If you’re into local fashion and art, and love to support charity, Pineapple Triangle‘s AZ Share That You Care event provides the opportunity to get your fashionable art fix while supporting worthy causes. Founder Maggie McGrath, a wholesale sales rep for local clothing line Angie, started Pineapple Triangle to give local vendors more opportunities for exposure, while helping those in need, as each vendor donates at least 20 percent of their sales to the cause of their choice. The June event raised more than $1,300 for charities.
The next event, even larger than June’s with more than 50 vendors, takes place Saturday, October 18 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at The Icehouse in downtown Phoenix, with apparel, jewelry, beauty and home décor products from vendors including Be You Jewelry and Phoenix People features Strawberry Hedgehog and State Forty Eight. Admission is $5 cash, and visitors will be able to enjoy food from Buzznbeez food truck and music by 76th Street. Artists interested in participating can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
McGrath, a 29-year-old Ahwatukee resident, talked about her passion for fashion and for helping those in need, as well as named her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley, in a video below.
What brought you to Arizona?
I’ve pretty much lived here all my life, since I was 3 when my family moved here. I was born in Akron, Ohio. I went to Desert Vista High School and ASU, and got a B.A.S. degree in operations management and technology. I also have an Associate’s degree in fashion merchandising from Mesa Community College.
The main reason that keeps me here is all my siblings are here. I’m the youngest of four, so I really like being close to them.
How did Pineapple Triangle get started?
Working in fashion, I started going to lots of trunk shows, wanting to be involved in local boutiques. I was really inspired by local artists who would come to the trunk shows, who would talk about how designing was their dream, and it was scary for them to leave their jobs, but it’s their passion to do their art. Every artist has a different story, but they all took risks to do what they do.
I talked to (designer) Lisa (Pauling) of Be You Jewelry about the needs of local artists and where I could fit in. I went to her trunk show and started brainstorming with her and some artists at the show, and she said they could use more markets and platforms to get their stuff out there. I suggested creating a market to give back, which included a charity aspect, and Lisa loved it.
I brainstormed with her about the dates, and she said there was nothing in the summer in Arizona. I recruited my friend Nikki (Meier) for marketing, and our first one was in June, our next one is in October, and we’re planning our next one for next June.
What’s the meaning behind the name?
A triangle is a symbol for change, and I was listening to a radio commercial about how pineapples are a symbol for welcoming. Pineapple Triangle rhymed, and I thought it would be a nice mix that was short and sweet but still had a lot of meaning to it. A lot of people today are scared of welcoming change, and it resonated with me personally to get out of my comfort zone and put myself out there in a different way.
What has gone into planning the events?
We started planning the first event in April, going to all the markets and First Friday Art Walks to get the word out. We had 25 artists and filled the Legend City space in Phoenix with all-local jewelry and T-shirt vendors, such as Knee Deep Denim, Wear Your Roots, Modest Arrogance, pinkcheeky and Just Ruby. All the artists decided a charity to donate at least 20 percent of their proceeds to from that market. We raised $1,300.
For this upcoming one, we have 50 artists, which was our goal. The last event, we were enrolling people up until the week of, so this is very exciting. They’ll again donate 20 percent of their proceeds, and 20 percent of what we raise from the $5 admission price goes towards sponsorship of artists booths for our next market in June. This way, it will be free for some of the artists to participate. We are going to pick the sponsored booths with a lottery system, and hopefully as our company grows, so will our sponsorships, so it will eventually be free for all participating artists.
What do you look for when you’re deciding who to feature at your shows?
They have to be local, handmade items, and that’s pretty much it. We don’t judge the artists when they sign up. I really like getting new artists who have never done shows before because that’s exciting for them to come in and have this Pineapple Triangle market family.
Why is it important for you to incorporate charity into this event?
When people come to the event, not only are they coming and shopping, they get to make a difference and create that ripple effect. Some artists have friends with charities who get to give back to their friends when they sell at our event.
I was talking to an artist today who is donating her proceeds to a friend who has lung cancer and who has a charity. He’s going to sponsor her booth fee. When that happens, I think that’s so awesome to create that opportunity for people to make a difference.
Why is it important to support local vendors?
Phoenix is such a big city, and there are so many local artists. When you support local, a lot of the money stays local, which is huge and makes our city better. I want to live here forever, so I want to support local.
What are your goals?
I really want to get sponsors for this event so it’s free. It’s really important to take the steps to make it a nonprofit, which we’ll hopefully do by next year, so when people sponsor, I can give them a tax credit. I want to give local artists a platform to help them grow their companies.
I’d also like to do some themed mini-markets in-between the bigger events.
What stands out to you about the local design community?
It’s definitely comfortable fashions, as well as designs that represent Arizona. There’s a great local vibe in Phoenix, so those things sell really well.
Learn about Pineapple Triangle vendors: