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28th February 2011.
The North Devon-based manufacturer will make products including glasses, paperweights, vases, bowls and picture frames to celebrate the games. Usage of the Olympic logo is tightly controlled, so the licence will bring the company both bottom-line benefits as it opens up new markets and the kudos of being associated with the Olympics.
Dartington's marketing and design director Richard Halliday said that the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) was keen to see licences awarded to British brands. "We are excited about it. The sales opportunity should be the chance of a lifetime. The Olympics is the biggest event in the world and it won't come to the UK again in my lifetime," he said.
"We have been flying the flag as an English manufacturer and this is an endorsement of that position." The licence was announced by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and is one of just 37 to be granted so far. A range of products are being developed, with manufacturing likely to start in the New Year.
Some will be made in North Devon, while others will be made by the firm's subsidiary Caithness Glass, in Perthshire, and some manufacturing will be outsourced. The first range of products, to be launched in early 2011, will feature the London skyline and the Union Flag.
Dartington Crystal's Olympics range will include affordable souvenirs as well as commemorative glassware. As well as retail sales, there will be the chance to sell to Olympic sponsors and suppliers – potentially the most lucrative aspect of the licence.
"We are putting a lot into it in terms of resource and development and there are a lot of things that come out of it in terms of kudos and future business relationships," added Mr Halliday. "This is part of a number of steps we have been taking over the last two years and it's a big opportunity."
The company has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years from its late-1990s nadir, with a focus on manufacturing in the UK and the acquisition of Caithness Glass and Royal Brierley.
The firm now employs 130 staff.
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