Sophie Edwards, Co-Founder of the Villa Bologna Pottery shop in London, has revealed in an interview with London-based website A Little Bird the main motivation for the store’s launch.

The new store, located at Portland Road in West London, officially opened its doors on Tuesday.

When asked what prompted the idea of opening a new store in the area, Ms Edwards said that “Holland Park and Ladbroke Grove is an area that I know really well from growing up there.”

“We used to spend our weekends jumping on piles of rugs at the shop with my parents whilst they were working,” she added.

Ms Edwards remarked that her mother loved The Cross, which is just opposite the new store, and so she spent plenty of time there while shopping.

While she first lived in Malta until she was six years old, Ms Edwards then moved to London, where she grew up and opened The Rug Company in Notting Hill.

Afterwards, she spent four years living in East Africa with her husband, before then relocating to Malta three years ago, finding it easy to do so given the number of friends and family she has in the country.

Villa Bologna owner Jasper de Trafford is a good friend of Ms Edwards, and she along with her husband suggested taking over the running of the pottery part of the business as it was “difficult for him [Mr de Trafford] to run both the pottery and the renovation of the main house”.

While she had no prior experience in ceramics, Ms Edwards was looking for some business in Malta, and opted to enter in a partnership with Mr de Trafford in 2020.

In doing so, Mr de Trafford passed on some important information he learned from his father who ran the business before him, such as “where to source the clay – it still comes from Stoke on Trent, as does the glaze – and the suppliers”.

Villa Bologna Pottery

Villa Bologna Pottery / Facebook

“Forty years ago, for example, Jasper’s [Mr de Trafford’s] father decided it was too expensive to fire everything twice but then when they only did it once, everything ended up being seconds,” she added.

Ms Edwards also voiced her pleasure at having such experienced staff members, as “most of them have been working here for 30 to 50 years”.

“We’ve increased production and have brought on some new artists who are in training, learning from the older designers,” she continued.

On working with her husband, Ms Edwards said that “It works really well because we share roles – both with the kids and work.”

With the help of a full-time nanny who looks after their three-year-old son Rocco and one-year-old daughter Zadie, the three of them are able to work as a team and at 3pm, Ms Edwards and her husband “take it in turns to go and pick up Rocco and go spend time on the beach or something fun”.

Once their children are in bed at 7pm, they both then get back to work, with them currently working on a new website “with a team of brilliant Ukrainian engineers, so that’s been taking up a lot of our time”.

In order to make sure that the business remains as sustainable as possible, Ms Edwards said that plenty of time was spent on “ensuring that all our packaging is sustainable”.

“When you ship ceramics, there is a lot of packing so we really had to make sure that it worked on a sustainable level,” with this including using recycled brown paper and large green bubble wraps made from recycled bottles rather than normal bubble wrap.

She remarked that the traditional Maltese Pineapple and Dolphin lamps are some of the most popular pieces at Villa Bologna Pottery, and “usually when you go to someone’s home on the island, they will have one of these lamps,” as they are “very Maltese”.

“The Dolphin lamp was designed in the 1950s and we still use the same mould,” as it “never goes out of fashion and comes in four different colours,” Ms Edwards said.

Ms Edwards is an avid plate collector of eight years, saying she loves “one off pieces” that have led to a growing plate wall in her kitchen.

Villa Bologna Pottery has been producing handcrafted ceramics since 1924, with its store in Attard becoming hugely popular with local and foreign customers.

Main Image:

Villa Bologna Pottery / Facebook

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Fabrizio Tabone

Fabrizio has a passion for the economy and technology, especially when it comes to innovation. Aside from this, he also has a passion for football and movies, and so you will often find him either with a ball to his feet or at the cinema checking out the latest releases.