Floral Range Closes

Aynsley for many year’s commissioned Studio Hinks to produce their range of florals. With the colapse of Doulton & Wedgwood knock on effect also brought down Studio Hinks.

Aynsley removed their floral range from their 2009 retail catalogue because their main supplier has closed.

The UK’s last remaining china flower manufacturer has shut down with customers owing £50,000. Studio Hinks Fine China had kept alive the skilled art of handmade painted fine china flowers and floral arrangements.

But the Longton firm has gone into liquidation with the loss of 16 jobs after customers had not settled accounts totalling £50,000.

Liquidators say more than £35,000 is owed by Waterford Wedgwood-owned Royal Doulton. It is not known if any of the money is overdue.

Studio Hinks, at the Regent Works on Lawley Street, was set up in 2005 by managing director John Hinks after his employer Royale Stratford shut down. Mr Hinks had founded Royale Stratford in 1976 and stayed on as a consultant after selling the firm in 1999.

But pensioner Mr Hinks then shunned retirement when the company closed to launch Studio Hinks and offer his former colleagues a jobs lifeline.

The firm supplied clients including Aynsley, Royal Doulton and the Eden Project, in Cornwall.

Mr Hinks, who is in his late 60s, said today: “More than anything I’m upset for the people who have worked for me over the years.”

Liquidator Phil Wood, managing director of Newcastle accountant Barringtons, said: “Mr Hinks sold his shareholding in the company at the beginning of October to a Russian, but stayed to run it. It was hoped this would generate some money, but it hasn’t.

“Also various debtors have failed to pay Studio Hinks. Mr Hinks had to say to them, I’m not a banker, I can’t carry on trading. When they didn’t pay he pulled the plug.

“There’s a creditors meeting on December 8, and I shall be quite robust in debt collection.”

Sue Evans, chief executive of the Ceramic Industry Forum, which provides support for pottery firms, said: “Making ceramic flowers is a very skilled occupation and it’s a great disappointment and shame that a company with that amount of skill is going.

“If there is any chance it can be revived, every effort should be made to achieve that.”