Emma Bridgewater's Factory in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.

Stoke-on-Trent ceramics brand, Emma Bridgewater has secured an £8m investment from BGF…

Stoke-on-Trent ceramic brand, Emma Bridgewater has secured a multi-million-pound investment as the company looks to continue its growth. The company was founded in 1984, and designs and manufactures hand-decorated pottery (and a selection of home products) from its renovated 19th Century factory in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. The Lichfield Street property (in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent) opened in 1883, originally being occupied by pottery manufacturer J. & G. Meakin.

Emma Bridgewater was established by the eponymous owner after she was unable to find the right gift for her mother’s birthday – to this day the company’s ceramic products are still handmade, with 1.7million pieces of pottery being produced each year.

Products are sold through the company’s website, own stores, as well as wholesale customers such as John Lewis and Next. More recently, the Emma Bridgewater brand has diversified into glassware, stationery, picnic-ware, wallpaper and fabrics, and revenues have grown to over £20m (2019), with over £2m earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization.

The company's renovated HQ has been associated with ceramics since the 19th Century.

HSBC has also committed a £2.5m debt facility which, together with BGF’s £8m investment will support Emma Bridgewater’s continued growth in the UK – increasing capacity at its Stoke-on-Trent factory – in addition to exploring international markets (including the United States and China).

The transaction sees Colin Porter join the board as Non-Executive Chair. He has previously been CEO of Joules and currently sits on the board at Moss Bros and Hotel Chocolat (as a Non-Executive Chair).

Founder, Emma Bridgewater commented:

“The company is well-known for relaxed, colourful, domestic pottery; our distinctive and friendly designs are also available on a wide range of home wares, beyond the kitchen dresser.

“All our ceramics are made in Staffordshire, deploying traditional local craft skills. We have grown organically over the past 35-years whilst staying true to my vision of beautiful wares, made with love and attention in a beautiful factory. I am personally very excited to have this opportunity to work with the BGF, with Colin Porter chairing our Board, to expand our brand into new markets – and a new era.”

Founder, Emma Bridgewater.

BGF is an investment partner for growing companies, with numerous offices throughout the UK. The investment company has previously received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

Investor at BGF, Joanne Smith (who will be joining the board of Emma Bridgewater) said:

“Emma Bridgewater is a long-standing, iconic British design brand driven by a highly-capable and professional team, and with exciting plans for future growth. We’re delighted to be joining the business as its long-term investment partner, as it continues to explore new sales opportunities both here in the UK and overseas.”

Stephen Welton, Chief Executive of BGF, added:

“We recognise that COVID-19 is creating immense challenges for small and medium-sized businesses across all sectors, cities and towns in the UK and Ireland. However, BGF remains committed to backing high-potential firms, such as Emma Bridgewater, and we will continue to make new investments, supporting businesses and contributing to the longer-term economic health of the UK and Ireland.”