Gifts Today magazine

Dartington Crystal celebrates 50 years

This year sees English company Dartington Crystal celebrating a landmark anniversary of 50 years, with a return to Ambiente after 15 years and lots of exciting launches and events

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, British company Dartington Company has an array of new launches and events happening throughout the year.

Founded in 1967 as a commercial enterprise to support the employment and social ambitions of the Dartington Hall Trust, the business has since grown to be one of the UK’s leading name in crystal and glass, and is now the only remaining factory scale producer of handmade glass in the UK and Ireland.

Its unique brand story started in the 60s with the recruitment of Swedish skilled glass makers to work in the rural North Devon town of Torrington, modern-day Vikings who established the original production, passing their Scandinavian glassmaking skills to the local workers. By the 70s, Dartington products had become fashionable in a nation that was socially mobile and embracing more contemporary design in the home. 
Sold in the best department stores and tabletop shops in the UK and export markets, early booming market demand was driven by its charismatic designer and sales director, Frank Thrower, with Frank both creating Dartington’s bestselling designs and using his charm to ensure they were sold successfully.

Frank died in 1987 (aged just 54) but the business continued to prosper though the level of import competition and changes in living habits began to threaten its unique market position. Having weathered various mergers and changes of ownership over the decades, Dartington Crystal today remains as a strong and vibrant British brand name, with innovative and attractive products designs. In recent years the business has won several awards and accolades together with significant expansion of sales and market channels. All crystal items are still produced by skilled craft makers at its Torrington factory. 

In 2017 the business, Dartington will mark its 50th year with a number of events and celebrations, as well as attendance at three European trade shows. 

• Feb 2017 – UK Spring Fair Trade Show
This prestigious trade event will launch our exciting 2017 new product collection including many special UK made products created to mark 50 our years of glass making. Dartington was one of the original exhibitors at the very first NEC Spring Fair in 1976. At the show we will unveil our ground breaking new wine glass collection developed and co-marketed with Laithwaites’ Wine. 

• February 2017 – Frankfurt Ambiente Show
Dartington will make a dazzling return (after a 15 year absence) to this key international showcase. Britain is the partner nation for the 2017 show, and we will be flying the flag for British manufacturing and design!

• July 2017 – Harrogate Home and Gift Show
As a longstanding exhibitor and supporter of this mid-year trade show, we will unveil our latest new designs for the second half of the year and the Christmas trading period. This launch should include a major new product partnership with a very famous and much loved British personality!

• Special Exhibit: March 2017 
Dartington will open a special exhibition area in its Visitor Centre displaying some of the stories and highlights that have happened over the last 50 years.

VIP Factory Visit: TBC March – June 
Dartington is planning a VIP visit to its Torrington factory. Confirmation of the details and date will be released in early 2017. The event will include a reception for its local business contacts, councillors and MPs.

Party: June 10th 2017 
The Company is hosting a special party to celebrate with its employees and families. Many past employees (including some of the original Scandinavian workers) will also be there for a great North Devon celebration.

Promotional activity: ongoing 
As well as the range of products linked to its 50th year, Dartington promote its brand story and products throughout the year via:

- Its website and social media activity plus to our Torrington visitors.
- Customer events and store promotions
- National and regional PR, targeting both national and local press, TV and home interest magazines to secure features and coverage of the Dartington story and the 50th year events.
- Branding – special brand devices will be used throughout 2017 on product, literature, online, to highlight the 50 year celebration. These will be available to retailers to use to support Dartington’s message to its customers.

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