Our Ethos

Our ethos is an important part of what we do here at The Sign Maker. From crafting bespoke, high-quality signage to maintaining sustainable products and practices, so much thought goes into providing the best experience for our customers, and the best signs and memorials too. If you’re curious about our ethos and how we practice sustainability at The Sign Maker, then you’ve come to the right page!

Sustainable Products and Practices

The Sign Maker Products

Firstly, we try our very hardest to be eco-friendly with our materials for the Signs that we craft. Each product that we craft is evaluated by our team to ensure that it meets a certain standard of sustainability. Within the wood department, we use CSF-Certified timber, which means that the timber we use is from sustainable sources and considered environmentally appropriate by the Forest Stewardship Council. In our Vinyl department, we use eco-inks and recycled PVC products to minimise negative environmental impact where we can. One of the latest materials that we work with at The Sign Maker is called PaperStone. Paperstone is a lightweight yet durable material made up of layers of recycled paper.

Sustainable signs and memorials from The Sign Maker, crafted in Devon

Production and Processes

Green Energy

When we first moved to Yelland Farm there was lots of work to be done, from converting old stables to new offices, and old farm barns into workshops. However, even amongst all the chaos, we decided that it would be important to have as much green energy as possible. Our first project (and a bit of a major one at that) was the erection of our wind turbine in 2014. Yelland farm is situated at the top of a considerably large hill which means it’s always windy, making it the perfect location for a wind turbine. However, it was a bit of a muddy experience! Today, the wind turbine continues to be a successful investment for us! Day to day we love seeing it twirling away while benefitting from the green energy that it creates.

Three years after the wind turbine was erected we installed a biomass boiler to heat all the houses, offices and workshops. Though all of the timber brought for the biomass is cut locally, we decided that we wanted to grow our own renewable crop for the biomass boiler and, as a result, planted over 1500 willow and poplar trees. These trees can be coppiced for their timber making them a good sustainable investment and they provide an excellent wildlife habitat.

We’re already looking for ways to further our production of green energy, for both the site and the grid. Our directors are researching storage heaters for the winter months and the potential of solar panels for the workshop roof. Using green energy has been a fantastic adventure for us so far, and it has been a wonderful way of furthering our sustainable practice.

Packaging

We do our absolute best to ensure that we package with the environment in mind. Where possible, we use recyclable packaging – we even bought an industrial cardboard shredder so that we could transform our waste cardboard into packaging for new signage (a team favourite as it is incredibly satisfying)!

Caring For The Countryside

Little Knowle Farm is where the Sign Maker was born, but also where our family grew up. We cared for a wide range of animals including a Gloucester old spot, Tamworth and Berkshire pigs, and herds of dexter cows, sheep, chickens and horses. Having lived, breathed and worked in the countryside, our hearts were truly connected to this idyllic countryside of North Devon. So it’s not much of a surprise that we could not let that love of the countryside go even with our focus now firmly on sign making.

With a long-standing love for wildlife, Shaun and Kate Price (our managing directors at The Sign Maker) aspired to make Yelland Farm a wildlife haven from the moment we moved on to the site. Focusing specifically on rebuilding habitats for the birds, bees and butterflies amongst small mammals and local wildlife species, Kate and Shaun have gradually built up an environment where nature can thrive. From swifts, swallows and sparrows to deer and hedgehogs – there is something incredibly special about watching nature embrace Yelland Farm as home.

Tree Planting

When we first moved to Yelland farm it was very bleak with virtually no trees or wildlife. As a result, we have planted a considerable amount of trees including 200 different species of trees including; apple, alder, oak, ash, silver birch and many more. In addition, we have planted over 1500 poplar and willow, this creates habitats for today’s wildlife and logs for the future to help make our biomass an even greener form of energy.

Wild Flower Meadows

One advantage of our beautiful spot here in North Devon is that we have the stunning gardens of Rosemoor a mere 15 minutes away. Kate and Shaun are both happy members of the RHS and National Trust and enjoy visits to Rosemoor to glean inspiration from their stunning gardens. One garden that sparked an idea was that of their beautiful wildflower meadows. After seeing the creation at Rosemoor we set aside 6 acres of land for wildflower meadows. Wildflower meadows are not only beautiful when in bloom but help provide the perfect home for wildlife. A key feature for anyone thinking of having a wildflower meadow is yellow rattle which helps to keep the grass low but allow the flowers to thrive.

Wildlife Ponds

The latest addition to the farm is that of the wildlife ponds created in the bottom field by Shaun himself using his JCB. Shaun created three ponds in a terraced format, of which the overflow of each one trickles down to the next pond. We were lucky to have a belt of clay to line the ponds so that it would hold the water.

With the ponds being so new it will take time for them to mature, so we have planted lots of oxygenated plants to help speed up the process. The ponds are next to an ancient woodland so as you can imagine the wildlife has already started to thrive, we have even seen newts and a hearing, although I can imagine he was a little disappointed not to find any fish!

Bird Feeding and beekeeping

Yelland Farm was extremely bleak when we first moved in which meant that the bird and bug life was virtually non-existent. There wasn’t even a resident robin!  However with the help of lots of tree planting, the creation of Devon hedges and weekly feeds in lots of feeders, the birds have made themselves at home here!

sparrows

Kate, one of the directing managers has had a long-time love for bees and gardening, because of this she has always planted all kinds of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants for the bees including, willow, lavender, buddleia and cotoneaster.  Kate has two bee hives and is hoping to have more soon.

Bee-Images

Partnerships

To further our sustainable practice, we made the decision to partner with two specific organisations – The North Devon Biosphere and The Association of Green Funeral Directors. Both organisations encourage us in our practice and provide a community for us to join while building our own community via our blog and social media. You can read all about our partnership with the biosphere here, and our Queen Bee Project that we carried out as one of our three pledges for nature!

We hope that you will support us in our mission to be more sustainable and that we can encourage you to find small ways of implementing sustainability in your day-to-day life too!

Telephone: 01769 561355 | Email: sales@sign-maker.net | https://linktr.ee/thesignmaker