Some of the most beautiful Polish pottery on the East Coast is nestled amid rolling hills, hidden down back roads, and tucked into the basement of a sprawling farmhouse in Maryland. A visit to Twins Polish Pottery is not just a shopping trip; it is an excursion and coffee with a friend when you get there!
It is exciting to introduce Holly Trevino and Jenny Puckett in the debut feature of Bold Pursuits: Conversations With Women Who Are Redefining Possible! Holly and Jenny are identical twins and owners of Twins Polish Pottery.
The time I spent talking with them, visiting their store, and touring their farm was truly a treasured experience. I even got a peek inside their home, the “Twinplex!” We laughed, we cried, and I left with two new friends.
I also left with inspiration and a new definition of “success.” I hope after you read the very end of this article, you feel the same!
Meet Holly & Jenny of #TwinsPolishPottery - 2 sisters, 1 bold dream! #BoldPursuits @twinspottery Click To Tweet
Jenny and Holly have always been entrepreneurs. As young children, they drew pictures and sold them for a nickel. Their artistic ability improved and so did their products; they built and sold dollhouses, saddle racks, and wooden reindeer. By junior high they were horse traders (literally!), buying, caring for, and then selling horses.
The twin sisters always knew they would work together someday. It wasn’t until the Army took Holly to Germany, halfway across the world from her sister, that they discovered the answer: Polish pottery.
When Holly’s family moved to Germany, the sisters created an “ICU Fund” (sounds so official, doesn’t it? 😉 ) to save for visits “across the pond.” After moving back to the States, they used money remaining in the fund to purchase their first shipment of pottery. Today they import enough pottery to fill two 40 foot containers a couple of times a year. However, their first shipment was so small, they paid more for shipping than for the product!#BoldPursuits: Conversations w/women redefining POSSIBLE! Talking dreams & logistics @twinspottery! Click To Tweet
Holly and Jenny always dreamed of living near each other and eventually their families settled on the same street in Bowie, Maryland. They operated their business out of their homes, and slowly but surely it grew. Pottery filled garages, backyard sheds, even an offsite sea shipping container. As the number of customers visiting their homes grew, it became evident to everyone that a new location was necessary.
And so began the hunt for the fulfillment of yet another childhood dream — a little piece of land their families could enjoy.
Their Farm and “Twinplex”
A long search and some very creative thinking resulted in the establishment of Blueberry Hill in 2005. This property combines the dream of “living near each other” and “having a little piece of land” in an exceptional and unconventional way!
By pooling their resources, they were able to purchase 58 beautiful acres and build their amazing farmhouse — the “Twinplex” — which is home not just for their two families, but also their business. A carriage house on the property also provides space for their parents.
The farmhouse is inspired by the unique architectural details of older homes. “How old is it?” is the greatest compliment Holly and Jenny can receive about their home.
Thinking outside the typical house box, they designed the Twinplex — a single building which holds two very distinct homes. The house is divided by each family’s square footage needs rather than equally. They shared a vision for the exterior appearance of the farmhouse, however, the interior homes are very unique. Two distinct floor plans, connected by doorways in an interior wall, reflect the individuality of the families who live there.'Twinplex'-a farmhouse that is home to twins, 2 families and a business! #BoldPursuits @twinspottery Click To Tweet
The basement that stretches under both homes contains the store, warehouse and work areas for the business, as well as private family areas. Holly and Jenny both revel in the perks of having a 12 step commute and being able to access their pottery sans crickets, snakes, and extreme temperatures!
Neighbors find their unique setup both fascinating and amusing. The sisters consider it ideal though not without challenges. While their husbands joke about starting a support group for spouses married to twins, Jenny and Holly work hard to balance not just their work and family life, but also the privacy and individuality of their distinct families.
Gorgeous wood was salvaged from a pre-Civil War tobacco barn on the old Bowie Plantation and repurposed in this amazing barn! Perhaps one day Holly and Jenny will be able to offer horse and cart rides through the beautiful vineyards that surround their property.
Love your customers and love your product.
The sisters believe their greatest assets are simply “we love people and we love what we sell.” Indeed, exceptional customer service is a hallmark of Twins Polish Pottery. When I asked if they were strategic about this, they looked at me blankly and joked that they never really planned anything — until recently they wrote carbon copy receipts, maintained a handwritten inventory, and operated an outdated website!
Later, Holly rounded back to this question. She explained that the business, and especially their customers, are their outlet. On particularly bad days when her daughter was really sick (we talk more about this later in this post), customers often sit and pray with her, offer encouragement, or give a simple hug.
Customer service is a natural byproduct of their for love people. Jenny explains, “We especially have a heart for elderly people. We have the time to sit and listen if a customer wants to talk, and sometimes you can just sense their loneliness. They may leave happier, but we get more out of it than they do.”
Know your market.
If you want a sustainable business, make sure there is a need for your business/product. There must also be enough money in your area to purchase your product/service, especially if it is a specialty item!
Their REAL Success
As we talked about the realization of their dream of owning a business, they told me about other ways they have seen God’s hand at work through their unique venture. Both Jenny and Holly have needed to homeschool one of their children because of special circumstances. Their non-traditional setup has allowed them to be home with their children and still run a successful business.
Holly sums it up well. “This is a dream bigger than any dream I’ve ever dreamed in my life, and I’m a pretty big dreamer. It has brought us here (to this property). It has enabled us to stay at home and raise our kids – what a gift. If I worked outside the home, I would have lost my job when Haley got sick.”
Holly’s daughter, Hayley, has struggled with Lyme Disease for years. Holly tearfully recalled the many times Jenny has been right there to hold her up. She spoke of pre-dawn trips to hospitals and leaving her younger children asleep with open interior doors to Jenny’s home. She also spoke of moments when the pain of her daughter’s suffering became overwhelming.
“And when I couldn’t handle it, Jenny would just come over and pray with Haley. Sometimes I would just max out and I would come over and not even say anything. And Jenny would go sit with Haley and read Scripture and pray with her when she was in so much pain. … It’s been so good. Not perfect, but as good as it gets. … Haley being really sick is still so hard to talk about, but there’s still so much blessing in it. Family is a blessing.”
Their Polish pottery business has enabled them to define “success” on their own terms. All three of us cried a little as they reflected on what success has come to mean to them:
It’s freedom to be there for your family. It’s customers who become friends and whose shopping trips are an opportunity to sit with coffee and conversation. It’s looking back and realizing that, despite your many mistakes, you wouldn’t change where you are or the journey that brought you here.Pursuing their dream has allowed them to define success on their own terms. #BoldPursuits @twinspottery Click To Tweet
'This dream's bigger than any I’ve ever dreamed, & I’m a pretty big dreamer.' #BoldPursuits @twinspottery Click To Tweet
If you live nearby, plan a trip to visit Twins Polish Pottery! They’ve recently received a fresh shipment, so visit their brand new website and select a Christmas gift for someone special — or yourself!
This is NOT a sponsored or compensated post. I simply love Holly and Jenny’s story! It is an honor to share it with you in my Bold Pursuits series.