Stonefly Studio began as a hobby, when Daniel Mazel made his son a custom fly box 15 years ago. Now, it's a successful Billings business, and the Mazel family continues to create hand-crafted items that preserve memories.
It's a business that began in his garage when his son lost a fly box he had received as a gift. Today, the Mazels have their own studio, and looking back, it's been quite a ride.
"I have a garage that I can do a lot of projects, like a lot of dads would do, and so I made him a new fly box. So that's how it all began," said Mazel.
Mazel began making fly boxes but added customized images, maps of rivers, poems, or special notes. It has continued to grow and expand and now Mazel engraves cribbage boards, wall mounts and much more.
For him and his wife, Karla, it's been a treat to be able to run a successful business with the help of their two children.
"It's just so special to see where they were and where they've come," Karla said. "Not only in business, but in their own lives as well. They've grown up with the business."
Everything in the store is custom-made. Customers can come in and ask for one of the 700 different maps to be put on a bunch of different items. The Mazels' daughter, Jeannine Mazel-Simpson, has helped with the business since she was 12 years old. She still helps out today.
"It just brings back a lot of memories of just the family dynamic this place has always held," Jeannine said.
Oftentimes, the Mazels said the items are given as gifts for special occasions. Daniel said they make sure to always have the deliveries done on time.
"I just have a pet peeve that we never miss an important date, and so we really try to prioritize who needs it and when they need it," Mazel said.
The Mazels are a family that takes pride in what they do — creating items unique to Montana.
"That's what keeps me going every day," Daniel said. "It's a fun job and it's very rewarding to know that you are creating a memory for someone."
"We know that we actually do make a difference in people's lives and that's what it is all about," Karla said.