Jan. 31, 2012
This is part one in a series of guest blogs our friend and eco interior designer Kelly LaPlante will be writing for Fireclay as part of a new collection that she will be launching in early 2012.
Hello Fireclay Friends!
Over the past few months I've been designing an exclusive collection for Fireclay Tile—launching to dealers and designers in just a few months. Fireclay and I have had a wonderful relationship, marked with all sorts of exciting projects, custom collaborations and beautiful installations—so it was very fitting that my first licensed collection would be with them.
When this collaboration began, Paul Burns, Eric Edelson and I spent a good deal of time talking about what is missing in the tile market and what Fireclay and I can bring to the table. From there, I began one of the most fun parts of the job—collecting inspiration!
Inspiration, of course, is everywhere—in nature, architecture, music, food, politics... life. But to have a cohesive collection I find that it is smart to identify one great source for inspiration and run with that. I chose fashion because the idea of tile that seemed to fall right off the runway really resonated with me. I love that a homeowner could look at their back splash and feel glamorous or step into their shower and feel preppy—and I love having fun with my work— so why not use Stella McCartney and Coco Channel as my muses?
Five patterns have now been created and, as I type, the masterful Paul Burns and his team of ceramicists are turning my paper templates into prototype tiles.
I can't wait to share the final products with the design community over the next couple of months—and, in the meantime, you can view my inspirations on the Pintrest boards that I created for each look (all but one, which is so top secret that we didn't even make a board for it!) Make sure to check back in for updates about the collection, and ultimately the launch of this exciting new collection.
Jan. 24, 2012
Obama says bring manufacturing back to the United States!
We loved watching President Obama speak tonight on the State of the Union. We took away many key ideas and thoughts, but most important for us were his bullish comments about bringing manufacturing back to the United States. The speech was certainly controversial, but for leaders what decisions are rarely ever purely consensus driven. President Obama believes, and we agree, that it is vital to the successs of our economy and the longterm survival of the United States to have a strong manufacturing base.
President Obama boldly stated that the blueprint for our road to recovery "begins with American manufacturing...So we have a huge opportunity, at this moment, to bring manufacturing back. But we have to seize it. Tonight, my message to business leaders is simple: Ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed."
As a US manufacturer of ceramic and glass tile, we're making every effort to take Obama's challenge to heart. Last year we added 3 manufacturing jobs, and so far this year another 2 already. These are jobs that pay at least 30-50% above minimum wage, with an opportunity for benefits after an initial phase in period. Initiatives such as tax benefits for small business or manufacturing companies that Obama talked about are crucial to our ability to keep growing, and we fully support any and all of his goals.
Of course we also loved hearing him talk about education and illegal immigration reform, but in truth we believe it all starts with American workers and American manufacturing. Thank you President Obama for making manufacturing such a central part of this years State of the Union.
For a full transcript of the speech click here.
Jan. 18, 2012
Looking to add a little more sunshine to your weekend?
This Saturday, January 21st, Mosaic Artist Delaine Hackney will be teaching a hands on instructional mosaic making workshop at our Fireclay Tile Boneyard. $80 gets you all the tools and tricks to designing a winning garden mosaic!
Visit Delaine's website to register for this weekends workshop.
Questions? Call Dearsy, our showroom diva at 408.275.1182 (or email dearsy @ fireclaytile.com)
between 9am and 5pm Tuesday through Friday
Can't make it this weekend? That's okay, check back in with us soon for the 2012 schedule of mosaic workshops!
Jan. 15, 2012
The Fireclay Tile team recently had the opportunity to visit Kelly Moore Paint in San Carlos, CA. Just like so many people think all tile is made abroad, we thought the same of paint and we were surprised to find one of the most successful paint manufacturers so close to us in the Bay Area. After visiting the Kelly Moore website, we disovered that not only do they manufacture locally, they are also known for having one of the most sustainable plants in Northern California. We thought Fireclay Tile had a very sustainable manufacturing operation, though aftrer our visit to a true expert we realized we have much to learn!
Kelly Moore's plant manager, Keith Hussinger, was kind enough to invite us for a visit, so the entire leadership team and manufacturing managers joined Keith for an inspirational tour of Kelly Moore. But first, a bit of history from the kelly Moore website:
History: Kelly-Moore is one of the largest employee-owned paint companies in the United States. A leader and innovator of waterborne coating technology, Kelly-Moore was the first major paint company to offer recycled paints along with the large selection of colors and decorative sheens. Trusted and preferred by professionals since 1946 as the “Painter's Paint Store” for its high quality, performance and consistency, Kelly-Moore's paints are safe and easy to use for everyone. Kelly-Moore has three strategically located, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in key markets: San Carlos and Sacramento, Calif., and Hurst, Texas (outside Dallas). Its reputation for quality products is unsurpassed in the industry. The company produces some of the most technologically advanced paint products and sets the industry standard for new product development and quality control. Kelly-Moore has over 150 retail stores in seven states: Arkansas, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington. Kelly Moore has 1,500 employees.
