I met Megan years ago – she was my high school friend Jen’s roommate in college and we met at some sort of gathering at Jen’s house – and I liked her immediately. When she started the company Sheep Farm Felt with her sisters and mother I was so excited for her, and it’s been really awesome to watch her business grow. They make handcrafted felt ball garlands out of wool.
I’m inspired by the way she does business; she invested in a smart phone to handle orders in a more timely manner as well as use Instagram to create a wonderful account featuring Felton, the tiny felted sheep, who serves as a sort of mascot. The packaging is absolutely gorgeous; when you open up your parcel from them you can feel how much love and care goes into packing orders. In the time they’ve been in business, they’ve sent their beautiful, quirky handmade felt balls all over the world.
The first photo is our garland in the living room; I wanted something cheerful for the blank space over the photos, and it’s just the thing.
Megan sent me the long version of her story and how they got started. I was going to pull out pieces to share here but it’s so good I think you’ll want to read it, too, so her email to me is cut and pasted below. It’s got adventure, community, and women doing business. Thanks for sharing, Megan.
If you want to order your own Sheep Farm Felt wool ball garland, go here to order from their Etsy store, and use the code AMBER14 to get free shipping in the continental US from now until 31 January. Here’s Megan:
My parents met in a living Colonial history village, my mom-a weaver and spinner, my dad-a woodcarver. After repeatedly fixing her loom (he was also the one sneaking in her shop early and breaking it), they fell in love, got married, and had 3 daughters. (The middle one being the most adorable, of course.)
We lived in Port Republic, a small town in South Jersey where my dad is the mayor and where generations of my family have lived since the early 1600’s. When my sisters and I were 2, 4, and 6, we had a house fire and lost everything we owned.
The town rallied together and bought us everything we needed to begin again- books, toys, winter coats, pots and pans, gift certificates to the grocery store- everything you can imagine. Overwhelmed by the generosity of our town, my parents did the only thing they could think of to give back to the community they loved. When our house was rebuilt, they added a classroom and opened up a folk art school so they could teach their skills to anyone who wanted to learn.
They taught woodcarving, basketry, quilting, candle making, weaving, doll making, and little girls came to our home for Colonial tea parties for their birthdays. My sisters and I were invited to teach along side of my mom when we all turned 12.
It was during these classes that I learned the most vital lessons: If you want to connect with someone, create with them. When people are making something to put in their home, or give away as a gift, they are essentially crafting a new piece of their history- something one-of-a-kind that they have made with their hands that now has a story.
Fast forward MY history…past getting married, moving down the street from my parents’ farm, becoming an art teacher…to having my own little flock- 3 littles 4 and under. I found myself in the daily routine of filling up sippy cups and stepping on Cheerios, and wanting so desperately to do the two fundamental things I was taught: connect with people and create.
I had seen wool felt ball garlands on Pinterest, and thought it was the perfect project for me- simple, free (if you happen to have a never-ending supply of wool being grown down the street), and something I could make for people who wanted to add a bit of color and natural fiber into their homes. I listed a few on Etsy….and I could never have imagined the response I would get.
After six months, my “never-ending supply” was not as “never-ending” as I had hoped, and I had a difficult time keeping up with demands. I found a supplier to partner with from Nepal who is free-trade, ethical, and uses the most lovely, colorful, wooliest wool from a sheep farm in New Zealand.
I am in absolute love with what I do. Everyday, I get orders from all over the world- Spain, Singapore, Australia, France, the U.S., Italy…. from people who want to bring something I make into their homes. My customers are some of the sweetest people, and I love the conversations I get to have with them. They are getting ready for their son’s first birthday party, or wanting to add a homey touch to their dorm room, or trying to find a garland to match their sofa and love seat, or add a pop of color in their nursery…. I just love hearing all their stories behind their purchases!
My absolute favorite part of the process is wrapping up each purchase with tissue paper and twine, writing a hand-written thank you note, and tucking in a little needle felted sheep ornament handmade from wool from our sheep farm. I know when my customers go to their mail box, it is going to make their day. My job is more than just selling bits of colored wool on string, I am supplying people with something that will become a piece of their home and history.