Tile inspiration comes from everywhere – even from a tomato fight
 
August 26th, 2015

Did you know that August 26th is the date of La Tomatina in Bunol, Spain near Valencia – the world’s most largest and most epic tomato fight?

In honor of the tomatoes that will be soaring through the air this week, we’re inspired to take a closer look at some of the red tile offered by Tile of Spain manufacturers.

La Tomatina in Bunol, Spain

La Tomatina in Bunol, Spain

Natucer - Casella series of mosaic tile

Natucer – Casella series of mosaic tile

Ceramica Elias - Esmaltados series

Ceramica Elias – Esmaltados series

Alttoglass - Fashion Fire tile series

Alttoglass – Fashion Fire tile series

Secret tile series from Keraben

Secret tile series from Keraben

About Tile of Spain

A strong global leader, Tile of Spain represents the 125 manufacturers belonging to The Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER) and concentrated primarily in the province of Castellón, Spain. For more information, visit www.tileofspainusa.com.

For photography, interviews or questions, please call Lori Dolnick at 609-490-0999 x22 or ldolnick@frankadvertisingus.com, or Katie Sikorski 609-490-0999 x15 or ksikorski@frankadvertisingus.com.


Ceramic Tile And Stone Consultants Launches New Website
 
August 20th, 2015

San Diego, CA – Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants, Inc. (CTaSC) announces the launch of their new website. The www.CTaSC.com website address is the same, but the content, features and resources have greatly improved.

The updated CTaSC website uses cutting edge technology to feature an extensive menu of services including forensic investigations, quality control, testing, training, marketing and business planning, expert witness and more. In addition to its business services, the new CTaSC website provides many resources for companies in the tile and stone industries as well as some for consumers.

The following are some of the resources available:

• Resource Directory – Manufacturers, fabricators, distributors, installers, associations, and trade publications can fill out an automated form to become part of a free listing of providers of products and services for the tile and stone industries. Once approved, companies that are listed will benefit from CTaSC’s high volume of business and consumer website traffic. List your products and services here: https://ctasc.com/blog/resource-suggestion/

• Industry Statistics – CTaSC provides summaries of industry statistic gathered from published articles and reports giving the visitor a current view of the state of the industry.
Go to https://ctasc.com/category/industry-statistics/.

• Economic Indicators and Forecasts – CTaSC provides links to key economic resources for quick and easy monitoring of the economy. Go to https://ctasc.com/blog/economic-indicators/.

• Industry Research Reports – CTaSC sells a number of industry research reports identifying current trends and other data that allow users to evaluate market size, growth potential, end-use markets, profitability, market share, and the competitive environment. Go to https://ctasc.com/product-category/industry-reports/.

• Expert Answers – A great resource for consumers and trade professionals! Over the last 13 years, industry expert and CTaSC’s founder, Donato Pompo, has compiled more than 500 questions and answers about tile and stone that have come his way. Questions are organized by category, and new technology allows for topics to be easily searched. Visitors can follow threads of comments and can make their own comments. There is also a convenient Ask The Expert button on all of the pages and posts that allow readers to easily ask their own question if they haven’t found an answer. Go to https://ctasc.com/expert-answers-overview/.

• Training Services – CTaSC offers customized hands-on and classroom training services as well as online training through the University of Ceramic Tile and Stone. Go to: https://ctasc.com/ctasc-services/customized-tile-training/

• TileWise Cartoons – CTaSC offers a gallery of TileWise educational cartoons to the industry that can be used to help educate employees and customers with humor. Go to https://ctasc.com/tilewisecartoon/.

• Events – Domestic and international industry trade shows are listed chronologically and can be searched for quicker results. Go to https://ctasc.com/events/category/all-events/.

About CTaSC: Ceramic Tile And Stone Consultants (CTaSC) is a professional consulting company led by industry expert Donato Pompo and made up of accomplished ceramic tile consultants, stone consultants, ceramic tile and stone installers, architects, engineers, general contractors, construction scientists and other industry specialists. CTaSC provides forensic investigation and inspection services. CTaSC provides expert witness and other litigation services. CTaSC has local inspectors near most major cities in USA and Canada. CTaSC provides architectural specifications, quality assurance testing, and quality control inspection services. CTaSC provides hands-on and online training services. CTaSC provides business planning and marketing services. Go to https://ctasc.com/ctasc-services/ for more information.

For further information about the CTaSC services please visit www.CTaSC.com or call 866.669.1550.

