SIMPLE AND SUSTAINABLE BIRD FOOD AND FEEDERS

Meet the Makers – The Sheppard Brothers

When I first saw these bird feeders I was blown away – they are so beautiful. When I found out that they are made by a team of teenage brothers from Hampshire in the UK I knew I had to stock some in my online store. Supporting small businesses like my own is important to me, and I wanted to get to know a little more about the boys’ inspiration and motivation. Morgan (aged 16), George (aged 14) and Zac (aged 11) set up their business with support from their parents, turning a difficult situation into a positive one.

The boys were inspired to start making their ceramic bird feeders during the first lockdown when Morgan & George lost their dog walking jobs. Without a regular income to cover their mobile phone contracts. George and his dad Matthew decided that they needed to make something to sell, and as Matthew has worked in ceramics all his life George was steered in that direction. The teardrop design came from pouring plaster into a balloon then making a master mould from that shape. Once the master mould was made the boys could then cast as many bird feeders as they needed. 

One of the things I love so much about the boys’ beautiful bird feeders is the way they sit so naturally in the garden – they fit really beautiful into any setting, whether modern or more traditional. The boys tried out lots of different glaze combinations, and are keen for the bird feeders to reflect the countryside and the seasons.

The Ceramic Globe Feeder in Moss Green

Running a busy small business while still in school is a huge undertaking, especially as Morgan is taking exams, but the Sheppard brothers have their parents’ business skills and support to back them up. George came up with the initial teardrop design for the bird feeders and they were selling out as quickly as he was making them. Morgan offered to help (for a cut of the profits) and together they poured, fettled and glazed many more but still demand was outstripping supply. That’s when dad stepped in and took the master moulds back to work and poured as many as his working day would allow. The boys would then spend a couple of hours fettling and glazing them at dad’s warehouse each day over the weekend. Mostly they sold to the local community and the feeders would be collected from the doorstep. The boys were happy to meet and greet their customers whilst handing over the bird feeders and it didn’t take long for word to spread leading to orders from further afield. In stepped mum, overseeing that they were packaged carefully and weighed for the correct postage. Mum is also an accountant by trade so she keeps a spreadsheet of all their income and expenses. At the beginning of the year the boys decided to set up a website and an Etsy shop so they could just sell the stock they had instead of making to order, which took the pressure off Morgan during his GCSE year. Youngest brother Zac got in on the game and designed the globe feeder with his dad and added a design of his own to the beautiful feeder collection.

The business has grown to include the whole family with dad pouring the bird feeders and loading the kilns and Morgan, George and Zac fettling and glazing all the feeders. George likes to experiment with the glaze combinations, Morgan deals with customer enquiries and updates Facebook, Instagram, the website & Etsy while mum oversees the orders and accounts. The boys’ friends are understandably impressed by their entrepreneurial spirit, and their parents are hugely impressed by their hard work.

It is inspiring to hear of such a young team of brothers creating something so positive during such a difficult time in all of our lives. Not only have they had the grit to set up a small business, but they have also created a beautiful product that will benefit the wildlife around them. I absolutely love our ceramic feeder and really recommend them – a beautiful product that will make a big difference in your garden.

The Ceramic Globe Feeder in Macadamia Nut