Millisle Company Scores at London Design Exhibition

Millisle-based Eden Pottery secured new business worth around £50,000 from taking part in an Invest Northern Ireland organised display at one of Europe's biggest exhibitions for the interior design industry.

Eden's distinctive range of tableware and decorative ceramics proved popular with visitors to the annual Pulse exhibition at Earl's Court exhibition centre in London.  Pulse is a major international exhibition for the interior accessories and lifestyle industry, providing a one-stop opportunity for buyers to access a comprehensive range of stylish classics and design innovations.

The small company, formed in 1989 by husband and wife team, Phil and Heather Walton, added a number of major clients, such as Chatsworth House, to an already impressive portfolio of regular customers that includes the Avoca group and Kilkenny Design in Dublin.

Eden Pottery has also participated in Invest NI stands at the annual Showcase exhibition in Dublin for the giftware and craft sectors in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Heather Walton, commenting on the company's success at Pulse, says: "Pulse has been an immensely successful exhibition for us and has generated significant new business for our products over the years.

"As a result of our participation in shows such as Pulse and Showcase in Dublin, we now sell most of our pottery to customers outside Northern Ireland.

"We've benefited enormously from Invest NI's very professional and highly effective presentation of Northern Ireland products at both exhibitions. The Northern Ireland stands have consistently been among the very best presentations that I've seen at these important shows. They've displayed Northern Ireland products in the best possible way and proved a strong magnet for visitors," she adds.

Alan Hingston, Invest NI's Trade director, adds: "We have a sharp focus on assisting the growth of creative industries in Northern Ireland. Our trade programme, therefore, includes a number of activities that enable smaller companies in particular to display their expertise to a global marketplace.

"Encouragingly, support for our presentations at shows such as Pulse in London and Showcase in Dublin continues to grow steadily. We've seen several companies win important business in markets as diverse as the Middle East and the US from taking part in such international events," he says.

Eden Pottery employs three people full-time and four part-time at its pottery works just outside Millisle. In March the company diversified into direct retailing by opening a purpose-built café at the factory. It has also moved successfully into industrial tourism by offering tours of its design and production operations.

Visitors are now able to watch the pottery being produced, purchase pottery in the shop and then enjoy freshly made coffee and home-made snacks in the café. The company is an integral part of Ards Tourism's 'Creative Peninsula' programme of bus tours to craft and giftware businesses.