MADE in the USA Gifts by Women Friendly Businesses. Our Story.


Mary Fontones
Owner and Creator, Once Upon a Fairy
Bartonsville, PA

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“I can happily say that now, after all these years I am doing something that feels like a dream to me.”

Hi there!  I am a stay at home mom & wife of an incredible little family. I love taking care of them all. I feel blessed that I am in the situation I am in right at this very moment. We don’t have much, but what we do have is priceless. I absolutely LOVE creating. It’s so much a part of me, just like being a mom & wife is. Every day I wake up & think how lucky I am to be working with my hands. I wouldn’t change it for the anything. My ultimate goal is to one day, hopefully, be able to help support my family with my handmade creations. I am the owner & artisan of Once Upon a Fairy ~ a collection of handmade fairy & whimsical Dwellings (& accessories) made out of at least 90% recycled materials. I spend hours on these little pieces & have so much fun while doing so. I don’t have a studio space, so all my work is done from a very tiny area in my basement, but mostly right in my small Kitchen. I have been creating art in some shape or form my whole entire life…however I really believe everything I have ever done, has brought me to this point in my creative life.

I attended School of Visual Arts after HS to study illustration, but back then, my main goal in life was to have a family. So, although I did continue to create, my dreams were always put on a back burner because my children always came first. I can happily say that now, after all these years I am doing something that feels like a dream to me. This November I will be going on my 3rd year with my little business. Again, have I mentioned how grateful I am to be doing something that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE to do? It all makes me so happy & fills my soul with so much peace. It’s true what they say you know about finding your passion ~ it’s magical.

What inspires you? Inspiration for me comes from so many things. I am inspired constantly since there are so many amazing things out there that speak to me & touch me emotionally. A few that stand out the most to me are by my children, architecture nature, true inner beauty, humility, gentle souls & music.

Do you have a favorite quote? In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths ~proverbs 3 :5-6

What are the most pressing issues facing women today? I believe one of the most pressing issues facing many women today is having the ability to decide who to direct their energies into, family life or the workplace. For so many women who never finished their college degree (me being one of them) for the most part they kind of end up in a bad work force situation, working long, hard hours, without benefits, struggling to keep food on the table to feed their kids (especially for single moms). I am lucky enough to have a supportive husband & even that at times with a partner, a household with a single income just gets rough. Trying to take a day off because your child is sick & you know that if you do, you will lose that day’s pay, well, it puts us women who are moms into a horrible situation. It almost forces us to make a tough decision on which one is priority. It’s sad & unfortunate, but for so many, it is the reality. That has to be the hardest issue for hard working, no college degree moms out there.

What are the biggest keys to your success? The biggest keys are my faith, a TON of hard work, perseverance, consistency, a sense of humor & plenty of patience.

What are the biggest keys to the advancement or success of women? Always believe in what you are doing, make sure you are extremely passionate about it as well & always try to envision the end results no matter how hard it may seem at times.

Where did the inspiration for your business come from? I was inspired to start my business because I was working long hours in retail, with no benefits & my family life was suffering. I worked every weekend & since I consider myself a spiritual person, working on Sundays was really starting to get to me. I guess you can say I was burning myself out on both ends. I always had great work ethic, so I thought that if I just applied those same work ethics to my own business, I would be a success one way or another. I put my complete faith In God & took a leap of faith & quit my job. I haven’t looked back since. If I try to answer what inspires my actual business currently I would tell you this: I have always been obsessed with all forms of architecture, from grand prewar types of structure to simple humble abandoned farm houses . I find aged buildings filled with so much character down to peeling paint & or its weathered facade to be so beautiful & inspiring. My other inspiration comes from my children when they were younger, telling them stories like my dad used to do for me & my sisters (just creating this magical environment for them with just words to let their imaginations go crazy). Then, putting those words into visions by creating a 3D piece is just so much fun. I love that. Then as they grew older I had to set an example for them of how hard work & finding your passion can be such a positive thing. Another major source of inspiration for my business comes from nature. I used to sit for hours as a child & look up at the trees always envisioning images or little dwellings that I would imagine all around the trees.

Where is your product sold? My products are currently sold on my Etsy shop, & at a local store, The Village Crafters Gallery in Tannersville, PA. I also have a Facebook page that I receive a lot of orders from as well.

What advice do you have for a woman who is considering starting a business? ALWAYS believe in yourself & what you are doing. Make sure it’s your true passion because starting your own business takes a lot of patience. There are so many ups & downs, being passionate about what you do will help carry you through the difficult times. Also, ALWAYS surround yourself by sincerely good, positive people who believe in what you are trying to do as much as you do. Also, keep your sense of humor, because there are days where you are going to need that. Lastly, make sure you try hard to envision your ultimate goal. Keep telling yourself you can do this no matter what!

What are the biggest hurdles you’ve faced in starting or growing your business? How did you overcome these? The biggest hurdle I believe I have faced (& still do at times because I am a fairly new business) is being able to survive on minimal income coming into the household. It’s all about sacrificing certain things in order to get to the end results. You would be surprised at what you can accomplish. I overcame that initial fear with plenty of prayer & PATIENCE. Nobody said it was going to be easy, I just kept on (& still do) envisioning my ultimate goal of where I want my business to go.

Are there any additional thoughts or questions that you have? Life runs full circle. What we put out, we get back. It’s so very important to realize that if you have been blessed with the opportunity to start your own business, no matter if it’s a mega huge success story or a simple little mom & pop shop, we always need to help each other along the journey. It’s what we are placed here for, not only for ourselves & our immediate family, but for those who we might not even know yet. You just never know (& might not ever find out) the positive impact you can have on a person’s life:).

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