Stephanie Schull got the idea for her Charming Pig while watching volunteers install Market Charms on the new MarketFront. At the end of the installation process the volunteers would snap off a small nib from the Charm clasp, making the installation permanent. She was intrigued and approached Patricia Gray, the Capitol Campaign Manager about the nibs. Patricia admitted that she didn’t know what they were going to do with the nibs but, “They are really cool and I don’t want to throw them away.” Stephani suggested that she might be able to find some use for them and the next week Patricia delivered her a big bag of nibs. She started playing with different designs in the wet clay of her piggybanks and soon the Charming Pig was born.
Stephanie has been making piggybanks of all shapes and sizes for over twenty years now. Inspired by a piggybank her uncle made for her when she was little, her own piggybanks started as gifts for friends and family. But their popularity grew quickly and her passion for clay and creation kept up. She began to look into ways to sell her pigs and that was when she discovered that Pike Place Market’s mascots: Rachel and Billie, the Piggybanks. It was a perfect fit.
But like so many vendors, farmers and merchants here at the Pike Place Market Stephanie isn’t solely focused on turning a profit. She is deeply committed to giving back to her community. The Charming Pig is just one example of that. This limited edition pig is being offered at $100 and all of the profits go straight to the Community Safety Net. The Community Safety Net is designed to provide swift financial assistance to Market community members who are experiencing extreme hardship. We asked Stephanie why she donates to the Community Safety Net and here is what she had to say:
“Well, we are all on the thin edge. I am pretty lucky in that I have a partner who has a steady paycheck and pretty secure position, but lots of people are supporting themselves totally on the money that they earn here at the Market. Working here is volatile, and sometimes you make the money and sometimes you don’t and you’re working just as hard all the time. It’s just really important to have that Safety Net so we can do this sort of thing. The Market is really important to the character of Seattle, so we need people to feel like they can make a living this way – not to have to worry about paying rent if sales don’t pan out one month or if there is an emergency.”
The Safety Net has been incredibly successful over the years, granting $40,500 last year in emergency funds to over 60 individuals. It is funded primarily by the efforts of the community, through events like Behind the Table and the generosity of craftspeople like Stephani. The Market is really important to the character of Seattle and we are proud of everyone here who consistently models what it means to be part of a thriving, caring community.
Thank you Stephanie for sharing your beautiful story and for your support of the Community Safety Net. Also, we salute your incredible Rachel and Billie tattoos. Now that is commitment. If you would like to support the Community Safety net you can donate by clicking here or visit Stephanie in the Market and purchase one of her beautiful Charming pigs.