Fireclay Tile, the socially responsible California tile maker with a mission to do good, today announced a significant expansion to Employee Ownership. As the first and only Certified B Corp™ tile maker and the first Climate Neutral Certified tile company, Fireclay Tile strives to galvanize others in the industry to build a better version of capitalism by closing in on inequalities and pivoting their business to meet changing needs. Inspired by the company’s work as a B Corp, the corporate certification achieved by passing a rigorous assessment of social and environmental performance, Fireclay Tile is working individually and collectively to create a more sustainable and equitable economic system for its 150 team members.
Fireclay Tile’s announcement includes a new 23% Employee Stock Option Plan, on top of the 15% already owned by team members. In tandem, the company has become a member of Certified Employee-Owned, completing a detailed process that ensures the ownership plan meets high standards of broad-based employee ownership. Only about 10% of Americans have ownership in their workplaces, and only 6,000 businesses meet the threshold to be considered “Employee Owned.” Research shows Employee Owned businesses produce greater revenues and profitability compared to their peers, and since first introducing employee ownership in 2013, Fireclay Tile has increased revenues 8x. This progressive move towards a more equitable enterprise helps Fireclay Tile deliver value across all key stakeholders – starting with team members first, the communities in which the company operates, their supply chain, and the environment – alongside shareholders. In the end, Fireclay Tile employees will have a better financial opportunity and a clear interest in the company’s success. Fireclay Tile and its investors, including Whiteroad Investments, are making this happen via a buyout of its founder, Paul Burns, who dedicated 35 years to artisan tile and the company.
“As a local, US based maker with a belief that business can be a force for positive change, this move to Employee Ownership is tremendously exciting,” said Eric Edelson, CEO of Fireclay Tile. “We are creating a $100M design brand that shows a company can be both a highly profitable business but more importantly one focused on stakeholder capitalism. While we’ve always held ourselves to a higher standard by providing fair and equitable pay and benefits, ensuring that our dedicated team has a meaningful opportunity at wealth creation is incredibly motivating. We’re hopeful this commitment to the very people who are doing the work will be shared by our peers to ultimately inspire an industry-wide shift.”
As a mission-driven, values-based company rooted in innovation, Fireclay Tile’s significant expansion to employee ownership is the latest chapter in leveraging business for good. In addition, the company is taking more steps to ensure financial health for employees with a new hardship relief fund via Philanthropi and also a charitable contribution matching for team members so they can further support community organizations they love.