BEGINNING AT HOME
It all began when founders, Nicky & Charlotte, went out to buy a dinner service for a new family home.
We knew we wanted English fine bone china for its strength and resilience, but were disappointed by the choice available.
Very few options were made in England, and we found ourselves choosing between antiques or extremely expensive decorative designs, which are lovely but not what we wanted.
Josiah Spode first sold fine bone china from Stoke-on-Trent in the early 19th century. It's a particularly English type of porcelain with high levels of calcium in the mixture (originally real animal bone ash), which means it is stronger than other types of porcelain and significantly more chip-resistant. This means each piece can be thinner, offering elegant silhouettes that are famously translucent in the light.
It seemed odd that Spode's brilliantly practical invention had become so difficult to buy in the country where it been invented. So we did some research, found a factory in Stoke-on-Trent, and asked a friend to create some artwork.
FOUNDING A NEW FAMILY BUSINESS
Ultimately, we had exactly what we wanted for a good price and thought, 'surely other families want this too?'
Friends and family were excited by the idea of putting a coat of arms or monogram on their china and our bespoke services were born. From 60th birthdays to wedding lists, bespoke bone china is a brilliant present that not only thrills the recipient, but lasts for generations.
Bone china is not only the queen of porcelain but also a uniquely British invention.
It is important to us that our plates are made in Stoke-on-Trent, the home of British ceramics and bone china's place of birth.
After a bit of hunting, we found the perfect factory at the heart of the Potteries. Production methods have barely changed since the 1790s when bone china was first produced by Josiah Spode in a factory round the corner.
Like many traditional materials fine bone china is very sustainable. With high levels of calcium in its raw materials, fine bone china has a particular strength and translucency compared to other types of porcelain.
This means it is less easy to chip than other tableware, and very strong despite its elegance. A fine bone china dinner service will last many generations, reused again and again by generations.
Xavier Britain tableware is made in small batch orders meaning there is zero waste, and all our products - including our recyclable packaging - are produced, decorated and packed within a ten mile radius of our factory in Stoke-on-Trent.
Ingredients used in making ceramics, from the bone china body to the enamel colours and lithographs used in decoration, as well as the custom designed packaging are all sourced from and prepared by local suppliers in Stoke-on-Trent.
Most items are made using the pressure casting technique, which removes the need for plaster moulds and with it the waste that would go to landfill. For example one dye can make over 20,000 dinner plates whereas traditional casting methods would demand over 3.5 tonnes of plaster of Paris to make the moulds which would then end up as waste.
Firing china demands intense amounts of energy to raise the kiln temperature to the required level, therefore our family-run factory uses suppliers who support renewable energy, and residual heat generated within the kilns is recycled into the factory as much as possible.