Robert Welch Designs hosted a visit from Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal on January 20.
The Princess Royal called at the studio and headquarters of the Cotswolds-based housewares company to mark its 60th anniversary and officially present it with the 2016 Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade.
She was escorted by managing director Rupert Welch, deputy managing director Alice Welch, and Dame Janet Trotter who is Lord-Lieutenant of Gloucestershire (the Queen appoints a Lord-Lieutenant as her representative in each county.).
The Princess Royal attended a reception held in the Robert Welch studio shop where she met members of the Robert Welch team, international distributors, trade customers and manufacturers.
Shortly afterwards, the official presentation of the Queens Award for Enterprise took place, with Dame Janet Trotter praising Robert Welch Designs as a ‘wonderful organisation that all of us who have anything to do with fall in love with’. She referred to the Queen’s Awards as the ‘Oscars of the business world’.
Rupert Welch was presented with a commemorative crystal bowl and Alice Welch was handed the official Queens Award for Enterprise scroll.
Her Royal Highness was then invited to unveil a plaque commemorating the visit and delivered a short speech, during which she wished Rupert and Alice best wishes for many years to come.
Speaking after the visit, Alice said: “It was an absolute privilege to welcome The Princess Royal, who is so well informed in terms of design and so genuinely interested in our company and its history.
“After the plaque had been unveiled we spent some time presenting the heritage wall in the studio shop, which documents my father Robert Welch’s design career.I think Her Royal Highness was genuinely surprised to see a photo of her father presenting Robert with an award the 1950s!”
Robert Welch (1929-2000), the company’s founder, left the Royal College of Art in 1955 and set up a workshop at the Old Silk Mill in Chipping Campden. Since then every single Robert Welch product has been designed in the same building by the in-house design team.In the early 1990s, Robert Welch invited his daughter Alice and son Rupert to join his team and help drive the company onwards.
Six decades on, Robert Welch Designs is now an internationally renowned brand with an extensive range of products including the award-winning Signature knife range and more than 30 cutlery designs.
Robert Welch Designs received the Queen’s Award for increasing year-on-year export sales to the point where they now represent over 40% of annual turnover. Its cutlery and kitchenware products are distributed and sold into over 70 countries around the world.
Rupert said: “To be part of an elite group of Queen’s Award for Enterprise winners is a real honour for us all. I’m immensely proud of this award which is a great tribute to our entire team and just how much meticulous consideration goes into creating, marketing, selling and distributing our products.
“The award recognises our talented and committed workforce, and their success with the associated logistics and business challenges involved in strengthening our export market.”
l-r: Robert Welch Designs managing director Rupert Welch, The Princess Royal, Robert Welch Designs deputy managing director Alice Welch and Robert Welch Designs life president Patricia Welch