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Live What You Love

Today's Bird & Bear Collective guest blog post comes from the heart of our friend Paulina Teng of PT Color Market. Paulina and I met through mutual friends, years after I had been wearing her jewelry, not know she lived in the town next door! Needless to say, she has become an entrepreneurial, creative, dream big, live what you love sister! Read how she stepped into her art -- AND -- come on out to meet her this Sunday at her Open Studio event, OR, at The Bird & Bear Collective's Leather Cuffs & Stamped Jewelry Workshop next Wednesday, February 12th!

Hey!  I am the PT behind PT Color Market.  My name is Paulina Teng and my husband, Sean and I run a small handmade online leather jewelry business out of our home in Franklin, MA.  We have two kids, a dog, both work full time and more. PT Color Market is not only our business but it is a passion of mine and is literally a dream come true.  I wanted to share with you how I got here, why I do it, and what my plans/goals are for the future.

How I Got Here?

My parents, John and Ruby Teng were my role models growing up.  They were creative and were constantly using their hands in whatever task they were doing.  My mom, who grew up in Burma, immigrated here to get her masters degree in textile engineering.  She was always sewing. She would make shirts, pants, skirts, you name it for herself, me, my sister and aunts.  She was constantly using her hands to embroider, make quilts, garden, and more. She was always making and I loved picking out fabric with her and dreaming up outfits she was going to make for me.  It was the best.

My dad, who immigrated from Taiwan, ran his own restaurant in Waltham on Moody Street back in the seventies. He worked long days and was able to eventually get a larger restaurant in Brookline, where he was most successful.  He was always creating new dishes, experimenting in the kitchen with different cuisines and showed how cooking was a craft, equally challenging and complex.

My parents ingrained in me what it meant to be a ‘maker’ and even before I launched this business, I was always crafting, learning new things, sewing and more..  

I have always had the dream of owning my own store since I was a little kid.  I always imagined it to be a brick and mortar store, but going online has made it possible for me with much less risk. In 2017 I was able to create a shop on Etsy and then eventually create my own site with some help the following summer. I have always LOVED jewelry and I was experimenting with some leather and worked with Sean to create some basic designs together.   I started bringing in jewelry that I made to teachers I work with and it just took off from there. I continue to work full time as an elementary school teacher and Sean continues as a full time arborist. Sean has his undergraduate degree in Studio Art and is also someone who is always making something and is an integral part of PT Color Market.  

Why Do I Do It?

I LOVE creating things.  I LOVE working with Sean to come up with new designs.  It literally fills me up with JOY to provide beautiful, handcrafted pieces to our customers that are our designs and things we have made with love.  It allows me to model for my children what it can look like to be creative and run a business at the same time. I love sharing with them our new pieces and how we go about running a small business.  Working with Sean is something special and unique to us. We literally work side by side and wouldn’t otherwise do that if we didn’t have this business. I feel so lucky being able to share business problems with someone and work out designs with him.  I love our work and am so proud of what we have accomplished while working full time, raising kids and all the other duties of life. Working hard and being passionate about something that you believe in and care about makes all the difference. I love to help make custom pieces of jewelry with a mantra for a person going through an illness, for a person who wants to wear her children’s initials, for someone who is looking to get a matching jewelry set for a best friend or daughter and more.  I love that PT Color Market can be a part of peoples’ everyday lives like that. That feels so special and we are honored to do it.  

So many people ask me, where do I find the time? I'll tell you, I work late nights, on weekends, early in the morning, at my lunch break.  I don’t know what is going on with TV because I am constantly working on trying to make this business better.  I wouldn’t change the time I have spent on our business. What we have accomplished this far is something I am so proud of and love to do.  My mantra this year is to LIVE WHAT YOU LOVE. I definitely feel like I am doing just that.  

What Are Next Steps/Goals for the Future?

We are constantly working on growing our business organically.  We have been so fortunate to make so many amazing connections and meet so many interesting people that have supported our small business and have helped us grow.  We are always trying to stay current with new ideas and designs that we can offer our customers. We participate in a number of different in person events, make donations to local events and host/go to jewelry parties to share what we do with others.  At this point, we do wholesale with some businesses but are not sure if we would be able to handle that volume while being a two person operation. Things to think about for the future for sure.

At this time, our goal is to continue to grow our platform by sharing with as many people we can what we do.  Social media is so helpful. Meeting entrepreneurial friends and sisters, like Erin from The Bird & Bear Collective is helping with this too (like the invitation to write this blog post)! Eventually I would love to be so busy that we need to hire some help with the making of our jewelry. That would be so amazing!  

Thank you for listening to my small business story and learning about where I came from, how I got here and what my plans/goals are for the future.  I look forward to what 2020 will bring and will continue to LIVE WHAT YOU LOVE.  

The Bird & Bear Collective adores you PT Color Market -- thank you for sharing your heart and art with us!

Friends -- come meet Paulina -- and step into creating your own pieces with her at our February 12th workshop in the barn! {Register Here}

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