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Next of Kiln

A re-registered trademark passes a beloved name in pottery on to a new generation of fans.
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This story appears in the November 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »
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Vital Stats: Janek Boniecki, 48, owner of Bauer Pottery Co. of Los Angeles

Company: Manufacturer of ceramic pottery

Sales: $750,000 projected for 2002

Abandoned Treasure: "I had a small company making and selling candles in bright ceramic pots, similar to Bauer colors. When I decided to start a ceramic pot business as well, I did a trademark search to register a name. The first thing I looked for was Bauer Pottery. I tried all the combinations for Bauer Pottery and didn't come up with anything. I was excited; I kept thinking I was doing something wrong on the trademark search. But I found it really had been an abandoned trademark since the 1960s and re-registered it in 1998."

"I was getting stores or antiques dealers who'd unscrupulously pass off the new Bauer as originals. I've stamped them 'Bauer 2000' ever since."

Collect Call: "I've collected Bauer since the early 1980s and was always inspired by their happy colors." Boniecki isn't alone: After a national magazine did an article on his business, he received more than 5,000 calls from collectors. "There's a big market of collectors excited to add the new Bauer to their collection."

Histori-Cali Cool: "After the Depression, Bauer was a California company introducing bright, happy colors when most of America had been eating off of tan or white china. They introduced the whole style of mixing and matching dinnerware, and it really boosted the patio lifestyle California was getting into in the 1930s. We've modified some of the original designs to fit the needs of our times, but 90 percent are the same."

Pot-Pourri: "There's definitely strength in what we've got. We will expand and offer more items, maybe extend the name as a home collection, textiles and possibly some furniture."

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Edition: May 2017

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