly represented our unique sound and style. Last year we performed down at the Cowboy Festival in Santa Clarita, and that was a highlight as well, getting to play the same festival as Don Edwards, Dave Stamey, The Lucky Stars…

WiMN: Do you have any new music and/or touring in the works?

CS: We are finishing up our second album right now, and it is due to be out before the end of the year. It’s more of our trademark spaghetti western swing sound, and it’s shaping up to be the perfect follow up to our first.

WiMN: What do you enjoy doing outside of Santa Cruz Guitars and playing with your band?

CS: Outside of talking guitars and playing music, I enjoy hanging out with my husband, Gerard, and my pup, Cowboy. We have way too much fun together.

WiMN: What are your goals for 2016?

CS: My goals for 2016 are the same as every year… Work hard, have fun, and be as good as possible to the world around me.