iBAM!Chicago welcomes Belleek Pottery as one of our sponsors this year. Belleek is providing the beautiful iBAM! Awards for the six individuals who have made outstanding contributions in Irish: Music, Literature, Performing Arts, and Visual Arts. There is also an award for Irish Person if the Year and the IAHC Volunteer of the Year.
The internationally renowned Belleek Pottery in the centre of the village of Belleek, Ireland was founded in 1857 by John Caldwell Bloomfield, who declared that any piece with the slightest flaw would be destroyed and this is still the case today. The first examples of this fine Parian china were made using kaolin and feldspar deposits found in the lands surrounding Castle Caldwell. With the establishment of the pottery new houses were built for workers in Rathmore Terrace and in Hawthorn Terrace. There is a visitor's centre at the pottery.
For the last 20 years Belleek has been sold in the US market through a distributor. Now, in a move aimed at expanding the brand’s penetration of the tableware and giftware retail sector and at significantly growing sales, the company will be managing its US sales, marketing and distribution functions directly.
The new operation, which represents and investment of $750,000 in staff and facilities, will be headed up by Bill Follett who has been appointed as President, Belleek Pottery Group USA, and joins the company with an impressive track record in tableware and giftware sales.
Announcing the company’s new US sales and distribution operation John Maguire, Group Managing Director, Belleek Pottery Group said –
“This is a major investment for the business but one which we are making to deliver increased sales and to strengthen our retail base in the US marketplace. Although we have always worked well with distributors in the past we are excited about the potential that being ‘masters of our own destiny’ could offer. Bill Follett is highly experienced in the tableware and giftware market and with the additional resources that we are now going to be able to invest in sales support and marketing we are confident that Bill and his team will be able to deliver sales annual sales growth in excess of over 15% over the next three years”.
Welcoming the announcement Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment Arlene Foster MLA said -
“Belleek is to be congratulated for taking the opportunity to directly target the lucrative American market and increase export sales
“The Belleek brand is synonymous with Northern Ireland. The pottery and visitors' centre attracts tourists from all over the world to county Fermanagh. This investment will undoubtedly help the brand become even more iconic and, as well as boosting export sales, will potentially help grow visitor numbers in the long-term.”
Belleek’s new operation commences trading on 1st April 2011 and will be based in Virginia. In addition to the Belleek Pottery Classic and Belleek Living ranges, the new operation will handle sales, marketing and distribution for the other Belleek Group companies of Galway Irish Crystal and Aynsley China. The combined ex-factory sales of Belleek, Galway and Aynsley in the USA is currently in excess of $5million per annum.