Archives for December 2011:
Dec. 31, 2011
2011 was an incredible year for Fireclay Tile and our team. We thought we'd take a moment to remember some of our accomplishments
- Customers: We added 20 new dealers to the Fireclay Tile family. From Boston to Florida to Texas to Washington, these included both some amazing new tile showrooms as well as some great green building supply stores. And we were able to increase our sales to our dealers by 73% in 2011 over 2010, something we are extremely proud of and worked hard to achieve.
- Orders: We completed over 1400 orders this year, ranging in size from one piece to over 5,000 square feet. We completed 208 Crush glass tile orders, and 1,217 ceramic tile orders. Out of all of these orders, over 85% were completed on time (a 15% improvement over 2010)
- Employees: We started the year with 27 full-time employees and are ending the year with 33 full-time employees. We added 5 FTE's to our San Jose team, and 1 to our Aromas team. We hope to hire even more in 2012! In addition, for the first time in 2 years we were able to offer raises to our production team and small holiday bonuses to everyone.
- Customer Service: Over 90% of our customers had an excellent experience with Fireclay Tile in 2011. Our goal is 100%, so we have some work to do!
- BBQs: We take our BBQ very seriously at Fireclay, and in 2011 we celebrated good times with 4 BBQs. This was flat to 2010, and one stat we want to improve!
- Sales: For any business, sales are extremely important. We ended 2011 with a 5% increase in sales. Most exciting is that in Q4 we saw a 2-3x increase in order volume, and we are starting 2012 off with a healthy pipeline.
- Product Launches: We launched our new Crush 100% Recycled Glass tile line in May 2011. We surpassed our sales expectations, and have a production team in place that is making absolutely beautiful glass tile. We are aiming to double our sales in 2012.
- Press: We had some unbelievable press this year, capping the year off with an Honorable Mention for Crush in Interiors & Sources. We had over 32 press mentions, not counting the numerous blogs, tweets, and Facebook posts.
- Samples: We shipped out over 1,222 samples to various customers throughout the country. That's almost 6 samples each and every day!
- Email List: We grew our email list by 25% in 2011.
- Web Traffic: Our web traffic increased almost 2x in 2011 over 2010. We are planning for similar growth in 2012, with many new website updates already in the works!
- Social Media: We are ending the year with 462 Fireclay Facebook fans and over 600 Fireclay Twitter followers. We are planning some great social media campaigns in 2012, and our goal is to see these numbers each hit over 10,000 in 2012.
We have so much planned for 2012, including new products, new marketing ideas, and new sales and customer service initiatives. We can't thank you, our customers, enough for your commitment to Fireclay Tile and all that we do. You make work fun each and every day!
Paul and Eric, Owners, Fireclay Tile
Dec. 30, 2011
Today I had the opporutunity to visit with one of our favorite customers. What was different is that this customer serves food - and the food is quite delicious. I'm talking about The Melt, one of the hottest restaurant concepts of 2011. Started by Jonathan Kaplan of FlipCam, The Melt's goal is to be the premier quick served grilled cheese and soup destination. After my experience today, I can say they are well on their way. Plus, we love The Melt because they were our first customers of our new glazed thin brick line (Launching January 2012)
My wife and I visited the The Melt Embarcadero location and were immediatley impressed by 4 key things:
1) FAST SERVICE: For a holiday week in SF, it was super crowded, but the line moved really quickly and very efficiently.
2) COOL ORDER SCREEN: After ordering, we saw our name show up on their "order board" which was super cool and something I'd never seen in a restaurant before. We knew exactly when our food would be ready!
3) SODA FOUNTAIN: I love a good fountain soda, and The Melt's fountain soda machine is totally unique and serves delicious Diet Coke.
4) GLAZED THIN BRICK: We may be biased, but we think the glazed thin brick in The Melt looks spectacular!
[Photo: Facebook, New Montgomery Location]
My wife and I dined on The Mission and The Classic and enjoyed every last bite. We will definitely be back!
- Eric Edelson
Dec. 20, 2011
Fireclay Tile has been fortunate over the years to be specified in over 100 high traffic grocery stores and many restaurants and food prep areas. In 2010, we have produced tile for already two grocery stores with several more being worked on, as well as numerous restaurants. Grocery stores include Whole Foods Markets (San Jose, Fairview, Huntington Beach), Metropolitan Market (Seattle), New Frontiers (San Luis Obispo), and New Leaf Market (Capitola).
Debris Series Recycled Tile in the seafood section of United Supermarkets, Texas.
Designers and architects on these projects specifiedFireclay Tile for many reasons including:
Color: At Fireclay we offer over 230 standard colors available on a variety of clay bodies. Our Debris Series Recycled Tile is by far the most preferred, not just due to the high recycled content, but also because of price and size availability (as small as 1x1 and up to 12x12 with everything in between). This range of colors, as well as the ability to specify a custom color or tweak and existing shade, allows grocery stores to truly showcase their brand and create an eye-catching environment worthy of their beautiful meats and seafood.
Durability and Longevity: Simply, our tile is the highest quality, most durable ceramic tile on the market.
Price: Our tile is handmade to reflect “Old World” styles, yet our ceramics technology is advanced and scalable, allowing us to provide pricing that fits company budgets. We will never be as cheap as Dal Tile, but because of the flexibility, customer service, customization, and responsiveness the price quickly becomes affordable, and in the long run due to our high quality and durability, the investment produces far more positive return due to increased customer purchasing. Without naming customers, we have had stores leave us to specify a less highly regarded product in a store, only to come back and admit their mistake and tell us how the lower quality tile actually produced a drop in sales.
