Stephanie Shull, owner of Pike Place Pigs, made her first ceramic piggy bank in 1998. “It was a way to remember my uncle,” says Stephanie. “My uncle made me a piggy bank when I was six years old. He passed away in 1995 and I missed him, so I bought a bag of clay and thought to myself: ‘I can do this’! My daughter was eight at the time, and I wanted her to have a pig like the one my uncle gave to me.”
Her daughter loved her handmade piggy bank, Stephanie was inspired to continue making her ceramic pigs. She spent several years making piggy banks as gifts for her friends and family, but in 2006, she decided to “quit her day job” and try selling her pigs for some extra cash. “I set up a stall at Pike Place Market and called my business Pike Place Pigs. I make each pig completely by hand, so every pig is unique. I inscribe ‘Pike Place Market’ on every pig’s belly and the year the pig was made. My pigs sold so well in the Market that, the following year, I devoted myself full-time to making my piggy banks.”
Stephanie donates a portion of her piggy bank sales to Pike Place Market Foundation, and has donated enough proceeds to earn a Bronze Hoofprint. “The Market has been so good to me and my small business,” says Stephanie. “This is my ‘thank you’ to the Market. Craftspeople are happy to support the Market and The Market Foundation. We are there for each other. The Market wouldn’t exist without us, and we wouldn’t exist without the Market.”
Stephanie is excited that her Hoofprint donation helps us complete the new MarketFront. “It’s going to be such a lovely public space!” she says. “The public plaza is designed so the craft stalls face Elliott Bay. I love the idea of being able to turn around and see boats while I’m working. When I decided to donate for the Hoofprint, I knew I needed to act quickly because I wanted it to be right there on the plaza, where my stall will be. When the building opens next year, I’ll be able to point to my Hoofprint and say, ‘Wow – look at that! My name is on a piece of the Market!’” In addition to her Hoofprint, Stephanie also donated for a Market Charm and gave it to her partner for their anniversary.
This weekend, Stephanie is looking forward to celebrating Seattle Pride, which she sees as an opportunity for her and Seattle’s gay community to heal after the tragedy in Orlando. “It was just so heartbreaking and tragic. When I went to the Market to open my stall the day after, I was feeling pretty raw. Then I saw the Market’s flag was at half-mast. It brought tears to my eyes to see that the Market cared and responded that way.”
Stephanie usually works at the Market during Seattle Pride weekend and she arranges her pigs in a rainbow of colors. “People really appreciate that,” says Stephanie. “But in light of Orlando, I’m going to the parade at the Seattle Center. A friend will watch my booth for me, so I can hop on my motorcycle and run over to the parade. I ride with the Dykes on Bikes.” As soon as the parade is over, Stephanie plans head straight back to the Market to finish the day of work and to be with the Market community. ”I feel really connected to the Market and the Market community. We are all really supportive of each other.”
In honor of Seattle Pride and to show our support for Seattle’s LGBTQ community, The Market Foundation is donating a Market Charm for the MarketFront’s Charm fence, inscribed as “Love Wins”.