Pig & Pepper: Where Curiosity and Quality Meet

Update: This business is closed.

It’s been a long, gloomy winter in Jersey City, and everyone could use a little pep in their step. Enter Pig & Pepper, our city’s unique downtown boutique, “A place where curiosity and quality meet.”

Owners Karen and Lou Galli crossed paths in New York City years ago, when Karen was concentrating on organizational development in a financial firm and Lou, an Air Force veteran, owned a DVD authoring company; they met over a business deal. A romance blossomed and they moved in together in Jersey City in 2010.

The concept for Pig & Pepper came from the couple having backgrounds in different industries, influenced by Alice in Wonderland’s wild imagination. “The creative vision to show something, to tell a story, is very much a part of us. A long time ago, Lou went to school for film-making and I went to school for play-writing. I don’t think you can tell a story, live a fulfilling life, or be a part of a community without being curious. Curiosity is what drives adventure [like Alice’s],” says Karen. “The best adventures of my life have come from being curious. So to be able to induce childlike curiosity, I hope to encourage people to be more playful. Studies have shown that playfulness is directly related to creativity and innovation.”

Items for sale in the boutique are consistently off-the-radar and one-of-a-kind. “My current favorites are the Sample Sale clothing and the refurbished furniture. Yes, we sell Sample Sale clothes. Over the last couple of months, we’ve carried Desigual, Club Monaco, Theory, Paper Denim & Cloth—all new and at least 40% off retail prices. We also have refurbished furniture from Frankly Refurbished, a local guy who takes old furniture and brings the pieces back to life. We do a lot of research. We go to trade shows, read a lot, and just talk to people. We get great recommendations from our customers and friends,” says Karen.

Pig & Pepper’s price points are reasonable, too. Kids toys (and adult desk toys) run from $9.95 to $64.95, averaging at $18. Used clothing is set at $12.95 and used winter coats are $34.95. Lou loves their wood puzzles by Creative Crafthouse, perfect for inquisitive and challenge-seeking minds.

Pig & Pepper’s products are not only cool, but they’re socially responsible as well. “Responsible living is about making choices that help you live your best life and also better the lives of other people and communities,” Karen says. Lou and I care about ‘Made in Jersey City’ companies, artists, and residents. We go out of our way to expand our selection of responsible living products that kids and adults will love. For example, the Cubebot is a wood robot made from sustainably harvested cherry wood, and we carry Threads for Thought apparel, which is made in the U.S., uses organic cotton, and has a philosophy that all employees earn a living wage. Supporting companies that have responsible philosophies about production and HR practices is important to us.”

The philanthropic couple supports the Jersey City community in other ways, too. “I try to listen and observe. Lou and I are always asking one another ‘What else can we do to make a difference?’ Over the winter, I pulled out my shovel nearly every snow storm and shoveled the triangle park at Newark & Monmouth. I kept getting strange reactions, but it was simple to me: Do what you can. Ask yourself, ‘What am I responsible for, and what can I do to make this situation better?’”

The Gallis donate 5% of used sales (clothing, accessories and shoes) to P.S. 5., the neighborhood school. “When I think about community and what I want and need as a resident, it’s involvement from all residents, small businesses and government. If that’s what I need as a resident, then that’s what I want to give as a small business owner.”

Pig & Pepper also supplements the children’s suggested donation fee to JC Laughter Yoga on the second Saturday of each month at the Barrow Mansion. (Laughter yoga is a wellness program structured around laughter to help people/kids meet the challenges of every day situations, people or life in general.)

“We appreciate the support of the community. There isn’t a day that goes by without a Village resident or a small business owner popping into the store to say ‘Hi, how are you today?’” says Karen.

“We were so excited to be able to open a shop in Jersey City, where we live. We were worried about finding a space, being welcomed, and the timing of opening this type of shop. After decades of wanting to always be in Manhattan and Brooklyn, I was swooned by JC. Please, don’t make me take the PATH every day again,” Karen jokes. “I love Jersey City. People are chill and laid back, but at the same time aware and ready.”

I think we can all agree with that.

Photo courtesy of Pig & Pepper

Gia Portfolio

is a book editor, copywriter, and contributing writer for various online publications. She loves to wander, learn, create and discover, which led her to create Jersey City Gal, a place where she promotes local businesses and shares her experiences with the Jersey City community.