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Meet Blaine Tiongson of Momma Pots

Today we’d like to introduce you to Blaine Tiongson.

Hi Blaine, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I was born and raised in Lakeside, CA and I was very lucky to grow up on a few acres of land where we had groves of trees, two ponds, two creeks (yes, with crawdads!) and endless space to run. As a kid, I loved exploring the outdoors! I have always been captivated by nature and aware of all the natural beauty surrounding me. For that reason, East County has a very special place in my heart and it’s been wonderful starting my family here.

I spent most of my professional life in the restaurant industry and truly enjoyed the complexities of opening and managing multiple restaurants. I gained so much business experience and knowledge during those years. I can definitely attribute much of my success to the lessons I learned during that time and especially from the incredible, inspiring mentors I had along the way.

Shortly after welcoming my daughter, Keegan, into the world, I was struggling with post-partum and I was honestly at a bit of a crossroads trying to figure out what was next for me. I needed to feel better. So I spent more time outdoors and turned to nature. I poured my heart and soul into designing and planting a beautiful and extensive garden in my backyard. I felt so alive! And I thought, “How do I share this feeling with others?” Then I had an ‘ah-ha’ moment and thought, “what about pots?!” I believed that if I could create a beautiful vessel for people’s plants that enhanced the natural beauty within, others might experience the thrill of seeing their own plants thrive and come to further appreciate their natural surrounding. The excitement and beauty is boundless — flowers blooming, trees dancing in the wind, succulents growing babies!

From that moment on, I started going pot crazy! I learned to mix and pour my own concrete and started painting the pots with custom designs that I had created. I was really inspired by geometric designs and found inspiration everywhere – fashion, nature, music etc. The name Momma Pots actually comes from Keegan, who, while learning to speak at two years old and witnessing all the pots all over our house and garage, kept saying, “Momma… pots?” And thus, our name was born!

I never imagined that my passion project would turn into a full-blown business. This has been such an incredible experience and every day, I am amazed that Momma Pots now includes two collections, Gemstone & Hand-Painted, and are now carried in shops all over the country. I can attest to the therapeutic benefits of Mother Nature and intertwining that passion with my work has been, and continues to be, incredibly fulfilling.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Entrepreneurship is tough and I think that most business owners would agree that smooth roads are rare. You name the struggle, I’ve faced it! Partnerships gone wrong, funding, sourcing materials, staffing, and not to mention almost bankrupting my family! I experienced some internal struggles as well, like having ‘imposter syndrome’ and questioning myself. Despite all the challenges, I have found that nothing worth having comes easy and when you believe in yourself and surround yourself with supportive and uplifting people, anything is possible!

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Momma Pots was founded on the belief that nature grounds and connects us all. I wanted to create pots that not only looked beautiful but were also functional. From a design standpoint, I made sure to include drainage holes and water trays to keep plant parents happy and their plants thriving! Practicing green standards was also super important and close to my heart and our Gemstone Collection is made of eco-friendly, High Fired Porcelain, while our Hand-Painted Collection is made of eco-friendly terracotta. Additionally, the entire collection is food-grade, allowing for a variety of uses. I am a HUGE color lover, so our Gemstone Collection also boasts unique colorways that you will not find anywhere else, ensuring to compliment any space.

Our collections have been so well received and I am so proud to see my pots carried in some of the most amazing and beautiful plant shops in the country. I still experience that ‘pinch-me’ moment every time I see my pots on display. I am also proud by the fact that I didn’t give up. Truth be told, there were many times that I wanted to, but I kept on pushing and I take pride in the example that I’ve set for my children.

What were you like growing up?
If you could meet my son, Grey, then you’d know what I was like! I was an adventurous ball of energy and whether it was digging for crawdads in the mud or fishing with my dad, I loved spending as much time as possible exploring outside. I was also very determined and slightly (chuckle) competitive, so I also spent many years playing softball with an amazing group of friends.

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