A NEW ceramic design firm launched by Staffordshire University students and staff has returned from a showcase event in Paris with bulging order books.
Flux Stoke-on-Trent, based in the Stoke Creative Village, College Road, was launched at the five-day-long Maison et Objet trade fair in the French capital.
During the event the company took over £30,000 worth of orders for cups and saucers, mugs, plates and other tableware.
The designs have also attracted attention from various trade magazines, with some of the Flux products set to be featured in Elle Decoration and Veranda in New York.
And now the fledgling ceramic design company is looking for a manufacturer within the Stoke area to produce its products for delivery around the world.
Professor David Sanderson, Course Director in Staffordshire University’s Faculty of Arts, Media and Design (AMD), said: “The plan was always to launch Flux in Paris because it’s a major, flagship event.
“When we arrived at the fair and when we put our display up I had a good feeling but to have generated the level of orders that we did for our products is unbelievable.
“We took an order for 13,000 Euros from a buyer in Hong Kong
together with other substantial orders worldwide; Russia, Philippines and Venezuela for example.
He added: “We’re adding substantial value to ceramic items that are manufactured in Stoke-on-Trent, by adding our designs, and selling them around the world. It’s great for Stoke-on-Trent and for the University.
“Now the company is established, the growth potential is great. We could be looking at £100,000 in orders this year.”
The Flux tableware designs are the work of Masters students studying Ceramic Design at the University.
As well as selling their work internationally, the students also took part in sales at the Paris trade fair, and are learning entrepreneurial skills through the company.
Professor Sanderson said: “It gives them hands on experience by getting involved in the Paris exhibition and indeed direct selling to the commercial trade, it hopefully gives them an informed, involved and enjoyable learning experience.
“The other big thing for the students is that they are getting a four per cent royalty on sales.”
MA Ceramic Design student Sarah Callard, 23, from Leeds, spent a week in Paris working on the Flux stall at the trade fair.
She said: “Flux has given me an understanding of what it’s like to work within industry. We were involved in setting up the stand and the sales side of things, so it gave me the ability and confidence to talk to professional people about my work.
“It attracted a lot of interest from trend magazines and well known publications. My Flux designs were taken to London for a photo shoot and will appear in Elle Decoration magazine.
“Due to the interest in my Flux designs, I now have a couple of well-known French companies that want me to design for them.
“So now I’m hoping, having just come back from Paris, that I’m going to be freelancing for a while and in the future I would love to work as part of a design team.”
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