617.501.4008 cara@carasoulia.com
A Mother’s Work:  Stacy Madison | Founder, Stacy’s Pita Chips, Stacy’s Juice Bar, and BeBOLD Foods

A Mother’s Work:  Stacy Madison | Founder, Stacy’s Pita Chips, Stacy’s Juice Bar, and BeBOLD Foods

Meet Stacy Madison. She is the Co-Founder of Stacy’s Pita Chips and Stacy’s Juice Bar in Needham, Massachusetts.  Stacy is also the founder of a new venture: BeBOLD energy bars.

Photos by Boston photographer Cara Soulia.

Boston photographer Portrait of Stacy Madison

A Mother’s Work:  Stacy Madison | Founder of Stacy’s Pita Chips, Stacy’s Juice Bar and BeBold Foods

Website |Instagram

One of my very pasttimes is to listen to business podcasts while I’m editing photos. One of my very favorite podcast is How I Built This podcast with Guy Raz on NPR. I was so thrilled when I realized Guy interviewed Needham’s very own Stacy Madison last May.  I always knew the founder of Stacy’s Juice Bar was also the founder of Stacy’s Pita Chips, but I never knew all that transpired in between those two business ventures. And now she’s adding in #3: BeBold Foods.

I was so inspired by Stacy’s story: her candor about divorce, raising twin girls as a single mom, her battle with breast cancer, and the struggles of being a working mom.  I knew she was a perfect candidate for my A Mother’s Work portrait series and was thrilled that she agreed to participate.

I met up with Stacy at the juice bar in October and she was just as down to earth as I expected. Read on to learn more.

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Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?

I grew up in Upstate New York but moved to Sharon, Massachusetts when I was 13 years old. Growing up we didn’t have cell phones or the internet so we made our own fun. We played outside, rode bikes, pulled wagons with the lawnmower and played with fire in the woods. All the things you do as a kid when you don’t have a phone! I moved to Sharon in my freshman year of high school, so that was difficult. I didn’t know anybody and everyone had their friends from junior high.

Was there something that influenced your path to becoming an entrepreneur? When did that turning point happen?

I think two people influenced my path to becoming an entrepreneur. One my father who a psychologist but he always had entrepreneurial ventures on the side. I think he wanted to be an entrepreneur but he was a psychologist with a family to support so entrepreneurial ventures were too risky. Second my sister, I saw her running other businesses and starting her own so I saw firsthand that it was achievable. The turning point for me was when I was living in Hawaii and working for a startup operation. I learned how to run a business and the amount of work that went into it. Unfortunately, I was called into a meeting where I thought I was getting a promotion and I unexpectedly got fired. So at that point, I took what I learned from that company both what to do and what not to do, and began my journey.

You’re literally a brand in many homes, but you’re more than famous pita chips. You’re a mom, a friend, boss, community member. If you could give yourself an attribute as a brand, what would you want it to be? 

If I could give my brand an attribute I would want it to be inclusion, humanist, realist but ultimately BOLD. BOLD to me is something that inspires you and others to be the best versions of yourselves you can be. I teach my kids to take a second before anything they do and reflect if they are being a leader or a follower. I’ve taken that parenting motto and turned it into a brand.

What was it like raising two babies/ young children while running your business? What were the hardest things? What was the gift? 

And, what’s it like with teenagers?

Boston photographer

I would describe raising two babies while running my business as a run-away train. There is no slowing down. The hardest thing was that I had to make a lot of scarifies to have the future we have today. I missed out on the first few years of their lives but I had to do what I needed to do. On the bright side, I was able to be flexible and make my own schedule, and if I needed to I would just bring the girls to work with me. Now that they are teenagers it is much easier. I still worry but I worry about them differently. It is so rewarding to watch them grow and become women. I’ve watched them become leaders and stand up for others who may not feel like they have a voice. All the things that make you proud as a parent because you are no longer only meeting their needs but seeing them grow into the people you wanted them to become.  

How would you describe each of your children? What are some of your children’s favorite foods/juices?

I would describe one as an overachiever and the other as a free spirit. Their favorite foods are steak and pasta. They love acai bowls from the juice bar because they first had them in Brazil when they were younger and they still love them today.

