Best-selling UK earthenware designer, Emma Bridgewater, will be going back to her childhood dream of becoming a writer when she promotes her new book at the Althorp Literary Festival this weekend.
Her book, Toast & Marmalade and Other Stories, describes the inspiration and history behind her English country-kitchen designs.
“It’s like a collection of anecdotes that give the answers that I’m most often asked about my work,” she said.
Mrs Bridgewater, who grew up in Oxfordshire, said: “I was lucky enough to have a very lovely childood and was very close to my mother, though she has sadly passed away.
“I came up with the idea for the business in the 1980s when I was looking to buy her some cups as a gift, but I couldn’t find anything that suited her mismatched, colourful kitchen. Everything then was very stylised and geometric.
“I realised there was a gap in the industry so I started developing designs, found a talented model-maker and opened a factory in Stoke on Trent.
Since receiving her degree in English Literature, and encouraged by her publishing entrepreneur father, Mrs Bridgewater determined to start a creative business of her own.
“I had no idea what sort of business I wanted at first. I worked for a knitwear business and then started a catering company,” she said.
“The beauty of being young is that you don’t have to worry too much about starting salaries or the business you work for itself. You can just harness that youthful energy to do something amazing.
“Then, when I found my idea, what made it work was that I always saw it and treated it as a big business.
“I still work ridiculously hard, but it doesn’t feel like it when you find what you love.”
Mrs Bridgewater, who has four children and whose husband, Matthew, runs the company, said: “The hardest parts were long hours away from my family and the fact that there are always difficulties as a woman trying to forge your way into business.”
Emma Bridgewater designs are now popular in the UK for their understated and traditional English styles which Mrs Bridgewater has kept true to, despite having a love for travel and owning a flat in Paris.
She said: “The more I experience other cultures, the more I am inspired to make the most of my own.”