In Somerset, England, Berkeley Chess designs and manufactures high quality theme chess.
I asked Michael, founder of Berkeley Chess his thoughts on this exciting new venture.
“Having spent 14 years in the themed chess business I was well aware of the demand that exists amongst chess players together with their families and friends for a unique gift related to their hobby. Themed chess sets offer a perfect, complementary product which combines an interest in chess with that of history, literature and occasionally whimsical subjects such as movie related topics.
I combined the experience that I have gained over the years with two other colleagues, one of which has specialist manufacturing skills built up over many years. We therefore set up our factory, based in Somerset, England.
The supply side of themed chess has changed greatly over many years with many companies moving their production to China. At Berkeley Chess we wanted to design and manufacture to the highest quality in England. We also saw a huge opportunity to provide a very competitively priced collection by keeping our overheads and costs low.
At Berkeley Chess we are passionate about chess – for the interest of the game itself and also the benefits it can bring, especially to children of all ages and backgrounds.
Chess is proven to help with children’s educational outcomes and encourages social development. It is the most popular game in human history and is played regularly by over 700 million people around the world – 6 million in the UK and 35 million in the US with more than half of these enthusiasts aged between 18 and 34.
Themed chess therefore provides a unique commercial opportunity by offering a practical and imaginative gift to players or their friends and families. Fulfilling this demand is certainly an exciting prospect.
The most important attributes in themed chess are quality, authenticity and creativity and also knowing that replacement pieces will always be available. At Berkeley Chess we guarantee that if a chess piece is lost or broken, no matter how long after the set has been purchased, that we will always be able to provide replacements.
The key challenge has been to ensure that we had the production skills needed to reflect the quality that we and our customers demand. We believe that we have achieved this with a collection that is unsurpassed. The other key challenge has been to adapt to the ever changing conditions in the retail sector and ensure that we fully support our partners in both online and main street operations.
The most popular designs in themed chess have generally been historical and literary subjects which provide an excellent feature in traditional and contemporary homes. The Berkeley Chess collection covers many of the most popular subjects including an Isle of Lewis set in two versions, Medieval, Camelot and Mandarin. In addition to British heritage designs you will also see classical subjects such as Roman and Egyptian as well as a Movie Stars set and also superb interpretations of Alice in Wonderland and Shakespeare.”
Thank you so much for these insights Michael. We are excited to help bring further enjoyment of chess to every home with your chess pieces production. Knowing your experience in this field, I’m sure they will be thoroughly enjoyed by youth, parents, and grandparents.