Temuka owner Paul Pepworth says the company aims to expand to new markets to keep the NZ-owned company going. Photo / Supplied
Temuka Pottery was bought by Decopot director Paul Pepworth in 2015, which he says has kept the business thriving through a diversified business model marketing to restaurants.
Now used in restaurants like Prego in Ponsonby,
Soul Bar, and Peter Gordon’s Homeland, Pepworth says the business aims to stay relevant in an ever-changing market.
What do you do at Temuka Pottery?
I’m the director and major shareholder of Deco Pot. Temuka Pottery is one of our brands.
I purchased Temuka Pottery about eight years ago in 2015.
Why did you purchase Temuka?
Decopot had been interacting with Temuka pottery for about 15 years. They were a customer of ours. Temuka pottery wasn’t sufficiently adaptable to continue being successful and thriving in the environment then and we felt we had something to offer.
So we bought the company, turned it upside down completely, discarded the gift ranges, pointed ourselves towards hospitality, and we’ve been modestly successful since then.
Advertise with NZME.
Temuka Pottery and its sister brand the Alchemist’s Table presently produces mainly tableware for high-end restaurants.
Tell me about the Alchemist’s Table?
Originally it was my two daughters, Sarah and Lucy that started it but we’ve recently merged three businesses together.
They were too small to manage effectively as separate entities, so as of April this year, they all operate as a single under the umbrella of Deco Pot – general ceramics, manufacturing and material servicing company.
We import materials and produce formulated materials for the ceramic hobby and small business sectors. We are a supplier, service provider and technology provider for all things ceramic in New Zealand.
Where are you based?
We operate from Palmerston North.
Palmerston North is where I settled after immigrating to New Zealand 28 years ago. When we integrated the Temuka Pottery operation, we did it from the Palmerston North site.
Advertise with NZME.
How did you get into ceramics yourself?
It’s a long, long story. It goes back about 45 years.
My partner and I were interested in ceramics as a pastime and I developed a passion for it, and I’ve made a living out of it ever since.
How has trading been over the last few years with the pandemic current economic downturn?
We’ve seen interesting changes in trading patterns. It’s been, more challenging to sell to restaurants because the restaurants themselves have been disadvantaged through lockdowns and border closures.
So the restaurant business has been static, but there’s been a resurgence in interest in ceramics. There are new craft pottery studios emerging all over New Zealand. One way or another we have a hand in supplying those studios either directly or through distribution channels.
What was your experience being at this year’s Food Show?
Our product is an artisan-crafted product. It’s appreciated by foodies.
When you go into a restaurant or when a meal is put in front of you in a restaurant, the first thing you do is get a visual impression of it. If it looks amazing, you’ll probably love it.
Presentation is important and so we’ve got a lot to contribute to the success of the hospitality sector by enabling them to present their food.
What are some of the bigger restaurants you supply?
Peter Gordon at Homeland is one of our customers. Soul Bar, Prego in Ponsonby are some of our customers.
There are frankly not many major restaurants that don’t in interact with us in some way.
Are you looking at expanding to overseas markets?
We are on the verge of entering some overseas markets, but it’s a bit premature to be talking about that.
What do you want to achieve from here on out with Temuka and the Alchemist’s Table?
I’m 68 years old so my main goal now is to enable another generation of business operators. My two daughters have, have a financial interest in the business. A number of our key staff have a financial interest in the business and we are positioning ourselves to expand the business as if we have just reached the half halfway mark.
So rather than thinking about retirement, we’re thinking about how do we refresh ourselves and use this as a springboard into the future.
It’s dynamic growth, new markets, new personnel, new marketing styles, including more business-to-consumer marketing.
We are very hospitality based at the moment, and hospitality pays discounted prices. If we sell everything at a discount, it’s hard to buy bread and milk.