Emma Bridgewater Ltd has become synonymous with the world-renowned Stoke-on-Trent pottery industry after more than 25 years in business.
Now one of the largest manufacturers in The Potteries, Emma Bridgewater’s highly sought after ceramic kitchenware was originally born from her attempts to find a gift for her mother.
“I wanted to get a present for my mum and went into a china shop to get her something but I couldn’t find what I was looking for,” Emma said. “In my head I could see what I wanted to get her but it wasn’t there so I started finding out about ceramics manufacturing.”
Having spent 12-months working for a friend’s knitwear business in London, Emma decided to launch a company and first came to Stoke-on-Trent in 1984, on a mission to find a model-maker for her own brand of pottery.
She said: “I got off the train in Stoke-on-Trent Station and my life changed quite dramatically. I’m a romantic and there’s something about being where a lot of beautiful pottery came from and I was very moved and excited by it.”
Within a few years Emma had acquired a manufacturing facility and before long the company had expanded into their current ceramics factory on the Caldon canal. She now runs the business with her husband, Matthew Rice.
“We employ 180 people and we’re recruiting at the moment,” Emma said. “We’ve had two years of flabbergasting growth; in the year that just finished we grew in excess of 30 percent and that’s on top of 30 percent the previous year.
“I think it’s incredible that the Stoke-on-Trent pottery industry is rising again and I very much plan to be a part of that in the future. I don’t think we need to make everything abroad.”
As the eldest of eight siblings Emma grew up in Oxford and graduated from London University with a degree in English Literature.
Emma Bridgewater emerged as the new President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) in 2016.
The Award of Honorary Doctor of Staffordshire University is bestowed upon Emma for her contribution to Stoke’s economic regeneration and for being an ambassador of the Stoke-on-Trent pottery industry.