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“I’d got a husband and children and a business; a plot that could haul me out of the situation.

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She called her company Bridgewater Pottery, which gave the impression it had been around for ages with no hint of the inexperienced 25-year-old behind its cheery polka-dot patterns.

When she married Matthew – they met at a trade fair – and had daughters Elizabeth, now 24, and Kitty, 23, she stepped away from the business, allowing it to tick over for six years under hired managers while she got on with family life.

I wait for her to start back-pedalling but she simply lowers her voice.

“I listened, fuming, to the lovely Cath Kidston on Desert Island Discs who was making out that you stroll out and start a business like it’s a walk in the park.

Emma Bridgewater - founder of the fantastically successful pottery company of the same name - still runs the business with her husband Matthew, despite its enormous success.

Emma Bridgewater Pottery is a thoroughly British business, too, with all the pottery made in Stoke-on-Trent, the traditional home of British pottery.

Her business turned over £11 million last year, but for all her success Bridgewater, whose childhood heroine was Laura Ashley, and who is good friends with fellow middle-class tastemakers Kidston and Johnnie Boden, insists she never planned to be a working mother, running a business empire in her fifties.

She had an eccentric yet privileged childhood in north Oxford.

Here are ten things you probably didn't know about this motivated business woman...1.

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