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Emma Bridgewater speaker

Emma Bridgewater

speaker location icon Oxford, UK

Founder of the UK's favourite pottery company, Emma Bridgewater

Inspiring story on what it takes to set up a successful UK business

Author, "Toast & Marmalade and Other Stories" (2014)

Two decades ago, designer Emma Bridgewater tapped into English pottery traditions and made them her own. Now a celebrated taste-maker in the UK, her Stoke-on-Trent factory can barely keep up with demand. The company has a £17 million annual turnover and has reached double-digit growth year on year.

Emma Bridgewater produces a range of mugs, jugs and teapots inspired by traditional shapes, motifs and spongeware designs, using techniques that stretched back over 200 years. Emma entered the pottery business in 1985, when she saw a gap in the market for colourful earthenware pottery, as opposed to the more commonly found formal china dinner services. After connecting with a manufacturer in Stoke-on-Trent, she went on to establish herself as a distinct creative voice in the market.

Running the company with her husband Matthew Rice, an illustrator who helps with the design work, she now employs 240 people (making the factory one of the city’s largest employers), and is proud to promote that the company is very much a family business. She continues to make all her ceramics in Staffordshire, the historic home of pottery manufacture in Britain.

Emma’s book, “Toast & Marmalade and Other Stories” (2014), provides insight into the moments that shaped her business over the last 29 years. It also describes her commitment to British design, and how dedicated she is to manufacturing in the UK.

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Our Comment

"A hugely successful and widely recognised entrepreneur, Emma talks about how she grew her company from the kitchen table to a high street brand, and shares valuable insights on what it takes to set up a thriving business."

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