Contact:Tricia Pompo, Marketing Director, email: Tricia@CTaSC.com


Top 10 Uses for Cement Tiles in Restaurants
 
July 13th, 2015

If you’re looking for something special for your restaurant’s walls and flooring that can stand up to high traffic while also being resistant to water, food and drink spills, and environmental damage, take a look at beautiful cement tile. Reminiscent of century-old Encaustic Tiles, cement tiles have been handcrafted by artisans for decades. The designs and colors create a beautiful and durable surface that is more aesthetically appealing than basic cement or drywall, and more durable and eco-friendly than wood or laminate flooring.

At Rustico Tile and Stone, our tiles are made from mineral pigmented Portland cement, are completely customizable, and are perfect for restaurant floors, walls, bars, bathrooms, backsplashes, and even outdoors. Want to learn more? Below are some of our top uses for cement tiles in restaurants!

1. Open up a room. Much like well-placed mirrors give the illusion of space, decorative cement tiles create the illusion of openness in small areas of a restaurant. Try placing our beautiful tile on angled walls and backsplashes to give the perception of more space. You’ll add instant height to the room along with an aesthetically pleasing décor.

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2. Create beautiful backsplashes. With cement tile you can create a striking pattern that is unique to your restaurant’s personality. Try a Mayan-inspired mosaic, a deeply vibrant color mix, or maybe a monochromatic tile scheme. Transform boring walls into beautiful artwork with a design that’s all your own!

cement tile backsplash (1)

3. Generate a mood. Every color and shape creates a specific feeling. If you’re going for modern style with clean lines in an upscale coffee shop or bar, try installing neutral tiles in a geometric pattern. For a European feel at a bistro or Mediterranean restaurant, add some hexagonal tiles with a more antiquated color story. For a fancy and polished look, try a Japanese wave pattern or even combine pristine white and light tan for a polished finish.

4. Make it yours. Customize your own tile. Pick a design. Pick your colors and voila – it’s customized. Experiment with different colors and shapes to create the ambiance you want for your restaurant. Cement tiles come in almost every color in the spectrum, in different kinds of patterns, and in all types of shapes. You’re sure to find the right one for you!

5. Craft a focal point. When you install a gorgeous mosaic pattern or a richly colorful tile, it can become a beautiful focal point in your restaurant. Rather than hanging a picture on the wall, why not think about adding tile instead? Or create a striking fireplace element by outlining it in customizable tiles that nobody else will be able to replicate. Try decorating a niche with tiles on the interior side to create an artistic space.

6. Take it outside. Exterior design is just as important as interior design, and cement tiles are perfect for outdoor eating and waiting areas. The tiles can be sealed which gives them UV protection, water-resistance, and scratch-resistance, and are much more beautiful than concrete.

7. Match your tiles to your menu. Create a unified theme by matching your tiles to your menus! Geometric patterns and sleek, sharp lines speak to Modernism. Rustic terra cotta tiles invite a cultured, world-traveled diner. Spanish-style cement tiles compliment Mexican food restaurants, adding an authentic feel to the space. Bright colors of Moroccan tile designs accentuate the ambiance of many ethnic food restaurants.

cement tile restaurant floor

8. Build a sexy bathroom. Continue the visual story of your restaurant into its bathrooms by installing matching tile on the walls or floors. Your customers can wash up in a luxurious environment with a crimson colored tile, or step into a beautiful resort-like setting with light blues and greens.

9. Create an otherworldly experience. Take your guests back in time or instantly transport them to the other side of the globe with thoughtfully installed tile. Victorian designs can bring a long forgotten era back to life, while Moroccan designs can create a Spanish or Bohemian flare that offers customers a glimpse of another place and culture.

10. Inspire your design. The right tile design and color palette can add the perfect finishing touch to your overall restaurant style. You can pick the color and shape that matches your furniture and color scheme, or you can even use the tile as a basis for your overall design and go from there.

While cuisine may be the primary reason for guests to visit an establishment, it is the subtle design elements that entice them to continue their restaurant dining experiences. At Rustico Tile and Stone, our eco-friendly and sealable cement tiles are a unique way for restaurant owners to communicate visually with their customers.

Portland cement tiles and UV protecting/water-resistant sealers are available for purchase at Rustico Tile & Stone in Austin, TX.

Rustico Tile and Stone is the leading distributor of authentic Mexican tile and stone products for consumers around the world, with a customer base encompassing national floor retail stores, architects, designers, builders, and residential and commercial buyers. For more information about product offerings, price and shipping details, or general inquiries, visit http://www.saltillotileconnection.com. Rustico Tile and Stone is offering generous price discounts throughout the summer in celebration of its 10th year anniversary in business.


Member Blogs-Sylvie Atanasio
 
July 7th, 2015

Sylvie Atanasio, Head Designer and CEO of Studio S has traveled around the world to visit factories and build relationships. She is a long-time CTDA member and serves on the Board of Directors. Sylvie recently traveled to Turkey for the CTDA Trade Mission as well as China. Read about her travels below.

