Christmas is our busiest time of the year and every year we brace ourselves for our ever-growing Christmas orders! Many years ago, I would take my china to Christmas Fairs, but now we are simply just too busy to do this and the bulk of our work has shifted from retail to corporate.

2017 has been an interesting year for us.  This year, every month our business has grown when compared to previous years and, although our usual Christmas rush seems to have started a little later than usual things are now at their usual frenetic pace!

At the end of October we welcomed Tracy to our team who is our administrator in Stoke and works closely with Andy and his team in the workshop.

The bulk of our retail orders is always personalised china but there are a few notable exceptions such as our “off-the shelf” Bookworm and “Best of British” mugs which have retained their popularity. Over the last year, we’ve added a few more pages to the web-site e.g our Floral page and Susan’s Black and White pencil drawings whilst making good some of the existing ones.

The most important work was the adding of the corporate and the bespoke pages.

The bespoke section covers some good old favourites such as commissioning me to paint a picture of your house from a photo. By using this unique artwork, we can fire this image back onto a customer’s choice of china – usually a large square or planter. However, by next Christmas we aim to offer our existing bespoke customers the opportunity to use this artwork to create other beautiful personalised pieces. For example, if a customer had previously commissioned a painting of a house, building or dog, we will be able to offer that design on a range of china – from our larger pieces to a set of Christmas baubles or mugs.

In 2018, we are planning to expand our website by adding 2 new sections – Dinner Services and a range of polar china – whilst redesigning the children’s page.

We already sell a lot of dinner services, usually by word of mouth!  Our next step is to show some of our beautiful designs for “off the peg” every-day English bone china tableware on our new pages.   In addition, we will be offering a bespoke service to create individual designs to customer’s specific requirements.  During the course of this year, amongst others, I have designed a bespoke dinner service with my drawing of a wart hog family and also re-designed my own original every-day china decorated with limes.

Our best and most beautiful dinner service was the service we produced for the Warrant Officer & Sergeant’s Mess for the Royal Welsh Regiment.

These and many more are going to be the focus for another blog in January.

It never ceases to amaze my customers how incredibly strong English bone china is and I would have no worries about standing on any of our pieces.

It’s dishwasher and microwave safe (subject to the usual caveats!) and very durable, so “what’s not to like about that then”!

As many of you know who follow me on Social Media, I am very interested in all things polar – you have seen my previous blog on this subject.  The new polar page will feature all my polar designs –  from heroes to animals! I am currently designing a new “Mug full of History” for Captain Scott as a “friend” for my best-selling Shackleton mug. I even hope to encourage some of my customers to join the Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute and become more involved with their work supporting the heritage and science of these regions. Of course, my reindeer, polar bear and penguin baubles are always a firm favourite – particularly at this time of year.

Many of our oldest corporate clients have been busy this Christmas. Earlier in the Autumn I designed a new mug for Kings Bruton School to help them celebrate their upcoming 500 year anniversary! Quite something to celebrate, but very special to us as one of my very first Mug full of History designs was for this school. Over the years we’ve designed many pieces of china for Kings Bruton such as tea pots for the headmaster, leaving gifts for VI formers and staff. 500 years is quite a celebration and our Mug full of History has richly earnt its place for many celebrations such as this. I already have 2 new designs for 2 new schools to complete immediately after Christmas. January is looking busy!

In 2018, we will be building on our successes of 2017, seeing more clients and shouting out about this fantastic industrial heritage which is enjoying a new lease of life. Definitely a Christmas to celebrate!