Emma Bridgewater

Thursday, May 12th, 2011 by hinrich

Emma Bridgewater

During our holidays in the Peak District we visited the factory of Emma Bridgewater in Stoke-on-Trent. It was obvious how much thought was put into creating a positive and authentic image: small tours through the factory, a tour guide having a friendly word for everyone she met, the mix of old & new materials (e.g., the old chairs in the section where you can eat) together with the Emma Bridgewater wares, the quality & choice of food (warm & cold), the possibility to decorate your own mugs & plates, a small garden with chickens, etc.

However, there were a number of things that clashed with this impression. For example, the person who was supposed to help us decorate our own mugs and who was announced to us as having a lot of experience obviously had many other things on her mind. At times a crew of five people were behind a counter close by while we were waiting for someone to help and nobody reacted. When we at last were able to catch her and checked how much it would cost to send the decorated wares to the Netherlands, we learned it was 15 £. Why not have the sending for free? You have to pay, e.g., for an undecorated mug already 15 £. Is it really necessary to make a profit on this activity? It would be more consistent with the overall impression to have this covered by the prices you pay for the tour or the decoration activity.

To be clear: even though such criticism is probably justified, the point I am making is the unfortunate contrast between the high level of detail, the overall friendliness of the people on one side and some details that just do not fit the picture they are trying to paint.

A fun small highlight of the tour that adds to the authentic image they are creating (e.g., family, warm, home, Victorian times, pottery tradition, open, transparent): our tour guide stumbled across a set of new cookware ceramics they might bring onto the market. Decorated with their polka dot pattern on the outside it looked like a smart extension to the product line.

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