I'm not sure if any of you have been to stoke-on-trent but it's a bitter sweet place, the demise of the pottery industry has really taken it's toll, there are some amazing industrial buildings that are now shells of their former selves. The amazing thing is if you start to walk around the back streets you will find tiny potteries ( and some big ones too ) that are still managing to make beautiful products, the skill of some of the craftspeople employed in these places is quite breath taking. Anyway this is what I did I walked around the back streets of stoke and wandered into any small pottery I could find, most of them were very supportive and to be honest if you are willing to talk pots to anyone in stoke you can have many interesting conversations and pointers of where to go next.
|the old Shelley factory|
My main issue was the breadth of making skill I required , some factories could only make mugs and some could only slip cast items and the real deal breaker was the fact that I needed plates and bowls.
With this in mind I decided to be brave and contact one of the larger potteries. With a couple of phone calls we agreed to meet, I was quite concerned that they'd not take me serious so I took one of my Dragons with me for back up. This was the turning point, they liked the concept and agreed to help me out.....things just got serious. Realising how much it was going to cost just to get proto types I decided to sell my car ( and it was a very nice car ) , borrow some funds ( thanks mum ! ) and turn this idea into reality.
I think I mentioned Hayley earlier on, well Hayley is the most upbeat, positive, enthusiastic and go getter person I know. I once flew to New York with Hayley, we started talking when we sat in our seats for take off and we didn't stop till we landed. Hayley was at the time ( and still is ) up to her eye balls in restuarant stuff...her and her brother own 3....but she always found time for an afterwork meeting, usually on a friday when we were both ready for the weekend. She focused me, made me do lots of branding stuff; who was my customer, what did the end user look like, what were their hobbies, likes , dislikes etc etc. I think we covered every possible scenario ! With her help Little Walton Bank started to get a personality.