Valerie Baldry joins to continue the development of the artisan pottery and hospitality business
The artisan teapot pottery Carters of Suffolk – based at Stonham Barns Park – has announced a change to its ownership which will bring a new focus and feel to the business.
Following the retirement of previous joint-owner Mark Gillam this month, Carters of Suffolk has been consolidated with the appointment of Valerie Baldry who joins after 27 years with BT Group. Valerie moves to the new venture as Managing Director of Carters of Suffolk and The Teapot Tearooms, working alongside business partner Alan Forward, owner of Stonham Barns Park.
Valerie – who is originally from Essex but who has lived in Suffolk since 2009 at East Bergholt – has designs on enhancing the unique and quirky hand-painted teapot collection, which is sold in the UK, Europe and the throughout the USA.
Explains Valerie, ‘I have spent a great deal of my leisure time at Stonham Barns Park, an outstanding venue in mid-Suffolk that inspires creativity. When the opportunity came up to join Carters of Suffolk – after a hugely enjoyable career in telecoms – I jumped at the chance to bring my experience to the team and see how I can help to enhance the business as it continues to grow and develop.’
‘Carters of Suffolk has a significant following of national and international buyers who appreciate the skill and creativity of the products. I am excited to see what new developments we can bring to the range in the years ahead. Tea is the one thing that will never go out of fashion – particularly with the increase in demand for afternoon teas – and so we have a bright and colourful future ahead. We just need to see where our Suffolk creativity takes us next.’
Carters of Suffolk was created by Debenham-based potter Tony Carter who retired from the business before it passed onto to the current owners at Stonham Barns Park.
Plans for the future will include possible ‘Experience Visits’ to Carters of Suffolk where people can come and see how the teapots are made including producing the teapots from the split moulding process using earthenware clay and decorating the teapots using staged painting by artisan decorators. Customers can already paint their own teapots in the comfort of the pottery studio, an activity which is increasing in popularity with families, wedding parties, holidaymakers and various clubs from around the region.
Concludes Valerie, ‘These quirky teapots are so uplifting. Bright and beautiful, they bring fun and smiles to families everywhere and so it is no surprise that they have a loyal following too!’
The Teapot Tearooms serve hot and cold drinks, newly introduced cream teas, cakes and light lunches. Some new additions to the menu will be introduced for the autumn including a variety of pastries, muffins, warm soup and fresh baked rolls!
The venue is a meeting place for friends and family. Valerie is also opening up an area for Yummy Mummy’s to enjoy time with their under 5’s to get together for treats at the tearooms while the children enjoy a book or play with the toys.
Carters of Suffolk’s teapots are still enjoying an uplift in sales as people are choosing ceramics as luxury presents, making more of an occasion of afternoon teas, starting collections and adding more style to their homes through interior makeovers. The company has received a number of prestigious awards including the latest one from LuxLife for Best Handmade Ceramic Giftware Producer Award 2022.
Each teapot takes about a week to produce. The teapots are made in small quantities to make them highly collectable. The gold details are produced using real gold and the silver colouring is ‘platinum’.
The pottery’s most popular teapot designs include, The Classic British Collection, The Book Collection, The Aga Range, The Baking Range, Figurines, The Animal range and The Classic Car and Locomotive Collections.
Carters of Suffolk supplies department stores, museums, gift shops and tearooms around the UK and Europe, and online retailers including Wayfair and Etsy.
For more information and/or a catalogue of the handmade, novelty teapots, call 01728 860475, or visit Carters of Suffolk at Stonham Barns Park www.cartersofsuffolk.com