Well you might be thinking, what is he on about this time, this is blog about energy, water, the environment and all things eco. Yes, well whilst listening to the radio today, I heard an interview with Emma Bridgewater. She has built up a pottery business up to about 150 employees and stated that she is “expanding like mad”. Okay, so you still want to know why I’m going on about this?
The interviewer asked Emma Bridgewater her pieces of pottery were expensive compared to similar items on the shelves. Instead of banging on about the usual quality, design and other “benefits” in a totally over-the-top selling manner, she spoke clearly from the heart with honesty. Her manufacturing costs are substantially higher than the competitor products. She continued to highlight how the energy usage, the water disposal and the packaging were all vastly more expensive than in say China. She also suggested that by employing 150 people from the local area provided a much needed boost to the traditional pottery area of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. Other points she made was that it was not only impractical, but also anti-social to fly out to China to sort out a production problem or similar.
I found this brief interview especially refreshing, because clearly more money could be made from shipping in products from China or India. But it could also be argued that British made is a very strong unique selling point (USP) and that aligning the business as a social and environmentally responsible one gives this a definitive market edge.
Summary and conclusion
One thing is for sure from time to time, we all need to replace something or perhaps we want to buy something new. The question we need to ask ourselves each and every time we make that purchase is, can we buy better. But not in terms of the product or the price, but perhaps should we pay a little more to be responsible.
Interview source BBC Radio 4 26/5/10