Natalia Martinez: Nurturing Purpose Amidst the Chaos – Palette
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Natalia Martinez: Nurturing Purpose Amidst the Chaos

By Natalia Martinez

They say small business ownership is not for the faint of heart and you hear it and think “Yeah, it’ll be hard…” but then you go into it and HOLY BOLOGNA, IT IS SO MUCH HARDER. As an owner of two businesses (because why not multiply the difficulty level?) and mother of two young children, I feel constantly caught between the challenges of meeting the demands of entrepreneurship with family responsibilities. The constant juggle between meetings and pickups, client calls and bedtime routines, etc…it can often feel exhausting and overwhelming. But the most surprising hardship that has come from owning two small businesses has not been from the daily tasks and projects, but from the amount of pressure and expectations I have been placing on myself trying to achieve in a way that isn’t true to me. Achieving balance is hard, but I didn’t realize what an unreasonable boss I could be to myself (and the whole point of leaving my previous work was because of its toxic environment…I WAS WORSE and it’s not like I can quit being me, as much as I try to).

This past winter season, after being a little over two years in business and coming into my 41st year looping the sun, my body and brain decided to very loudly communicate to me to stop and reflect; take a moment to see where I am and what am I doing. I found that I was putting immense pressure on myself to conform to conventional norms and mimic the strategies of others. I lost sight of who I am, why I embarked on this entrepreneurial journey in the first place, and have been feeling lost at sea.

As spring arrives and the Earth awakens from its wintry slumber (a few times because its NY and it definitely hits the snooze button several times before it is actually spring), I’m focusing on two thoughts:

Embrace Myself
We each possess a set of skills, talents, flaws, outlooks, and passions that set us apart from everyone else. Instead of trying to do the thing like it’s been done and or ‘the right way’, I am going to embrace what makes me ME and work with it, not against it. I need a little bit of chaos to keep me engaged which has translated into owning two businesses and serving on a small business board. I like creating offerings, programs, events, and opportunities that can serve the community and world at large. So I’m going to do that, at the scale that I can for now, because I am one human, and I’m going to be ok with that (small scale is important too!).

Anchor Myself in My Purpose
Throughout my life, I’ve always wanted to make a positive impact on the environment and my community, and that has become especially relevant after having kids. So this purpose to serve and highlight a diverse community is imbued into every aspect of my businesses. From product selection, toys, festivals, classes, bilingual services, formula/diaper donation, consignment, they all go back to my purpose to serve and are my guiding light through the ups and downs. The beauty of a purpose-driven mission is not only attracting like-minded customers and collaborators but also fostering a sense of fulfillment and meaning in the work.

So as I go forward, I am excited that as an entrepreneur I have the freedom and flexibility to shape my businesses in alignment with my nature, my values, and purpose. I am embracing my success as not just profits and bottom lines but whether I was able to connect, raise someone’s spirits, collaborate with other businesses, and provide information for caregivers and customers. By loving my unique self and prioritizing a mission that gives back to the community and the environment, I am hopefully creating a little corner in the universe that will leave a meaningful impact—one small engagement at a time.




Instagram/Facebook: @playhollow & @nmartinezslp
Website: &
Email: [email protected] & [email protected]

Natalia is the owner of Play Hollow, a children’s retail and play space featuring eco-friendly and sustainable apparel and toys, bilingual/bicultural books and caregiver resources. She is also the owner of Natalia M Martinez SLP, PLLC, a bilingual speech-language pathology private practice offering monolingual and bilingual classes, programs, and therapy services focusing on fostering language development and family connection. You can find out more on her websites: and and follow on social media @playhollow on Instagram and Facebook.