A Mother’s Work: Paulina Teng, PT Colormarket

by | Jan 23, 2019 | A Mother's Work, Artist Feature, latest sessions

Meet Paulina Teng.  She is a mother, a wife, a teacher, an artist and co-owner of PT Color Market, handcrafted leather jewelry & accessories, based in Franklin, Massachusetts.  Paulina’s business is just in it’s second year, but it is quite clear that she and her husband are creating something special that is sure to last for years to come.

A Mother’s Work:  Paulina Teng | Artist / Co-Owner, PT Color Market

Website| Instagram

I first found PT Color Market when the beautiful leather jewelry products caught my eye on Instagram.  I started following along and loved each and every one of their new products as well as the stories behind the jewelry.  Paulina runs hers business alongside her husband Sean and they are a successful team because they have skill sets complement each other so well.  They are both passionate about the business and their products, but they are also determined to keep a healthy balance between work and family.

I’m so inspired by the fact that Paulina’s parents are both immigrants, who came to the United States determined to start a better life.  They modeled for Paulina what it meant to work hard to achieve a dream.  And as Paulina & Sean achieve their dreams, I love that they make giving back a priority by donating a portion of their product sales to charity.

I had the pleasure of visiting PT Color Market’s workshop and was able to see first hand how much care and attention Paulina and her husband Sean put into each and every product.  It was so fun seeing them in action, working along side each other while casually discussing new products and marketing strategies together.   Not only are Paulina and Sean awesome business partners that make truly beautiful products, they also happen to be pretty wonderful people.  They are both so easy going, friendly and kind — I felt like I could have stayed all day and hung out watching them create their art!

Read on to learn more about Paulina’s journey to become an entrepreneur, how she runs a business with her husband, how she balances work and family life, and how YOU can get 15% off your entire purchase at PT Color Market!   { orders need to be place by 2/9 for shipment in time for Valentine’s Day! }

  1. Tell me the inspiration behind PT Color Market

I have always loved to make things. My parents definitely modeled for me what it meant to be creative.  My mom was always sewing, making her own patterns, quilting, always keeping her hands busy. I remember her and my aunts would talk about fabric and outfits and styles.  It was something that happened all the time and I thought nothing of it. My mom would also make clothes for me and I remember going to buy fabric at the local fabric store.  That was also something we did regularly, something very much a part of my everyday life. But now, looking back, I realize how it it shaped who I am. I cherish those memories much more being a maker myself.

My dad was always coming up with new recipes to try in his restaurant and trying to cook different types of cuisine.  He was always thinking outside of the box and modeled that entrepreneurial mentality that I can do it, I will do it and watch me do it. He, like my mom, modeled what hard work looked like and that they could accomplish anything they set their mind to.

My parents have shaped where I am today because they were risk takers who started from scratch. My mother came here alone from Burma to study for a degree in Textile Engineering in Massachusetts and start a new life in the US. During the 1960’s my dad came to this country from Taiwan and after years of hard work and persistence built a successful Chinese restaurant.  He turned a dream into a reality.

I also admire a lot about my husband, Sean. He continues to be an inspiration to me and amazes me in the things he does.  He was a studio art major at UVM, where we met and since those days, I have seen the range of things that he is able to do with his hands and it blows me away. He can rebuild a car, weld a sculpture, carve a wooden sculpture, sew, make furniture, create and now make jewelry. Surrounding myself with creative minds and having the experiences I have growing up has definitely shaped me, inspires my creativity and brought me to where I am.   

The people I look up to have carved a path for themselves with courage and grit. Jewelry is something I have loved forever and from constantly exploring with art materials and crafts, here we are. I have always dreamed of owning a store with Sean so that we could curate our own collection of goods, art, etc. and PT Color Market has been just that. A dream come true.

  1. I love that your business is a joint effort between you and your husband.  Tell me more about what it’s like to work with your spouse!

I have to be honest when I say I love working with Sean.  We spend a lot of time together creating new designs, problem solving challenges that arise and working together to make the business as seamless as possible.  I love hearing his perspective on things, what his opinion is not only on the creative side of the business, but also the business side. His opinions about managing sales, prices, hours we work, materials we use, etc.  We have different strengths and support each other with new ideas and help improve and make them better.