Why Needham for the Juice Bar? 

I chose Needham for the Juice Bar because I live the Westwood but Needham had a better town center. With it only being 5 minutes away it’s been a great place to run my passion project.

Boston photographer captures Stacy Madison at the Juice Bar in Needham, MA Boston photographer Boston Photographer Stacy's Juice Bar Needham Boston photographer

Do you have a favorite item at the Juice Bar?

I eat at the Juice Bar every day so I rotate what I get, but my current favorite is the toasted salmon avocado sandwich with a cashew spread. My favorite juice is the detox lemonade and my favorite smoothie is the acai bowl or grasshopper smoothie.

Community clearly matters to you — why?

The Juice Bar has made an unexpected difference in the community. Being there for people if they want to make a healthy choice has changed lives.

What is one of the best pieces of business advice (or life advice?) that someone has given you?

Listen more than you speak. I have not only used this with my kids but also with employees and people who are upset. When I listen I avoid sticking my foot in my mouth. I also like to look at each day as a new page in a book. We have the opportunity to write it ourselves and control what our future looks like.

What advice would you give someone asking: I’d love to start my own small business but don’t know where to start.

You’re lucky because you have more resources than I had back when I started my company. Immerse yourself into the industry. If it happens to be the food industry read books, attend trade shows, walk around grocery stores, start living and breathing it first. Then turn to local organizations. For food, there is a specialty food association that will have great advice for new ventures and entrepreneurs.

Is there a promotion I can share with my local audience for Stacy’s Juice Bar? Or for the BeBold Bars?

Between 2/5 – 2/14  anyone who mentions “Cara” (That’s Me!) or this blog post gets a free BeBOLD bar with a $10 purchase. 
 

Website |Instagram Read more features from the A Mother’s Work series here!


Cara Soulia is a Boston Photographer who specializes in creating beautiful, natural images 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. 

A Mother’s Work:  Nicole Ledoux, CEO & Co-Founder | 88 Acres

A Mother’s Work: Nicole Ledoux, CEO & Co-Founder | 88 Acres

Meet Nicole Ledoux. She is the CEO and Co-Founder of 88 Acres, based out of Dorchester, Massachusetts.  

88 Acres makes craft seed bars, seed butters and seednola from simple wholesome ingredients.  Their products are free of nuts, dairy, gluten, soy, and a number of other popular allergens, which is pretty amazing for those who suffer from allergies, but the best part is that their products are absolutely delicious!!

Nicole co-founded 88 Acres with her husband Rob Dalton.  Both Rob and their son Emmett suffer from food allergies, which is why it was so important for them to create a company that makes allergen safe products.  

The story of how 88 Acres was born is amazing and I hope you will read on to learn more about this wonderful local business.  Also, don’t miss the coupon at the end of this post to take advantage of 20% off an order of 88 Acres products!

 

A Mother’s Work:  Nicole Ledoux | CEO/Co-Founder 88 Acres

Website |Instagram

I first met Nicole about 15 years ago when we worked together at a finance company in Boston.  We were ‘cube-mates’ and sat next to each other every day, all day for years!  Needless to say, we got to know each other pretty well.  Looking back on that time, I remember how Nicole always used to be the one bringing in delicious snacks that she had whipped up in her kitchen the night before.  If only we knew then what her late night kitchen tinkering would eventually become!  I’m so thankful to have had that time with Nicole and I’m so proud of the success she and her husband Rob have achieved with 88 Acres.   

Tell me the story of how 88 acres was born.
 
The story of 88 Acres is really a love story. My now-husband and co-founder, Rob Dalton, and I met on match.com back when that was the only way to meet online. On our 4th date, we were out to dinner and he almost died when his dinner was cross-contaminated with nuts. Rob is deathly allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, and I don’t have any food allergies. Honestly, I didn’t want to eat crappy “allergy-friendly” food for the rest of my life (and neither did he!). I started making him snacks in our tiny basement apartment kitchen that he and I could share together and 88 Acres was born.
 
