As a fellow entrepreneur, there is nothing I appreciate more than a success story.. Behind every seemingly “overnight success” is usually 25 years or so of preparation! In the case of Oceanside Tile, this was certainly the case.
We were fortunate enough to win a trip down to tour the companies headquarters in Oceanside and their custom built -to -suit factory in Tijuana. ( We won an Instagram contest for this photo at the recent KBIS show – the Kitchen and Bath show here in Vegas)
Accompanied by our local showroom representatives, Michele and John Aloe of Walker Zanger, we were picked up by the OGT owners who started our road trip early in the morning complete with breakfast burritos and hot coffee ( a little backup info – Marc and I were both living in San Diego before moving to Vegas and Mexican food is practically religion down there! so this was a great start 🙂 Lunch was amazing too at an authentic roadside eatery..
Here’s the “gang” from the front left – John Aloe from Walker Zanger, Joe Denton, SW Regional Sales Manager from Oceanside Tile, Michele Aloe, also from Walker Zanger and me in the red.
In the back row, my hubby and business partner Marc in the hat and that is Sean Gildea and Johnny Markz to the left!
But I digress!! Back to the Main Story!
We were super impressed and flattered that both of the founding owners Johnny Marckz and Sean Gildea took the entire day to share their time and their journey with us. Currently doing millions of dollars in business each year, you wouldn’t guess that this started as a very modest business from a beach shack in Oceanside with a couple of surfers trying to make a living out of their glass blowing hobby in between great surf sessions! As with any business, there were growing pains and mistakes made.. All of these lessons teaching them how to do it better the next time. The factory tour was fascinating!
I have used Oceanside tile for years in our projects – but till now I really had no idea how is was made. Besides the fact that is it a very artisanal process with many checks and balances along the way for quality control – It is a true science to get the glass just the right temperature and to control the color and consistency.
Here are a few photos of the first few steps from the furnace to the “grill”.. You should have seen the team member flipping the hot molten glass as if they were simply breakfast waffles! Entertaining?? yes!!! but also an important part of getting the glass to just the right temperature.
Another almost unbelievable plus is that the Oceanside product is environmentally sustainable.. ONLY recycled glass is used to make the tile products and there is NO WASTE! Every detail was thought all the way through so that every last glass scrap is recycled back to the factory leaving NO footprint. Here is how the glass arrives at the factory before processing of any kind.
There are many myths that the laws in Mexico regarding environmental safety laws are “easier” than in the US but the owners of Oceanside can testify to just the opposite. They are proud of their track record of being environmentally sound and having a 100% safety record.
One thing is quite evident after touring. This is a very hands on product! Each and every tile product they create is made and touched by human hands.. and as we toured the factory in Tijuana, you could see and feel the pride of the team members who were all intent on mirroring the precision that had taken YEARS of experimentation of trial and error to get it “just right.”
Here are a few installation photos.. All products are customizable – so the possibilities are endless!
John and Sean have cultivated a very strong culture of empowerment and language that mirrored the company values. Some of the words we heard over and over again throughout the day were the importance of “communication, challenging each other, education, family, loyalty..” and we met at least a dozen employees who had been with the company for over 10 years and who were very verbal about looking forward to 10 more! Yes, the culture is strong and it shows through to the final products.
It was so refreshing and inspiring to spend the day with John and Sean as well as regional sales manger Joe. In spite of massive success, they remain humble, helpful and eager to share their story with us.
After the Tijuana factory tour, we made a quick stop to the Oceanside offices and then back down to the beach in Encinitas for a sunset dinner on the oceanfront. All in all, a perfect California day with a distinct surf culture vibe. Where else will you hear a CEO using the word “stoked?!!” As California natives, this familiar tribal language took us back to our roots and made us smile all the way home.