PTColorMarket-Feature-Boston-Photographer-Cara-Soulia-0013 Having a partner in this business has been so critical to its success. I love having someone to run ideas by and someone to challenge what I think about certain business related issues that come up.  Being creative is a true gift and something I am excited to share with others. There is so much to think about when running your own business, so many details like prices, marketing, packaging, materials, photos and so much more. I feel so lucky to have a partner who I can work with to solve problems and grow a business together.  
PTColorMarket-Feature-Boston-Photographer-Cara-Soulia-0017 PTColorMarket-Feature-Boston-Photographer-Cara-Soulia-0019 PTColorMarket-Feature-Boston-Photographer-Cara-Soulia-0018

  1. What is the most challenging thing about running your own business and raising a family at the same time?

The most challenging thing about running your own business and raising a family at the same time is BALANCE.  When do we stop talking about the business? How long should we work together on orders? When we get orders, it is really still so exciting!  I love seeing that people love our work and want to be a part of it. I truly feel like dancing when we get orders.

We work hard to give our customers the quality they deserve and in a timely manner.  We pride ourselves at getting our orders filled as quickly as we are able. So we prioritize our customers which is so important to us and makes sense. Sean and I both have full time jobs as well. Sean is an arborist and I am a classroom teacher.  We have two children, 9 and 11 years old. They have busy schedules and so do we. We work on PT Color Market business around our work and kiddo schedule. We work mostly around the time the kids go to bed and early in the morning.

This is our second year, we are still growing the business and shaping what we want it to look like.  It has been hard to balance our business time, free time, family time and alone time. It is definitely a juggling act. We are both passionate about making it successful so it is really hard giving ourselves a hard line of quitting time! We are truly passionate about PT Color Market and give it our all. We find that there are ebbs and flows of the business and we are figuring that out as we go.  We often have conversations around how much we are going to work on a daily basis and talk about how we can do our best to spend time on other things.


  1. Tell me more about your Box of Love product and your connection to Strong Women, Strong Girls.

I have really found strength and a passion in supporting other small businesses.  I was thinking after meeting so many wonderful small businesses through this work, it would be great to curate a gift box which included all local and handmade goods from the area.  It would be a way to support and get the word out about a variety of businesses. At the same time, it would provide a great gift that a customer could get for a loved one or friend who also is a supporter of local businesses.  

I wanted to create this box because our business went through a transformation this summer with the support and help of ALL women run businesses. We have to support each other. We have to collaborate and lift each other up. It is definitely part of my philosophy and what I value.  There is strength in working with others and it strengthens our business at the same time.

I also wanted to donate a portion of the sales to a nonprofit organization called, Strong Women, Strong Girls. This is an organization that supports positive mentoring relationships between college women and pre-adolescent girls in underserved communities.  I didn’t know about them until doing a little research but I knew it was going to be a perfect fit for the Box of Love. Their belief in education and helping the girls/women know that success is within their reach which also marries with my passion in education and being a teacher.

Box of Love, containing items handmade by women in the Greater Boston area

  1. When you were little, was there something specific you wanted to be when you grew up?

When I was little, I loved working with children and was babysitting at age ten.  I knew that being a teacher would be a natural progression in my work with kids. I always thought it would be great to own my own store.  When I was little, family friends owned a toy store and I was in awe of it. Since that moment, I wanted to own my own store. It has always been in the back of my mind as something magical about having your own things and selling them.   


  1. There are so many people that sell jewelry.  What sets PT Color Market apart from the rest?

Our use of leather sets us apart from the rest.  We also have a variety of leather that we use. We use designs that are original to us and no one else.  There are other leather jewelry makers out there but we pride ourselves in creating our own line of jewelry that is special to us.  We have really built this business based upon our designs and are proud of sticking to what is truly PT Color Market.

Jewelry makers of all kinds are everywhere.  The market is saturated online, in stores and at shows we participate in. We believe in our products and what we are doing. Our customers love what we are making and how we are able to personalize so many things in our shop.  Personalizing and working with customers is such a fun part of making jewelry for others. It allows their ideas into the process which I think makes a much more personal gift to oneself or to a loved one. Sean and I love being part of that process and I definitely feel that it is one of the aspects of PT Color Market that sets us apart.  

Thin leather heart/mantra bracelets | $22.


Valentine’s Day original bracelet | $26.


Sweetheart Necklace | $25.

Please let me know if there is a coupon code I can share with my newsletter subscribers!

CARA for 15 % off of anything ordered.  

Website| Instagram

Read other A Mother’s Work Stories here!

Cara Soulia is a Boston Family Photographer who specializes in creating beautiful, natural images of families in a unique and artistic way.  See more of Cara’s work here or get in touch to find out more about scheduling a photo session for your family.