SHUEYVILLE — Mariah Jones started her business, Sparrows a Penny, to have an outlet for her creative work. Through the home-based business, Jones makes and sells home decor, greeting cards and fiber crafts at vendor shows and via social media.
But with three children under age seven, the busy new business owner found she has to be especially creative in scheduling time for her work.
“When I’m painting, I’ll get out paints for the kids and it becomes a family thing,” she said.
“I’ll crochet while watching TV or sitting at events or riding in the car. My house suffers for it.”
Jones’s artistic endeavors began at an early age with crochet and watercolor painting. More recently, she taught herself calligraphy by watching videos so she could augment her paintings with inspirational phrases.
As the wife of a church youth pastor, Jones, who lives in Shueyville, has a large network of friends and acquaintances who have taken notice of her talents.
“I started getting requests for custom calligraphy,” she said. “Then someone talked me into doing a vendor show at Swisher Fun Days. I thought I better make it into a business.”
Jones founded Sparrows a Penny last July, taking the name from a favorite scripture passage.
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“I make too much not to claim it on taxes, but it’s more fun than anything,” she said of the business.
Some of Jones’s more popular items are signs with quotes about home, family or coffee, crocheted scarves and dish towel sets.
“I didn’t realize how much people would value the handmade aspect,” she said. “It’s been a pleasant surprise that so many people want my handmade dish towels when they can go to someplace like Walmart and buy dish towels there.”
In addition to posting items for sale on her social media sites, Jones does custom work upon request. She also offers chalkboard sign rentals with personalized calligraphy for weddings, graduation parties and other events, as well as chalk murals.
“I love crafts, and I’d like to keep expanding what I do,” she said, noting that she would like to add crocheted stuffed animals to her inventory. “But those will take some practice.”
With baby No. #4 due in October, Jones said she is working now to build inventory for holiday time.
“I was really busy around Christmas last year,” she noted. “That was a lesson learned, and I’m trying to stay ahead of it this year.”
Jones said most of her sales so far have come from referrals.
“I’m as busy as I want to be. It’s a blessing,” she said.
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At a Glance
• Owner: Maria Jones
• Business: Sparrows a Penny
• Phone: (563) 340-7306
• Facebook: facebook.com/sparrowsapenny
• Instagram: www.instagram.com/sparrowsapenny