Yesterday I had the great surprise of of having Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey stop by our offices.
These two young designers had the audacity and the brilliance of stepping forward and purchasing Heath Ceramics in 2003 from Edith Heath (1911-2005) just before she died.
As great fans of ALL Heath's creations, it was a treat to hear their story and find out what they have been up to since then...
It seems the main thing the two new owners did at first was make the company profitable again. Edith Heath proudly led her company almost to the end of her life and probably resisted (I am sure) many offers to sell. It was only through the agency of a close friend that she finally agreed to sell to Robin and Catherine, and then only because (I think) they were fellow designers and not marketers from someplace like Target. However, the company was badly losing money, so she knew that SOMETHING had to be done if it was to outlive her.
The first thing the couple did was clean up, organize and increase their production. They also began to update Edith's classic designs with new colors that would have a broader appeal in today's marketplace.
More recently they are on a campaign to continue the Heath tradition of design excellence by completing the whole picture and introducing products by other designers who they feel share the Heath sensibility. In this way they plan to grow the business as a classic modern design source, where you will be able to find much more than plates, cups and tiles (watch out DWR!).
We were shocked when we went to their new website this morning. It's beautifully updated and completely changed. You will see exactly how big a new effort this is. In addition to "tableware" they have stared a line of "homeware" that includes flatware, wood cutting boards, candles, glassware and linens. While it's just getting started, I really like what is evolving here and I recommend checking the new Heath out.