TURKEY: JUNE 2015

I feel extremely lucky to have been a part of the CTDA delegation that went to Istanbul to learn more about Turkey’s ceramic tile industry, as well as their culture. It was a learning experience not only about what advances the Turkish Ceramic industry has made in the last few years, but also how they see their roll in the future of ceramic tile. Turkey’s history of ceramic production reaches back thousands of years from the primitive sculpture of prehistoric Anatolia to the ornaments and crockery of the Hitites and the ornate hand-painted tiles of Iznik.
Below is a recount of my trip to Istanbul; I hope you enjoy the reading as much as Gigi and I enjoyed the trip.

The flight from Los Angeles to Istanbul was just over 15 hours or 5 long movies. We left Los Angeles on June 1st, but since we crossed the International Date Line we landed in Istanbul on Tuesday, June 2nd and that’s where our Turkish adventure begins:

Tuesday, June 2nd
My daughter and I arrived to Istanbul and after flying 15 hours, we were tired, smelly and just wanted to get to the hotel as soon as possible. While we were rushing to get through immigration and customs we forgot to get a Visa, so after standing in line for an hour and a half, the immigration officer kicked us out of line and told us we had to get a Turkish visa first. So back to the visa desk, and after another hour and a half we finally got through the customs and we were off to hotel where the TurkishCeramics Commission was hosting a welcome reception for us on the rooftop of the hotel.

As we walked out onto rooftop, we encountered the most breathtaking view of the city and coastline, and also some familiar faces and we soon forgot about how tired we were. The reception was a great way to kick off the trip, it gave everyone an opportunity to connect with old friends and meet new CTDA members, and many of the Turkish Ceramic Commission members who were hosting the event. After the reception, an intimate group of us ventured off into the city for a traditional Turkish dinner.

Wednesday, June 3rd
After breakfast, we started off the day with an introduction to the TurkishCeramic Commission, followed by a mini tradeshow showcasing 17 different ceramic factories.
The TurkishCeramics was established in 1997 under the auspices of the Undersecretariat of the Ministry of Economy with the support of the Central Anatolian Exporters Union and the Turkish Ceramics Federation. The group’s main goal is to raise awareness of the quality of Turkish ceramics around the world.

The group undertakes many activities to communicate to a global audience, from participating in trade fairs to organizing design competitions, hosting exhibitions and trade missions. These events and activities are regularly published in some of the world’s most prestigious design magazines and journals.

Later that night, we all had the privilege of being able to experience a four hour dinner cruise on the Bosphorus /Sea of Marmara. It was wonderful to see everyone enjoying their time together, and of course the topic of the night was TILE. The night was filled with laughter and creating new friendships, and Just when you thought the night couldn’t have gotten any better, they brought out a belly dancer and that’s when the party got started, just ask Mark Carlson of Century Tile or Jack Knies of Tile America. The cruise ended around 11 o’clock and a few us finished the night off with a nightcap back at the hotel on the 15th floor overlooking the city.

Thursday, June 4th
Day three was quite an adventure. My daughter Gigi, Betty Sullivan of Architectural Ceramics and I got an early start to visit the Grand Bazaar and to do some shopping. It was great being able to walk around and converse with some of the Turkish people and try our hand at bargaining. We bought a lot of stuff whether we got a good deal or we will never know, I think we need to stick to negotiating tile and stones prices…. We rushed back to the hotel to meet up with the rest of the group for a 5-hour tour of the city.

Istanbul is a transcontinental city in Europe and Asia, located between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara in northwestern Turkey. Istanbul was once the capital of three empires—Byzantium, Constantinople, and Ottoman and today Istanbul is one of the world’s most populous cities and ranks as world’s 5th-largest city. One of the many sites we visited was Topkapi Palace. Once home to many generations of sultans, the palace is filled with opulent gardens and courtyards, plush Turkish baths, and a secluded former harem, all overlooking the gorgeous Sea of Marmara. Afterwards, make you stop and enjoy lunch at the palace restaurant. Here are some other must see sites while in Istanbul:
• Aya Sofya
• Basilica Cistern
• Blue Mosque
• Grand Bazaar

After a full day of sightseeing we were on the move again… or not. The traffic in Istanbul is worse than being stuck on the 405 southbound in LA on any given day!

Once we arrived back at the hotel, we only had 30 minutes to freshen up for our black tie gala dinner at the Sultan’s summer palace. Of course, all of the women were frantically running upstairs trying to shower, do their makeup and squeeze into their cocktail dress all in less than 30 minutes. Needless to say everyone look like a million bucks! We arrived at Sultan’s summer palace, which was situated on the shoreline of the Borphorus. The view was spectacular in every direction. We enjoyed a 5 course dinner in a glass atrium ballroom looking out, over the Bosphorus, and for the evening we all felt like royalty as we ate, drank, and danced the night away. Thank you TurkishCeramics & CTDA for arranging this beautiful trip for us all.

