Dartington Makes Another Play for U.S. Market

       

       

By Allison Zisko

Dartington Crystal, the 40-year-old English-made crystal brand, will re-enter the U.S. market this summer with official launches at gift shows in Atlanta and Dallas.

A concisely edited assortment of lead-free as well as lead crystal and glass barware, stemware and giftware will be available via a U.S. warehouse, said Orlando Gencarelli, national sales manager for the U.S. market. Additional pieces from Dartington’s extensive collections can be special-ordered. Caithness, a sister company known for its high-end paperweights, will also be available in the U.S., but the focus is on Dartington, Gencarelli said.

Gencarelli’s strategy is to target independent specialty stores. Price points range from $20 to $30 per piece.

The company takes its name from Dartington Hall in Devon, England, which in the late 1960s opened a glass factory in an effort to establish a manufacturing presence in north Devon. The company, originally run by a Swedish executive and Scandinavian glassblowers but now English-run, soon became known for its mouthblown glass expertise, according to Gencarelli. Today it is a lifestyle-oriented company with many transitional pieces.

The Dartington brand has been offered in the U.S. many times in the past through different distributors, most recently with Royal China & Porcelain Companies. RCPC filed for bankruptcy shortly after British-based Royal Worcester & Spode Ltd. was placed in receivership in November 2008. The Spode and Royal Worcester brands were picked up by Portmeirion Group.

Gencarelli, a former RCPC executive, believes Dartington deserves attention because it is a high-quality European product, one of the few remaining companies that still manufactures in England, and is competitively priced.