New Forest Bird Foods was set up by Paul Matthews back in October 2004 to help people feed the birds in their garden, without having to pay the inflated garden centre prices. Paul contacted the company that supplies most of these outlets, ‘Gardman’, and asked about opening a trade account, initially with the idea of selling bird food accessories online, through eBay. When he saw the prices that Gardman could supply bird food for, he was amazed at just how much garden centres and pet shops add to these prices. He calculated that he could undercut Garden Centre prices, deliver for free and still see a profit, and this is how the idea for the company was formed.
The company started as Nutbags Garden Bird Foods, and people have often asked why. When Paul was growing up in the 60's and 70's, the only bird foods generally available were boxes of mixed seed (Swoop) and peanuts in red mesh bags (nut bags). Looking for a name that customers would easily remember, and that hopefully had a bird food theme, a few names came up, but at the end of the day, Nutbags was the only one that was available as a website domain name. Coming to appreciate that it’s a ‘double entendre’ that caused a few laughs, Paul never took things too seriously. Despite dreams of one day operating around the country, running everything from a villa in Florida, Paul was content as long as he could make a living and cover his costs, he was happy to continue providing a service that would save money and help our local garden birds.
In April 2019, Paul decided to re-brand the business and changed our name to New Forest Bird Foods, which reflects the "local" business that we mainly operate.
Jumping ahead to 2023, Paul deciding to retire, sold the business to myself Seb and my wife Sylwia Karam who moved into the New Forest in 2019, as our first home together, shortly before deciding to get married in New Milton.
Since the first time we turned off the M27, we knew we would call it our forever home. Sharing a love for all things nature and wild, the forest was everything we could have dreamed of.
I grew up in London, being taken to Epping Forest and the Natural History Museum every week on the way back from Saturday school, before moving to Lebanon to grow up playing in the natural gorges and valleys. My father introduced me to bird watching from a young age, and I would often be found browsing the many reference books on the bookshelf.
Sylwia was born in a small village in central Poland, where she was raised to appreciate art and the great outdoors, often venturing to the forests to pick mushrooms with her grandma. However, she was often found reading under a tree rather than gallivanting around with her school friends. She then moved to England to go to university before settling down and meeting me.
Sylwia and I have been running a small craft business called Flux Crafts from our unit in New Milton for a few years now, which meant a bit of a move from Blackfield, where Paul was based. A lot of sacks were lifted, which I guess is a sign that I will not need a gym membership anymore, let alone when I received our first supply of over a ton of Sunflower Hearts that our birds love so much.
We are very much looking forward to taking on this exciting challenge and living up to high standards that New Forest Bird Foods has provided to you over the years.