Made in North Carolina: Tar Heel Treasures


By: Lacy McKee

For seemingly every UNC student, running Franklin Street when Carolina beat Duke in men’s basketball is an unforgettable experience. But for Kayle Teague, founder of Tar Heel Treasures, the experience of early March was even more special. While celebrating Franklin after UNC’s victory, something surprising caught Teague’s eye.

“I look up and the girl next to me is literally wearing my earrings,” she said.

A senior at UNC majoring in political science, Teague launched her jewelry business amid the pandemic to fill her free time. What started as a hobby with her roommate soon turned into a student-run business supplying earrings and accessories for game days and other events.

Teague’s interest in jewelry making blossomed at the age of 9 when she created her first wire wrapped bracelets and rings – products she enjoys making to this day. Another item she makes are polymer clay earrings in many shapes and designs, something she admits took a lot of practice to perfect.

Despite her early struggles, with patience she slowly learned what worked for her, which paid off in the long run. Teague’s own collection of accessories is full of bold, colorful designs that reflect her creative and outgoing personality.

“Bigger is better,” Teague said. “It’s more fun that way.”

Starting a new business led to many exciting opportunities for Teague during his time at Carolina. However, one of her greatest accomplishments goes beyond jewelry. Through Tar Heel Treasures, Teague has proudly participated in charity events such as Jewels of Hope, a fundraiser organized by the Carolina Women in Business student organization to support the Orange County Rape Crisis Center.

“I don’t just want to be a business owner,” she said. “I also want to work within the community and give back as much as I can.”

While supporting the local community is a rewarding experience for Teague, there is another community close to her heart that she discovered through her business. She joined Student-Made UNC, an online store that connects the Carolina community with student-artists and showcases craft work from local businesses at UNC.

Teague described Student-Made UNC as very beneficial to Tar Heel Treasures because she feels supported by her fellow students when marketing her products and connecting with other makers. She now considers these makers her friends who help her spread awareness of Tar Heel Treasures, and she reciprocates their businesses.

Through all the ups and downs of running Tar Heel Treasures, Teague’s support system of friends and family has been critical to its success. His biggest cheerleader is his mother, who constantly sends Teague new ideas for his business and helps him advertise on social media.

“She was a huge help,” Teague said. “Honestly, I don’t know where I would be without his support.”

Although most of his current clients are fellow Carolina students, Teague wants to continue building Tar Heel Treasures after graduating and pursue a career in real estate. She is thrilled to have more time to focus on her business and to continue creating treasures for her fellow Tar Heels and beyond.

You can find Tar Heel treasures on instagram and on the UNC made by students site to shop for a range of jewelry for the next big game and more.


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