Original BTC is our Supplier of the Week, 29 August – 4 September.
Founded by Peter Bowles, Original BTC are a popular name in the industry and it is easy to understand why. From responsive customer service, to rescuing factories on the brink of closure, this family-run business offer both new and familiar UK-made lighting solutions. Original BTC has a lighting catalogue itself, as well as being the umbrella brand for Davey Lighting and Beadlight, allowing them to continue manufacturing in Britain.
We spoke with the team to find out more.
What’s the story behind Original BTC?
Original BTC was founded by Peter Bowles, who’s relaxed, familiar lighting is driven by a family heritage of design steeped in manufacturing and business.
Childhood visits to his father’s manufacturing facilities opened Peter’s eyes to the clean lines of traditional factory fittings and the versatility of mid-century style. Peter soon opened a Sheffield factory producing a million pieces of own-designed cutlery a year.
Challenged by the design limitations of cutlery, in 1990 Peter went back to his roots with an Oxford-based lighting factory. “My goal was to design and produce lights that you are instantly at home with, that will fit easily and comfortably for many years to come”.
When a visit to the Stoke-on-Trent shade manufacturer revealed the factory was under threat of closure, Peter promptly took on the business, including all staff. Later, unsatisfied with the finish of commonly-used plastic lighting flex, he replaced it with woven cotton braid snipped off the family iron, soon becoming one of Original BTC’s best-loved design features.
A unique figure in British manufacturing, Peter’s repertoire includes launching new brands, rescuing struggling British heritage brands and factories as well as designing the group’s products, all in conjunction with son Charlie who became Director in 2012.
What would say is special about your products?
Our diverse and unique range of lighting draws inspiration from Britain’s rich post industrialisation history as well as incorporating modern tastes and trends with our very latest innovative designs.
Quality, detail and an interesting mix of materials are integral to the designs. It is here where the lighting designs, whether crafted from versatile bone china, the finest aluminium, copper, brass and iron, come to life. The detailing of cotton braided cables, satin chromed bases & contrasting coloured shades make not only Original BTC, but our other brands, Davey Lighting and Beadlight’s products uniquely distinctive and popular in Europe and beyond.
How and where are your products manufactured?
From using centuries old techniques to the very latest technology, all our lights are handmade and manufactured in the UK. Our six production facilities include a rescued metalwork factory in Birmingham, glassworks, which secured the future of English Antique Glass, and a Stoke-on-Trent bone china factory, again rescued from closure in 2002.
What’s the most important part of your process?
It’s hard to pick just one! Manufacturing our own products allows us to ensure quality in hand-crafted products and to work closely with our clients on their projects. Also, having the immediate communication between clients, account managers, designers, production and the technical team helps our clients stick to their schedules and enables us to create solutions to their lighting requests and projects.
Where have your designs been used recently?
Products from our 3 catalogues, Original BTC, Davey Lighting and Beadlights have been used across a variety of restaurants and hotels recently, some examples are:
What can we expect to see in the coming year?
This coming year we will be focussed on:
- Quicker lead times
- More showrooms… watch this space!
- A new and exciting range to be released early 2017
Finally, can you leave us with a preview for your 100% Design stand?
To open a trade account with Original BTC and start ordering from them directly, click through to their catalogue below, and then ‘request a connection’: