Vintage has been the big fashion story over the past year but in the world of china itís always big news. We visit two Warwickshire companies who are in the business of china.

Spotting this resurgence in popularity of vintage china, fledgling Warwickshire businesswoman Laura Dew set up her business "My Vintage Part" in July 2009, hiring out vintage crockery for afternoon tea parties, weddings, birthdays and even funeral wakes.

"I came up with the idea when planning my own wedding last February," says the entrepreneurial 25-year-old. "We had a vintage-type theme running through the wedding day, so I was looking to hire bird cages and vintage cake stands and at the time couldn't find anyone who offered such a service.

"I've never been a 'modern' girl and into the latest home fashions; I've always loved anything old and liked going through my grandparents' home admiring their little treasures and that's where this vintage idea stemmed from."

Trawling local auctions, charity shops, car boot sales and the internet, Laura has built up enough floral vintage crockery to cater for a quintessential afternoon tea party for up to 200 and insists on only using pieces manufactured in England. She also sells her homemade vintage cake stands and tea cup candles online, while she and her husband re-furbished a quaint bijou 1960s Thompson caravan in "kind of Cath Kidston shabby chic", which is available for hire for parties, photo shoots or media events.

"The recession has definitely helped the popularity of vintage china with people being thriftier and picking up tea sets from charity shops, and there is a lot in the press at the moment inspiring people to go down the vintage tea party route," says Laura. "I love afternoon tea, you canít beat it. We are all in such a rush usually that sitting down for tea and cake makes a nice treat and a change from the norm."

Having recently joined forces with Leamington Spa-based The Urban Bakery, a boutique bakery cooking up dainty cupcakes and cookies Laura says: "We can offer the people of Warwickshire the complete traditional afternoon tea. We'll be Warwickshire's finest tea ladies, if you like!"

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