What is the most challenging thing about running your own business and raising a family at the same time and how do you manage it?
There is basically no work/life balance, and I’m okay with that. I actually think that work/life balance is a mystical unicorn that doesn’t exist. We love what we do and we’re passionate about making 88 Acres successful. That’s not a 9 to 5 job. When we’re at the office, we are heads down cranking out as much work as possible before one of us has to leave to pick up our son Emmett at 5:15. Most nights he begs to go to the office before we go home. He’s obsessed with our team and loves coming to the office to help take out the trash, water the plants, and watch the commuter rail out the window. We go home, eat dinner and enjoy uninterrupted time together and don’t check cell phones or laptops until after Emmett goes to sleep. After we eat dinner, we usually do a few more hours of work before heading off to bed. It’s madness, but we make it work. I love that Emmett is exposed to our business and gets to see his mom and dad working their tails off. I hope it teaches him to work hard, take risks, and surround himself with passionate people.  
 
What’s the story behind the name?  
 
I grew up on an 88-acre farm in North Brookfield, MA, and the core tenets of the company and the brand today are an extension of that experience. 
 
What was your career before becoming CEO of 88 acres?
I spent a decade in finance before launching 88 Acres, in various trading and portfolio management roles. Before meeting Rob, I definitely never thought I would leave finance to start a food company!

When you were little, was there something specific you wanted to be when you grew up?
When I was little, my family used to tell me that I would make an excellent lawyer (let’s just say that I enjoyed arguing my cause from a young age…). At one point I wanted to be the first female president. I think I just wanted to be in charge of something, which I suppose, is pretty fitting.
 
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 – the good the bad the ugly 🙂
Working with your spouse is definitely not for everyone. I actually love it though. Rob and I have very different, almost opposite skill sets and personalities that really complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Starting a business is such an all-encompassing endeavor and I can’t imagine doing this with anyone other than Rob. There’s no one that I trust more, and our marriage and business partnership requires that we sort out all our differences at the end of the day, so nothing from work can sit and simmer. We spend a LOT of time together though, so we try to make sure that we get some time away from each other every once in a while (doing yoga, going for a run, etc).
 
What is one of the best pieces of business advice that someone has given you?
Have a network of other entrepreneurs that you can bounce ideas off of, and vent to. It can be pretty lonely being the boss, and other founders know what that’s like. 
 
There are so many granola bars and seed butters on the market.  What sets 88 acres apart from all the rest?
Everything that we have created and launched started with tinkering in our kitchen – initially at home and eventually in our office R&D kitchen. We don’t create food in a lab based on a specific set of analytic parameters. We aim to create foods that taste amazing and meet an unmet need in a category. If it doesn’t pass the taste test with our team, family and friends, then it doesn’t make it in front of potential partners, let alone coming to market. We believe that we’re driving innovation across brand, protein sources and approachable, yet unique flavors. 
 
I’ve been eating your granola bars since the beginning, but your seed butter is new for me!  It’s delicious all by itself, but I’d love to hear your favorite way to eat 88 acres seed butter? 
This one is tough because there’s so many amazing ways to enjoy seed butter. I love to add it to my smoothies and bowls of oatmeal in the morning. I also love challenging myself to come up with interesting seed butter and jelly pairings for a killer SB&J sandwich (chocolate sunflower seed butter with jalapeno apple jelly is a current favorite). Our watermelon butter is an amazing base for salad dressings and sauces. But since we launched our seed butter in single serve squeeze pouches, you’re most likely to see me eating it straight up from the pouch. 

Is there a coupon code I can share with my audience?  

Yes, use the code SOULIAPHOTO  for 20% off the entire order, one use per customer)

    Website |Instagram  

Read more features from the A Mother’s Work series 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. 

A Mother’s Work:  Jordan Fuller & Sheryl Scipione | Owners, The Glass Bar, Needham, MA

A Mother’s Work: Jordan Fuller & Sheryl Scipione | Owners, The Glass Bar, Needham, MA

Meet Sheryl Scipione & Jordan Fuller. They are glass artists and owners of The Glass Bar in Needham, Massachusetts. They are also mother and daughter.  

