It seems I visit the Emma Bridgewater factory quite a bit, and perhaps it seems a bit strange to people who aren’t fans of pottery, however with the new Christmas products on display, we just had to go for a browse. To be honest, the cafe alone is reason enough to visit (I am always thinking about food!), but last week we decided to visit the shop in search of Christmas goodies and signed up for a factory tour while we were there (always nice to do some snooping around the factory in search of new products yet to be released!).
The tour, is something I’d recommend to anyone going to the EB factory. It gives a real appreciation of the work that goes into each piece and the handmade nature of the product. I’m a big believer in British made and handmade products, having a small handmade business myself (click here to see my ‘day job’). Sometimes, unfortunately, handmade products can have the misconception of being overpriced, especially when they are made on such a massive scale as the EB products (our tour guide said 35,000 items are made in the factory each week). But, going to see how each and every mug, plate and bowl is handmade and hand painted, it really makes you value the work that goes into each piece. There is just one man who makes all the flat items (plates, saucers, bowls etc), which is both amazing and shocking when you realise how many items he must make to fill the pottery shelves of all worldwide stockists!
Another thing I love about the factory, aside from topping up on my appreciation of handmade products, is how thoughtful (and cosy!) the whole place is – nestled in industrial Stoke-on-Trent, is this amazing place that is decorated with fresh seasonal flowers (courtesy of their on-site gardener) and creating dishes in their cafe from the homegrown, seasonal vegetables. I’m so passionate about eating local, seasonal food, I’m thrilled when companies share the same vision. For my October lunch, I ate a delicious spiced pumpkin soup (the cake, less healthy, but still homemade!).
I think I love the brand as much as the products themselves – the ethos, ethics and all-round good atmosphere of the company, is something that I have so much admiration for. Everytime I visit, it fills me with a desire to grow my business to be as successful while still retaining it’s handmade charm 🙂