Andrew Pignanelli

Peach Schilling, Staff Writer

A normal Utah family wanted to get away from the cold in December of 2015, so the Pignanellis headed out for a holiday vacation. Ironically, in Palm Springs, California, the temperature high was only 60 degrees fahrenheit.
The Pignanellis couldn’t hit the pools, so instead they hit the movie theater.
The Big Short may have just started it all for Andrew Pignanelli, Highland’s 2018-2019 Business and Marketing Sterling Scholar. Although Pignanelli had some prior experience with business through family and local camps, this film started something he continues to do to this very day.
The true story of a handful of investors betting against the U.S. mortgage market and finding the truth of how corrupt it really was drew Pignanelli in to a point where all he could talk about was stocks.
“Still, to this day, I call it the most influential two hours and ten minutes of my life,” Pignanelli said. “So I bought the book while in Palm Desert, I read it in a day, and I got into stock trading.”
That’s how his “full-time job” all began, as he spent dozens of hours learning about the subject online within the next couple of days. Pignanelli then borrowed a sum of money from his father and has made more than he could have ever imagined.
Stock-trading, along with pitching ideas for a whole array of different things, is not easy whatsoever, and although Pignanelli has had great success, he did not get here without lots and lots of hard work.
“Andrew is a scholar,” Suzanne Koehler, a long-time family friend, said. “He loves learning, he loves the stock market, he just wants to soak up knowledge all the time.”
Most teens look at their smartphones to browse their social media feed and to send selfies back and forth with friends. Pignanelli, on the other hand, is constantly looking at his screen to check the stock market.
“There have been weeks where I’ve lost thousands; at one point I nearly lost it all,” Pignanelli said. “But that only made me thirsty for more.”
The struggles Pignanelli has faced with his stock tradings has pushed him to work harder and strive for anything close to perfection.
“He’s always been about dream big, go big.” D’Arcy Pignanelli, Pignanelli’s mom said. “It seems that that’s a lot of what business is.”
There isn’t one second of any day when Pignanelli isn’t worried about his trading. One single moment can be make or break what he has developed. Dreaming big is absolutely necessary.
Over the summer of last year, Pignanelli wanted to experiment with something else. He wanted to sell t-shirts.
As the school year came to a close and more free time was available, he came up with the idea of selling apparel without ever seeing any of it. Squareroot was born. Although the first sale took three months time, it snowballed from there as he got more and more customers.
Although the site got shut down, Pignanelli was receiving a hundred orders per week for months.
“I wasted a hundred dollars before I even got a sale,” he said. “And then someone bought it, I was so hyped.”

He took the money and ran.
“[Andrew’s] comfortable with risk and a lot of other people aren’t,” D’Arcy said. “It’s been very fun to watch.”
Pignanelli continues to be successful with trading stocks and is currently selling travel coffee mugs on Amazon. He is hoping to get an Ivy League education and continue his passion for business as more opportunities come his way.