Business Profile: Squiggly Pig Marketplace
This little piggy went to the market
Sandi Sketchley and Cassie Bishop are reimagining the marketplace experience for vendors and shoppers with their year-round Squiggly Pig Marketplace.
The duo started pursuing the venture in December 2020, and opened their doors in June 2021 with 130 vendors from around Canada.
“From the crappy wrapping to our aprons, we’re branding ourselves from top to bottom,” said Sketchley. “We're not typical.”
Bishop says their look is borrowed from “vintage market days” with apple baskets for shopping. They merge a classic brick-and-mortar venue and signage with a passion for social media marketing, thriving as hosts on live videos.
Sketchley was a paramedic in Vancouver until an injury sidelined her. She retrained in marketing and sales, worked for a clothing company as a vendor, then directly by sharing her marketing expertise. That’s when Sketchley met Bishop, who was a loyal customer of the clothing brand shortly after she was laid off from her oil and gas job in 2016.
When the pandemic hit and clothing sales through markets came to a halt, they knew how vendors were struggling. They envisioned an easier way for small business owners to sell their wares year-round without the hassle of setting up and tearing down at markets all over the country.
“For these vendors to come in and put their stuff on a shelf, and then leave…it's amazing,” said Sketchley.
The two crafted their business plan, then began searching for a property to rent in Airdrie in late 2020, tried Olds and returned to Airdrie in March 2021 when they connected with developers Ryan Cameron and Darcy Enns.
“[Their] belief in entrepreneurship, and women in business, [they’re] amazing,” said Sketchley, noting they helped them find and renovate the 3,300 sq. ft. space now home to Squiggly Pig Marketplace.
Before they landed the location, they were already attracting vendors on Facebook. With that support and a lot of hard work, the Boss Hogs opened Squiggly Pig Marketplace in July with 130 vendors, and were up to 150 within weeks.
They’re excited to work in the same community they live in for the first time in their careers, and have plans to expand the current location or open others.
“We're not gonna stop here because I won't be satisfied,” said Sketchley.
Story and photography by Britton Ledingham