Sustainable Manufacturing: Its main environmentally friendly manufacturing facility in San Carlos is the recipient of five widely recognized green business awards from the State of California and San Mateo County for outstanding efforts to reduce pollution and solid waste and conserve water, energy and other natural resources. California is well-known for having the toughest regulations and inspection processes in the country. Kelly-Moore is proud to have received prestigious awards including the 2009 Large Green Business of the Year award by San Carlos Chamber of Commerce and it is a San Carlos Certified Green Business, California State Assembly.
Keith hosted 5 of us on a full 1.5 hour tour of the Kelly Moore facility. Here's a photographic recap of what we learned!
Air Compressor: Keith pointing out a new air compressor system that has saved the company a tremendous amount of energy. He said it had a 40% per year return on investment! This proved to be a common theme in our tour - Kelly Moore has recently invested a lot in new manufacturing technologies to reduce energy consumption and save money!
BBQ Pit: We loved this, as we love our Fireclay Tile BBQs!
Raw Material Storage: We were so impressed by how clean and well organized everything at Kelly Moore is. Their raw materials are extremely well kept, seperated by material, all clearly labeled on pallets. It gave all of us a good idea of how a larger company manages raw materials.
More raw material storage. Not a speck of dust on the floor...literally!
Paint Mixers: Keith next showed us mixing vats. These each hold something like 55,000 gallons of paint. Many of these vats are new and recent purchases, and Keith credits this investment in better vats as allowing them to keep up with the development pace in the paint industry for more eco-oriented paints.
Paint being mixed live!
Super Sacks Recycled: We learned that Kelly Moore recycled everything, or everything that they can. An example are super sacks, which they keep well stacked and organized to be used later. Ramiro, our Factory Manager, was taking a lot of notes at this point!
Signage and Quality: We saw many examples of signs like this throughout the factory, speaking to Kelly Moore's values and history.
Quality Control: The QC department at Kelly Moore checks each and every paint made across a huge number of variables. This ensures that every batch made meets their very strict quality standards, and there is a team that is solely responsible for this.
Stocking Colors: Something interesting about Kelly Moore is they are one of the only paint companies to make stocking colors, whereas most other paint companies use pigments you mix in the paint store. By making stock colors like this, Kelly Moore ensures any paint you buy from them today they will make exactly the same way in 5, 10 or 20 years. Their paint never goes out of style!
Technology: This is another example of technology at work - each valve directs what paint ingredient goes where
Waste Watre: Kelly Moore reclaims all water it uses to clean its paint mixers. This is a huge initiative for them, and one they have received tremendous recognition for. These vats of waste water then get used when making the next batch of that same paint color, also saving them money. Each waste water vat is labeled by paint color, and organized perfectly just like everything else at the factory.
Waste Reduction: Keith told us that in the past 6 years they have reduced their garbage by 85%! That is incredible. They actually were smart enough to go find other local companies to retool their machinery to reprocess and recycle some of Kelly Moore's waste. Unbelieveable smart!
Inventory Management: Kelly Moore recently went through a large Oracle implementation and they can now track each and every paint can throughout its entire operation. It is truly impressive.
This was a picture of the damage from the Loma Prieta earthquake at the Kelly Moore paint factory. Literally paint everywhere!
Dust Collector: Kelly Moore replaced a HUGE dust collector with one much smaller shown here. This had huge economical advantages, as well as environmental for its staff.
Robotics: Keith pointed out certain robotics that Kelly Moore had spent about $1.5M on. He said in its first year the new "toys" saved them $1.3M, not even counting the safer work environment for their staff.
Robotic arm at work lifting paint cans and pallets.
Paint fill line.
The Kelly Moore facility is carbon neutral. Very impressive!
That concluded our tour, and as you can see it left us with a really tremendous impression of Kelly Moore, their paint, and their commitment to a better environment. As a small manufacturer, Fireclay Tile has a lot of work to do to keep up wtih larger companies, but seeing Kelly Moore thriving while doing the right thing gives us even more motivation to keep making improvements.
Next time you are looking for paint, we highly recommend Kelly Moore Paint!