Most students in school are happy to go about the business of attending school, completing homework to the best of their ability, and indulging in the odd hobby or two out of school – air cadets, cycling, or football. Not so, for Sophie Mattoli in Year 10 at SVC. She has her sights set on the business world, selling pet birds in a business she started herself in 2018.
Back then, she started with only four caged birds; now, however, her current group amounts to 67. She procures zebra finches, canaries, and Java finches from other bird breeders, sometimes importing them (though this is rare given the cost), and then breeds them herself. She states that ‘Unlike cut-throats, heck finches and owl finches, canaries are the easiest birds to breed in my repertoire as they lay between 3-5 eggs at a time’. The same is true of zebra finches.
All of the birds that Sophie breeds originate in warm climates like Australia therefore only breed in the UK summer time. Like all animals, they need to be treated with the utmost care. Typically, she provides warm bedding for their cages, waiting for the birds to build a comfortable nest. Once the babies have hatched, she waits between 3-4 weeks until they have left the nest before she separates them from their parents, and they are ready to sell.
When speaking with Sophie, what is most impressive is her business acumen. Despite her obvious enthusiasm for rearing birds, she is keenly aware that she is running a business designed to generate profit. She sells zebra finches for £2.50 a pair, canaries, for £24 a pair, and Cut-throats for £50 a pair. Despite modest profits thus far, Sophie has demonstrated the drive necessary to start a business and one can only imagine how, given time, her business will take flight.
In a recent article, the Guardian newspaper stated that ‘The number of teenagers starting businesses (was) up eightfold since 2009′ and that there are an estimated 4000 young people who have set up new businesses in the UK. This puts Sophie in a minority of ambitious, driven young people who will no doubt flourish in the business world beyond their teenage years.
Good luck to Sophie as she works to build her fledgling business.
Written by Mr Thurlbourn
Images courtesy of James Wainscoat and Geraldine Rose @unsplash.com