In The Beginning
As the world reshaped itself throughout the post-war years, entering into an era of greater prosperity, the Powell family were making ends meet in north Wales by producing homemade pottery.
To a small market of holiday-makers and better-off locals (often teachers and students from the nearby boarding school), the family sold pots, plates, crafts and souvenirs. It was an offbeat upbringing for the brothers, Simon, Nick, Shon and Ianto, growing up in the artisan household of their parents, Rhys and Jean, often without much money at all, but always in an atmosphere of creativity and enterprising spirit. Without knowing it, Nick and Shon were living through, and helping to shape, the beginnings of Craig Bragdy Design as it exists today.
An appreciation of design
Even at twelve and nine years old, Nick and Shon were getting clay under their fingernails, helping to make, decorate, and (hopefully) sell the family ceramics. This was part of growing up for the two boys – their version of doing chores about the house – but of course it was an early grounding in the processes of production and sales. Perhaps most important, as they helped to make the pottery, they absorbed an understanding of design. Powell Pottery was becoming Powell Tiles (which became, at least in name, Powell Tiles International), a change that started to attract commissions needing a fundamental knowledge of designing and presenting ideas. The family’s craft was becoming a business defined by an acute awareness of design requirements, which prepared the way for a shift towards murals and, eventually, swimming pool design.
Developing key skills
Nick went abroad later on, studying and working in photography (“Big piece of glass towards the picture, small piece next to your eye!”), which taught him new ways of seeing creatively. Shon accumulated experience at home, within the family business as well as at other companies, gaining a knowledge of organisation and planning in large productions lines, workforces and cash flows.
- Left: Family photo, Brookhouse circa 1970. From left: Shon, Jean, Simon, Ianto, Rhys and Nick.
Right: Nick and Shon carry one of the first murals.
A thriving business
Today, Nick and Shon lead Craig Bragdy Design as partners, applying their individual and shared experience, as well as their personality and drive, travelling extensively to meet clients in person and all the time with a highly talented and motivated group of people back where it began, in north Wales.