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As more and more people stepped up to reduce single-use waste by buying a Travel Cup, we had the opportunity to expand our operations and include close family friends in our simple supply chain. We’re proud to be able to share this experience with partners around the world, who mean the world to us:
In order to mitigate the carbon emissions involved in freighting stock from the East Coast to the West Coast, we approached our good friend Matt Griffiths with the proposal to set up a 2nd Pottery For The Planet Studio in the small coastal town of Cowaramup in WA’s southwest, to supply stockists in Western Australia.
Renton worked under Matt during his pottery traineeship almost 20 years ago and the two have remained closely connected through ceramics since. Matt’s vast knowledge of pottery and keen interest in glazing has lead him to design some of our most-loved glazes, including Coral Dreaming and Midnight on Mars.
The Bishopric family have been working with the Toan family in Vietnam since 2003, when Renton’s mum and dad stumbled across a small ceramics village on holiday in Vietnam and were amazed by the diverse and extremely high-quality work.
The Bishoprics established connections with a couple of local family pottery studios (including the Toans) and began collaborating on a range of pottery designed for their Australian gallery. Over the next 5 years, the relationships grew and Renton’s parents started teaching locals how to produce products suitable for the international export market, increasing the opportunities and knowledge for locals to create a sustainable business from their ceramic works. Renton’s parents continue to sell products made by these families in their Queensland gallery to this day.
And now, the 2nd generation are thrilled to be working together to bring more sustainable options to the market. The highlight of Renton’s work year is undoubtedly the time he spends in Vietnam developing designs and glazes with his Vietnamese family. The focus of the collaboration is on additional elements for the Pottery For The Planet range, as well as a range of tableware for the Australian restaurant market.
The small, family owned and operated studio is an inspirational place. The head of the business, Mrs Toan, is the first female in Vietnam to export ceramics (primarily to Japan). She is leading the charge in expanding career options for Vietnamese women, surrounding herself with a predominantly female management team. She is also supported by her husband in production, and her son in production and business relations.
Renton’s father, Steve Bishopric, started making pottery in a small space underneath his parents’ house in Auckland while he was at university in the early 1970’s. His production soon outgrew the space, so he built himself a geodesic dome in the backyard to work from. As his practice continued to grow, he and his good friend, Simon Browne, joined the hippy movement and moved to the countryside to pursue a truly alternative lifestyle. The two built a wood-fired kiln to supply the thriving New Zealand pottery market at the time.
Fast forward almost 50 years and Simon is back onboard as Pottery For The Planet’s New Zealand Distribution Manager, overseeing distribution from our warehouse in Auckland to our many stockist outlets throughout the country.
We’re proud to have taken another step to reducing freight emissions by establishing our New Zealand distribution centre, and are so pleased to have Simon overseeing the operation locally.