A Mother’s Work:  Sheryl Scipione & Jordan Fuller | Owners, The Glass Bar

Website |Instagram

I first discovered The Glass Bar when my son was invited to a birthday party that took place in the glass studio.  I had never seen glass work done before and it was so intriguing to watch and really fun for my son to learn.  It wasn’t long before I came back with my daughter for drop in hours and we made our first mosaic together.  After that, we were hooked!  We started coming in for drop in hours pretty regularly.  Working with glass is so fun and relaxing, but the best part is that no two projects ever look the same.  And although you might have a vision for what your final piece will look like as you’re making it, there is such a fun sense of surprise when you see it after it’s been fired in the kiln.

Over the course of my visits to the Glass Bar, I’ve had the honor to get to know Jordan and to hear her and her mother Sheryl’s incredible story about how they both battled cancer at the same time and came to love glass art as a method of therapy while they were undergoing their treatments.  It is so obvious when you meet them how much they love each other and how passionate they are about their craft and their business.  I am thrilled to feature The Glass Bar in my A Mother’s Work portrait series.  

Tell me the story of how The Glass Bar began.  

The idea for The Glass Bar has evolved greatly over the course of the past few years. In the beginning, we were called Arte Mozzafiato (Breathtaking Art, Italian): a space focused on supporting many different types of art and artists. The idea began in 2011 when my mother (Sheryl) and I were both going through treatment for cancer. Surrounding ourselves with art, beauty, and creativity was the best way for us to cope with all of the ugliness that we faced on a daily basis. Originally manifested during a bleak time in our lives, The Glass Bar has transformed into a beautiful and comforting space for not only us, but also the many different types of people who join us for classes regularly.  

Briefly describe The Glass Bar: who can come, what kind of projects are there, why is it fun, etc?  The Glass Bar is a fun and interactive glass studio that focuses on bringing glass art as a medium to the community. Over the past couple decade’s glass art has decreased in accessibility due to the lack of studios and the expense of classes/materials, making it very difficult for many to try this medium.

We are very passionate about keeping glass art alive and accessible, which is why we have developed a teaching technique that allows people as young as 6 to learn the techniques of glass cutting and fusing. If you come in during drop-in hours, you will have the ability to choose your project (plate, nightlight, coaster, etc) and learn how to cut and design glass. Though you do not get to take your project home that day, each participant leaves proud, knowing he/she has made a fused glass masterpiece.

We also teach stained glass sessions in 1-day introduction sessions, as well as more advanced 6-week sessions. We are constantly researching and introducing new classes: in our future we are looking into frit painting classes and lead-caming, plus many more classes offering an introductory insight to new glass art techniques.

Drop-in hours are held Sat & Sun 12-5pm, in addition to days that schools are out/released early. Specialty classes & private lessons can be scheduled throughout the week. View our calendar for a list of upcoming classes:  www.theglassbarboston.com/classes

What is your favorite part about owning a business with your mother? People always tell you not to go into business with friends or family, and it has been hard. But at the end of every long night or sleepless weekend there’s my mom with me. The hardest was in the beginning as we learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses when it came to running the business. Now that we have learned how to properly and effectively deal and communicate with each other we are closer than ever, we even spent two weeks traveling through Western Europe together last year. I don’t know anyone else who could put up with me for this long and still love me unconditionally.

What do you find is the most challenging thing about running your own business?

Sheryl: The hardest part is balancing my work schedule between two businesses, (Bookkeeping & the Glass Bar) raising my kids with their crazy schedule and finding time to socialize.  The bookkeeping business kept the bills paid.  I could work around my kids schedule and I got to work with some great people.  Having The Glass Bar is great because I get to be creative.  I love working with others to teach them (more…)

A Mother’s Work:  Tanya Philbin-Chin, Zinnia Designs

A Mother’s Work: Tanya Philbin-Chin, Zinnia Designs

Meet Tanya Philbin-Chin. She is a ceramic artist and owner of Zinnia-Designs, based out of Needham, Massachusetts. Tanya makes custom designed dishes and tiles for weddings, engagements, newborn baby footprints and so much more. In addition to running her business, Tanya is also a wife and mother of two. Her son has ADHD and is on the autism spectrum and her lifestyle as an entrepreneur allows her the flexibility she needs to be there for her son.   Read to the end of this post to see Tanya’s advice to other creatives thinking about starting a business and also to take advantage of a special offer on Tanya’s beautiful products!

