The Birdies Garden Products Story

Simon Bird (or the Veggie Man as he is known) started Birdies Garden products in November 2007 working out of his garage in the Gold Coast Hinterland. He began by getting a raised garden bed for himself at home and once it was erected and planted thought it might be a good idea to see if anyone else would like one. With the concept of “growing your own” starting to feature more and more, it was a good time to start.Simon is a keen gardener and knew the importance of knowing your market. Neill his business partner has a lifetime experience of manufacturing. They advertised firstly in local papers and received 13 calls the first day the paper came out. They started subcontracting the rolling of the colorbond initially, erecting them at home and delivering the finished product (at times as big as 12ft long) on the back of his 7ft x 5ft trailer! Visit the Birdies site to see Simon on TV.

They had their first website built at this stage, and payment for it was 5 veggie beds. The site was simple but very effective eventually with 80% of enquiries being through emails, the site also allowed them to display other products they were developing to go with the beds. They began breaking the beds down into a kit form which made transport much easier and allowed them to fit more onto the trailer and eventually onto pallets which opened up opportunities interstate as they pursued advertising nationally.

The phone and e-mails started to run hot and meanwhile they were still working from Simon’s garage. After 3 months they moved into a 160 square metre unit. At the same time Simon and Neill did their first garden show in Brisbane and had a great response and as a result decided to buy their first rolling machine and. Within 12 months the business had moved into a 500sqm unit across the road and the website was updated to include a shopping cart which allowed for online orders (which they would process payments for over the phone). The business really took off and over time Birdies employed more people and continued to develop products to suit the “backyard farmer”.

In 2009 Simon and Neill developed the Raised Modular Garden Bed effectively delivering a 3m Garden Bed in a small box (which could be assembled by the purchaser). This new patented design was picked up almost immediately by Bunning’s Warehouse. The product was stocked in Victoria first as a promotional item. If a product sells out in 12 weeks in Bunning’s it is a good product and the modular bed sold out in 6 weeks. Birdies were then tasked with delivering enough beds to stock all 200+ stores (in addition to the direct sales through the website). Birdies moved to a 1000sqm shed and moved everything in a day and immediately began manufacturing. All stores were stocked within 6 weeks.

The new modular raised Garden Bed. Birdies engaged Web Circle to work with them to re-design their site and implement online payment and streamlined ordering and delivery procedures. A big part of the project was re-designing the site to provide a more professional image to represent the significant company Birdies had become. There is more information on the project at Web Circle’s Birdies project page.A lot of hard work has gone into Simon’s business over the last 2 years and it started from nothing. As well as hard work and persistence, Simon gives a lot of the credit for the success of the business to the flexibility and coverage the internet has provided.In a few short years Simon has grown the business into Australia’s leading provider of raised garden beds with 9 full time staff, major distribution partners including Bunning’s and a huge manufacturing facility in Burleigh.

Visit http://www.birdiesgardenproducts.com.au for more information.

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Alex Retzlaff is the owner of A Website Designer and Web Circle.

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