Debris Series Recycled Tile featured in Whole Foods - Custom Pizza Oven -Portland, OR
Ease of Maintenance: Tile is a preferred wall and surface covering because it lasts forever (just ask the Romans) and it is so easy to maintain. It cleans well, allows for no bacterial growth, and will stay beautiful for years.
Enhanced Product Presentation: The beauty and flexibility of Fireclay Tile enhances the look of grocery stores and restaurants. Ceramic tile is very familiar to customers, and that comfort and ease translates into more sales for stores. With the ability to diversify color selection to really make a statement, different sections of stores can be further enhanced and the customer can better associate surroundings with taste palletes.
Code: Universal building code requires certain materials for food prep areas. Ceramic tile is an easy fit and satisfies food code in any of these environments. Furthermore, with reduced regulation around color index requirements, grocery stores can do so much more with tile to enhance their surroundings. When compared other materials that meet code, the design flexibility weighs heavily in favor of tile.
Debris Series Recycled Tile featured in Whole Foods - seafood section with custom mural. -Portland, OR
As you can see, we think highly of our product, and if you don’t believe us just check out our notable installations. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us and ask for more information.
Dec. 13, 2011
One of our newest Fireclay Tile Dealers, Q-Tile and Lighting in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida openened it's doors two and a half months ago with ten differnent lines of tile.
Suzy Accola, Owner and Designer, took a few moments to chat with us about her reasons behind choosing to pick up Fireclay Tile.
Owner/Designer, Suzy Accola in the Q-TIle and Lighting Showroom.
FCT: What prompted you to open Q-Tile and Lighting in Santa Rosa Beach?
SA: I moved here four months ago from Wisconsin, and saw a need for quality artisan tile in the area.
FCT: Why do you carry Fireclay?
SA: I love the shapes, colors, and the fact that it's handmade vibrant tile, my clients love the colors available and the fun shapes too. Building Green is a passion of mine, and after becoming a licensed Green Consultant it became even more important for me to choose vendors who not only make an envirnonmentall friendly product, but have sustainable business practices as well.
FCT: What are some of your Fireclay Favorites?
SA: Right now, it's the Paseo shape in turquoise and the larger tiles in the Crush line.
FCT: What is your favorite, or most memorable install?
SA: We LOVE color at Q! One install was pretty exciting as it was a dining room floor and kitchen floor. The cabinets were robins egg blue. We went with 4 colors of 9 inch arabesco floor tile: robins egg blue, vanilla, light yellow and sage green. The kitchen transitioned into vanilla and robins egg blue 10 inch square tiles to form a pattern. There was a BIG moment when we all were scared if the color/pattern combo could be overwhelming.
Luckily for all of us, it turned out to be a beautiful, eclectic and cheerful kitchen/dining room! In fact, it won a space in the tile company's latest catalogue! We can't wait to be in Fireclay's!
Having said that, we take our selections seriously, but like to take risks. So far, they have really paid off! We absolutely love the color pallet and array of design options we have with Fireclay.
If you are in the Santa Rosa Beach,FL - stop in and say, "Hi" to our firends at Q-Tile!
If you would like to become a Fireclay Tile Dealer, please visit our become a dealer page.
Dec. 12, 2011
Recently InteriLife, one of our great dealer showrooms in Colorado Springs, Colorado sent us a kitchen trasnformation that they just completed using our Express Series quick ship 3x6 field tile in Moss. InteriLife provides sustainable materials, natural products, & design for a healthier green lifestyle.
Our Express Series ships in one week and comes in six contemporary colors, and like our Debris Series the Express Line features over 62% recycled materials (including post-consumer waste), is made in California, and qualifies for numerous LEED points.
Here is what the kitchen looked like before it met Fireclay...
InteriLife used our Express Series Quick Ship 3x6 field tile in the color Moss.
If your kitchen could use a little refreshening, check out our Dealer Locator to find your nearest Fireclay Tile Dealer Showroom.
Dec. 12, 2011
Fireclay Tile has stunning reddish orange selections to add real pop to your next project.
Vitrail Series in Tangerine Debris Series in Coral
Crush 100% Recycled Glass Tile in Habanero
Dec. 7, 2011
Our Crush won runner up for Best Surfacing Material!
Special thanks to everyone who showed us some love and voted for us.
To read more about all of the winners and product categories, visit the Readers' Choice: Best Products Results Page
Dec. 6, 2011
Yesterday we were honored to welcome the owners of Heath Ceramics, Robin and Cathy, as well as their head of Sales, Christina. Heath and Fireclay Tile enjoy a very similar history. Edith Heath founded Heath in 1948, mostly focused on pottery and then started later to make tile. Paul Burns, our Founder and Chief Ceramicist, learned the art of tile from his Uncle Chester, who owned Stonelight Tile, another legendary California tile manufacturer. Fireclay and Heath actually go quite a ways back, in fact, one of our kilns is a kiln from an old Heath Factory in the mid-west (no longer in operation). We had the chance to visit Heath earlier in the year, and it was great to be able to show off the great work that our team does.
Robin, Cathy, Christina (Heath) and Paul
The tour consisted of some time at our ceramics factory in Aromas, CA, where we showed the Heath team everything that one would find in our Manufacturing Video where we highlight how we make each and every unique order. Much more fun than any part of the tour, though, was when we challenged the three to a Cuerda Seca "paint-off"!
Robin, Cathy and Christina paint Cuerda Seca decorative tiles
We then headed up to San Jose to check out our Factory Showroom as well as our Crush 100% Recycled Glass Tile manufacturing operation.
All in all it was a great day full of many stories of tile manufacturing and some fun new ideas. If you haven't had a chance to check out the Heath website, visit www.heathceramics.com.