A Mother’s Work:  Tanya Philbin-Chin | Artist/Owner Zinnia Designs

WebsiteEtsy |Instagram

I first met Tanya at a local charity event in Needham several years ago. Since we are both artists and entrepreneurs, the topic of our businesses is never far from our minds. We hit it off right away.  I always love chatting with other artists who are also entrepreneurs. Even before I saw Tanya’s beautiful ceramic creations, I knew I liked her. She was just as motivated and passionate about her business as I was.

Soon after that night, we met up again at Tanya’s studio. It was so fun to see where all the magic happens –from the kiln and the clay right down to the ribbons and the packaging materials! It is always so interesting to take a peek behind the scenes to see how someone’s business operates!  

Recently I visited Tanya again to have my son’s handprints done on a tile.  It was such a treat to watch Tanya work.  She is a natural with kids and her work is impeccable.  My son has his tile now proudly displayed on his bedroom wall.

It is an honor to feature Tanya in my A Mother’s Work series.

Tell me the story of how Zinnia Designs began.  

I graduated from Massachusetts College of Art in 1998, with a BFA in Ceramics, but the “real world” came calling soon after and I began working full time as a Marketing Manager in 1999. I was really missing my artistic endeavors so in 2004, I decided to start getting my hands dirty in clay again. I began by making tiles with impressions of my close friend’s new babies. Then in 2008, a co-worker introduced me to Etsy and I opened a shop selling ceramic trinket dishes. I continued with my full-time job and growing my ceramics business until I had my first baby in 2009. 

I decided my family and ceramics were now my main focus and didn’t go back to my marketing position. With the help of local family to watch my son, I was able to continue to grow my ceramic business locally doing impressions of baby’s hands and feet in clay along with worldwide Etsy sales of my custom ceramics. Baby #2 arrived 3 years later and again being able to be there for my kids while working from home was perfect for me and my family. I took a little time off, but when you work from home it can be difficult to “take time off”. Today the kids are in school 5 days a week, but it’s important for me to be home and available at 3pm when my son gets dropped off. He has ADHD and is on the Autism Spectrum, so I want to be able to help him with his homework right when he gets off the bus before his ADHD medication wears off. Also having the afternoon available for appointments is convenient, too. 

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

We laugh that I wanted to be a hairdresser for a long time. It actually makes sense because hair styling is a 3 dimensional art. 

What is your favorite part about being your own boss?

I love that I can make my own hours! I can be involved in events at my kids’ school. And we all know kids get sick, so usually it’s easy for me to take care of them by adjusting my studio work schedule. It also allows me to workout 3 mornings a week. 

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

It’s a big challenge to juggle it all! As a mom we have lots of “ balls in the air” and it’s tough when one of those balls bonks you on the head so to speak. One moment I’m making sure we get a refill for my son’s medicine and next I’m emailing a new local business to discuss a partnership all the while I’m thinking about how I should really be working on my Etsy listings! So that leads to the “mom guilt”…it’s easier now that they are older, but when they were little I’d feel guilty being down in my studio and when I was with them I felt guilty I wasn’t in my studio getting work done.   

What is the best piece of advice you can give to other creatives who are thinking of opening their own business?

Beyond the basics (target market, pricing, marketing, accounting…) you have to create a weekly schedule for yourself or you will just get sidetracked and nothing will get done. I do love that I can multi-task household jobs (like laundry) while working in my studio and I’ve been known to pick weeds from the lawn while watching my kiln during the last phase of firing. In your schedule be sure to include time for you- I work out 3 days a week 8-9am and my husband puts our daughter on the bus before starting his day. 

Is there a promo code I can share with my audience for your products?

Yes, use the code CARA2019 to take 15% off your Etsy order!

WebsiteEtsy |Instagram


Read more features from the A Mother’s Work series 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. 

A Mother’s Work:  Paulina Teng, PT Colormarket

A Mother’s Work: Paulina Teng, PT Colormarket

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

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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.  
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  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.

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  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.   

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  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.

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Valentine’s Day original bracelet | $26.

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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.  

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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. 

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