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The turning to decorative house ware >>
The beginning of a small big company

In 1984, Norberto Domingos Batalha, with 33 years old decided to create his own company, finishing a period of 19 years working as an employee in other potteries of the Mafra region, where he has learned the art that he now masters.

Although he was already working on his own, at the beginning, he continued working for the potteries where he used to be employed, allowing him to always have work to do, while looking for other clients for his starting-up company.

It was the birth of Olaria Norberto Domingos Batalha, an individual company, with a family size and very small, employing only one person, apart from the owner and his wife
In this first period all the work was hand made without any other resource of any kind of machinery, which was at this time impossible to acquire due to the high investment needed. Therefore there was the need to rely on other potteries to obtain the already prepared clay, as well as to fire the produced pieces.
During the following two years this was the working method, but with the entrance of Portugal into the E.U., and mainly with the availability of funds from E.U. social fund, new investments where started, bringing benefits also to this small company, since the Portuguese economy was in full growth.

In 1998, a new gas oven (2m3) and a blender line to prepare the clay are acquired. With this new investment and new market perspectives, a new employee is admitted, allowing the development of all the manufacturing process, from the raw material to the finished product, inside the company without having to rely on any outsourcing service, necessary until now. The company becomes more independent and productive with high quality concerns, while new clients appear.
Since the beginning, the strategy adopted by the company, was to bet on handcrafted quality work, based on the art and simplicity of the manufacturing process as a distinguishing characteristic, while our direct competitors were investing in machinery, capable of producing their products automatically. Although our main competitors were becoming more productive, we maintained a vast line of designs and shapes impossible to reproduce mechanically revealing that our bet had been well aimed.
About 1990, the traditional house ware goods, and some small plates personalized, were our best sellers. At the time there was a big demand, and the sales were at a good rhythm giving the company a good stability along with growth. Alongside with the increase in sales more skilled workers were admitted, and new equipment investments were made. Until nearly 1995, progress was the prevailing philosophy.
Meanwhile, our competitors were growing strongly at the time, since the manufacturing process was faster and easier, the house ware market begins searching for the best price instead of overtaking the handcrafted product, more expensive, given its characteristics.

At this time the company suffers its first crisis, since the demand was fading, cut backs are needed and the number of employees is reduced from 10 to 6, while a new strategy had to be considered.

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