MarninSaylor is primarily a handmade toy company owned by husband and wife, Thomas Marnin and Skye Saylor. They focus on crafting uncommon objects that include plush toys like their famous Donut Cat and many other adorable creatures.
The business started in the Day stall Crafts Market of Pike Place Market in November 2013. There they made toys and a few other handmade goods. In 2019 they opened their first Brick and Mortar store in the market to expand Pastry Pets and accessories.
Marnin and Saylor as kids had always been interested in crafting and creating things.
“We met in art school and by that time Skye was making stuffed animals and things just as a hobby,” said Marnin.
The Donut Cat was one of the first creations by Saylor. The Donut Cat originally started out as a pencil sketch of two of her favorite things combined. Saylor posted the cat online to show her friends and they asked her to make them some as gifts. Marnin offered to help sew and it became a fun project for them to do together. This sparked their interest that helped jump-start their business.
“It’s just a hobby that got out of control is what I always say,” said Marnin.
From Passion to Success
Neither Marnin nor Saylor had a business background. Yet, they wanted to turn their passion project into a business venture. In 2018, Skye took a Grow and Thrive class at Business Impact NW. The class helped them articulate their vision and have a better sense of their business plan.
“That was really helpful for me and kind of helped set the framework in place for the growth that we are able to achieve in the last couple of years since then,” said Saylor.
Marnin and Saylor don’t always see MarninSaylor as a job - but as a lifestyle. So much of their time is dedicated to their business.
“It’s not just the story that you tell, it’s like you lived it so you have it in you,” said Marnin. “In some ways that’s also what makes it challenging because it becomes so much of who you are that it doesn’t leave space for personal types of growth because you are so focused on the business.”
Marnin and Saylor not only value, but take pride in their community.
“Pike Place Market is really our community and it is a community in the truest sense of the word in that there are business owners, workers, day stallers, residence, as well as people that use all of the social surfaces that we have in the market like the foodbank, childcare, NeighborCare, health clinic, senior center, all sorts of things.”
Saylor had just recently joined the board for the Pike Place Market Foundation. She had been volunteering with them for the past couple of years which became something she is deeply passionate about.
“I’m really excited to be officially part of the foundation now and help guide the values that the foundation stands for and keep the market community strong and healthy,” said Saylor.
A Team That Shines
For the holidays, Marnin and Saylor have decided to step back and let their employees handle the holidays. MarninSaylor has a total of eight employees that work with Marnin and Saylor.
“Our strategy is to have some family time which we have been neglecting for the holidays for seven years,” said Marnin.
The market is busy when people traditionally enjoy their free time like on weekends, holidays, and summer breaks. This year, Marnin and Saylor plan to step back to attend to familial responsibilities.
“We don’t have anything in particular specially planned [for the shop],” said Marnin. “We’re still growing into the storefront because we opened the store right before lockdown just a couple of months before.”
Marnin and Saylor plan on taking a step back and letting their employees shine and do what they do best. Marnin says it is a celebration for them in
their own way.
“Small business Saturday will be the two-year anniversary of our store opening,” said Skye. “I don't know if we’re actually going to plan anything for it. We personally won’t be there for it but it’s a cool milestone regardless.”
Marnin said one of the cool parts of their job is they can grow their business and hand off responsibilities. They love having a team with a shared goal where everyone is working towards the same thing.
“Skye and I are good at a lot of things but we aren’t great at a lot of things and the people that work for us bring their thoughts and their capabilities to help us grow it in a better way,” said Marnin.
MarninSaylor’s mission is to create uncommon objects to inspire joy and wonder while emphasizing craftsmanship, ethical practices, and memorable experiences.
About the author
Crystal Tucker is a senior at Western Washington University, majoring in Public Relations Journalism. She enjoys dogs, sketching, and being outdoors. Crystal is devoted to writing about people's passions and interest and hopes that her writing inspires others along the way as it does for her.