Emma Bridgewater fears for future of her popular pottery business

first_img“Now we are thinking why didn’t we be stricter and say, ‘you train as an accountant, you train as a lawyer, you train as a designer’.”The company, which was founded in 1985, makes all of its earthenware – including its famous “tea and marmalade” side plates – at a factory in Stoke-on-Trent.During the talk, Bridgewater, who supports British manufacturing, admitted she believes the best products are often designed “following a row” and said she is not tempted to translate the words on her plates for overseas exports because the pieces are quintessentially English. Emma Bridgewater with one of her trainees at the factory in Stoke-on-Trent Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The brightly coloured earthenware is a favourite among the middle classes “They are all deep in their own careers, one of them is still at school and the other has just gone to university,” she said. “There are signs [but] in a very English way we said ‘darlings, do your own thing, no don’t worry about the business, it is all fine’. She also revealed she has “no idea” how many visitors the factory gets a year, estimating it to be more than 30,000 people.Joking that they had to be “very creative” with numbers to be allowed a brown tourist sign to the factory, she added: “The plain truth is we have no idea how many visitors we get. To get a brown sign you have to be very, very creative with the numbers because they ask you if you get 100,000 visitors and we looked at each other and go: ‘We soon will have’.“But actually we count till transactions. We’re not very good at counting… the number of visitors.” We do need to work out how to make the company stand up without usEmma Bridgewater Emma Bridgewater has revealed she fears for the future of her pottery business because her children are apparently uninterested in taking over and she is too “English” to push them.The designer, whose ceramics are favoured among the middle classes for their sponge-painted bright prints and quirky calligraphy, said the company, which she runs with her husband Matthew, will “diminish” in the next decade if they do not sort something out. Emma Bridgewater with one of her trainees at the factory in Stoke-on-TrentCredit: Martin Pope Speaking at Cheltenham Literature Festival, she said: “Of course we all think we are immortal but Matthew and I have acknowledged that if the company is still reliant on us in the way it is now for design in 10 years time there will be diminishing returns. “We do need to work out how make the company stand up without us.”The couple, who are both 54, have four children; Elizabeth, who is in her 20s and who used to help run a circus in Gloucestershire, Kitty, who is also in her 20s and previously spoke of hopes to go to art college, Margaret, who has just started university and Michael, who is still at school.Speaking about their relationship, Bridgewater admitted she is “desperately” trying to stop herself putting pressure on them. The brightly coloured earthenware is a favourite among the middle classesCredit: Clara Moldenlast_img read more