Making a display of one's fine tableware is a habit of the country kitchen cook rather than of the cool urban chef. But Danielle Chaker Bulos and younger brother Richard Shakir Bulos have overturned tableware's chintzy image by designing their own retro-look range - now depicted in glossy lifestyle magazines.
The team were fresh from design school when they bought premises in Birmingham last year. They began selling their tableware to small independent outlets, but within eight months were designing a range for Liberty and are now negotiating a deal with Harrods. Following their refurbishment of a funky Birmingham bar, their company, Shakir Chaker, is branching out into interior design.
Although Britain's ceramics industry is in decline, 30-year-old Danielle and Richard, 28, believe their designs will feature high on the must-have lists of designer-living addicts. 'Companies are going under because of cheap imports and a failure to keep up with changes in modern living,' explains Danielle. But Shakir Chaker avoids these pitfalls and already exports 10% of its production.
Danielle remains surprised by Shakir Chaker's quick success. 'For a company that's only been in business for 16 months we're doing really well,' she says.
Is the stress showing? 'Sometimes there's a bit of sibling discord,' she admits. 'But I couldn't go into business with anyone else.'