For Salvaged Ember founder Jacob Jones, what started as one side project has turned into a side business.
It all began on the patio of Jones’ home in Green Cove Springs when he decided to construct a wooden table. When Jones’ wife, Kimberly, proudly posted a Facebook photo of her new table people began to notice – and call Jones to build them similar tables.
That’s when Salvaged Ember was officially born. Now the business has grown into a one that will be featured in One Spark as a creator in April. While the business was new for Jones, construction wasn’t.
“I grew up around my father and grandfather building stuff,” Jones said of how he decided to start building as a hobby.
After that first table for his wife, Jones began working on pieces for other people. Since the transition to a business last spring, Jones has used salvaged pallets and other salvaged materials to build tables, cabinets, headboards and shelving units, among other things. Customers can share their desires and ideas with Jones and he will design something based on their specifics.
Jones said he tries to use salvaged materials and be as green as possible, as long as he can find the materials he needs. He finds the pallets and other materials through Craigslist and connections the couple have made through networking with business contacts.
With an increasing customer base, Jones has enlisted help from his wife, Kimberly,
to handle the business side, handle orders and help with staining and finishing the projects. There are two other people involved in the project, Josh Puckett and Justin Thompson, who help Jones keep up with orders. Thompson’s wife, Carla, also helps the team to finish projects when needed.
Jones currently spends 15 to 20 hours per week building. He works three or four nights a week after work and on the weekends.
“We have a system now,” said Kimberly. “It is busy but it’s bearable.”
As a creator in the Innovation category for One Spark, Jones hopes to gain enough financial support to expand Salvaged Ember into a full-time business. He also hopes to get funds to purchase better tools and increase the company’s customer base.
“Jacob is enjoying it, I am enjoying it,” Kimberly said of the project. “We want it to blow up.”
It seems like a logical step for the couple to turn the hobby they enjoy into a career. If they receive the funding necessary to expand their business, they plan to find a studio in Jacksonville where they can both live and work.
Their first big commercial project was constructing two large tables for Maple Street Biscuit Company’s Jacksonville Beach location.
Salvaged Ember will be displaying its project during the One Spark festival along the Northbank Riverwalk. Jones will bring some of the company’s recent pieces, a few that haven’t yet sold, to display to voters at the festival.
This story was reported by Ignite Media, an independent news bureau created by University of North Florida students.