A chance meeting leads to a business partnership for two old friends
‘The Birdy Box’ subscription service for birds has launched
Shannon VanDeByl and Stephanie Van De Ven grew up together in Otterville, but on a fateful January day, it had been over 20 years since they had seen each other. The pair have turned a chance meeting into a new business venture that symbolizes their shared love of birds.
‘The Birdy Box’ launched in March and is a subscription service providing pet bird owners with the necessities but also throws in a few surprises. “We always try to keep an element of surprise and mystery, but we also want to make sure people know what they are getting,” said Stephanie. In the first-ever box, customers will be getting quality bird seed, spray millet, and a cuttle bone. “Cuttle bones are particularly good for a bird’s digestion and it keeps them busy. We will also include some fun things that bird lovers will love,” she added.
How the two reunited after so many years even came as a result of a love of birds. “My dad has been a bird breeder his entire life, and Shannon works for Ralph Moore and Sons with her family. This past Christmas I was trying to think of what to get dad. I thought he would be over the moon if I gave him a Moore and Sons gift certificate so he could get some seed for his birds,” said Stephanie. She went to the store and started talking to the clerk. “Shannon asked if I remembered her. We got to talking, catching up, and within a month she had suggested that we partner up and do a bird subscription box, much like the Bark Box for dogs. Between the two of us and our experience, skills, knowledge of birds, the ideas just took off and we started dividing and conquering. It’s a really neat story,” she added.
There is a charitable aspect to the new business venture, something the partners both agreed was important to them. “We are in touch with Hamilton Aviary and Birds Canada. We have them on our website, and we hope people will donate to their charities and causes. Once things get rolling for us and we get more subscriptions we would like to do a regular donation to charities we believe in, ones that rehabilitate birds of all kinds. We also want to make sure we are supporting our local bird breeders like my dad.” Stephanie added that they are in touch with different organizations to support their events. “Whether it is a sponsorship, online events or god willing one day in person. We are also open to other options so if anyone out there knows of any organizations or might need our support or help, please contact us.”
From a business standpoint, subscriptions are off to a slow start, but Stephanie believes the market is there. “If you talk to Shannon, Robert Moore and Sons are busy with an incredibly long list of customers across Canada. We hope to have small, local pet stores promote our product as well.”
‘The Birdy Box’ is only being offered to the Canadian market, a point Stephanie wanted to highlight. “We may eventually look to the United States. There was a company I really loved, and they launched a new product but did so stateside first. I was really offended, and I thought how unpatriotic is that? We are Canadian born and raised. We want to support our local businesses and the Canadian market first and foremost,” said Stephanie. The pair hope to eventually hire people locally if the business takes off. “That is our dream, and we really hope it will come true. We want to make a huge go of this,” she added.
‘The Birdy Box’ subscribers pay 50 dollars four times yearly, which includes taxes and shipping. For more information or to sign up, go to www.birdybox.ca. The company is located on site at Ralph Moore and Sons near Otterville.