CHINA: JULY 2015

Ni Hao from China,

Well, I never thought I would be celebrating the fourth of July in China. I have to tell you that nothing says “Happy Birthday America “ like a big bowl of fish heads and braised pork inners….

I am on the first leg of my China trip and I am currently at the Aria factory approving colors and pressuring the mold factory to finish the molds so we can start pressing the tiles to make the production samples for customer approval.

The good news is we have approved 23 of the 28 glazes for production, and while trying to match these colors, we have stumbled across some extra cool new colors. Don’t be surprised if we come up with a few new blends when it is all said and done.

The bad news is, we are only getting two glaze tests a day and there is a lot of down time between kiln firings. So I have been killing time by channeling my inner Andrew Zimmer, eating all sorts of weird things. I have packed on 5 pounds so far, and I am starting to look like a chubby Panda. The factory workers have re-named me “PONG”, Pong in Chinese means FAT.

The molds will not be done for another week. So, instead of sitting around and eating, I have decided to travel to the other factories to check on the production of the Perspectives, Ikat, Old Hollywood and 51 Shades of Grey, as well as conducting quality control inspections on containers that are about to leave.

I have included a few pictures from the factory and my food escapades.
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Signing off for now,
S


Member Blogs from Turkey-David Benson, Architectural Ceramics, Inc.
 
June 29th, 2015

CTDA members recently traveled to Turkey on a Trade Mission and blogged about their experiences.

Architectural Ceramics, Inc. takes on Istanbul: Part One
DavidandBetty

When you are a part of the CTDA (Ceramic Tile Distributor Association), you’re given a unique opportunity to explore parts of the tile community you’d never have been able to before. As a member of the CTDA for over 10 years, Architectural Ceramics has time and again been able to expand our tile selections, our product knowledge, and our design network thanks to opportunities like this.
Earlier this year, the CTDA approached its long list of members and suggested everyone join together for a trip to Istanbul on behalf of Turkish Ceramics Association of Turkey. In early June, Betty Sullivan and David Benson from Architectural Ceramics embarked on a journey with the rest of the CTDA to the country of Turkey. The trip was three days long, with the flight over spanning about 10 hours.

Upon our arrival in Turkey, we were delighted to see that our trip from the airport to where we were staying offered several amazing views along the way. While it was a long drive, it felt amazing to be in such a new place with several days of excitement still in store for us. When we did finally arrive at the hotel, we were greeted and checked in flawlessly which was no surprise because the CTDA always makes sure to pick the most accommodating stays. After getting some rest, Betty and David headed to the opening reception on an amazing roof top, the nice breeze cooling them as they got to meet with many manufacturers and learn a little bit more about what was to come the next couple of days.

day1

Day 1 officially started the next morning, beginning with a European breakfast bar call Manzara. Manzara had everything from eggs, to sliced meats, to fresh honey literally hanging from the honeycomb. Everyone loved it! After breakfast, we went to our morning session, which was like a mini-tradeshow almost. We had the opportunity to hear from multiple professionals in the industry. Guvan, the head of a well known marketing group, taught us the history on ceramics in Turkey, as well as more about the culture itself. We were then introduced to the President of the Turkish Ceramics Association and we learned about the 30+ porcelain/ceramic manufacturers in Turkey trying increase exports to the USA, instead of just appealing to the European market.

tradeshow

Trade shows are always exciting because they show us more of what their factories have to offer. Below are some photos of what really stood out from a product standpoint. A really great aspect to know is that Turkey can produce HD quality products, just like the US or Italy. However, consensus seems to show there is still a lot of growth that needs to occur.

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To learn more about Architectural Ceramics, Inc. click here.


Ceramic Tile Retailer/Wholesaler Cuts Losses, Expands Business with Industry Specific ERP Software
 
June 22nd, 2015

Ton Holten began in the ceramic tile industry driving tile-laden tractor-trailers for a Dutch forwarding company from the far reaches of two continents back to his native Holland. In the 1980s, the Holten family moved to Canada and began Tilemaster, a retail and construction industry supplier in Aurora, Ontario, where it provides a vast array of metal, stone, slate and marble tiles, as well as countertops and related products.

Early on at Tilemaster, Holten moved company accounting from paper ledgers to the computer, where Vigilant point of sale and inventory control software helped Holten control his business for over 20 years. But faced with a growing demand for tile fueled by a boom in local house building and a healthy economy, Holten moved Tilemaster from its original location to another in Aurora and opened a second store in Barrie, about 25 miles away.

In 2005, Holten upgraded Tilemaster’s accounting software to Oneir Solutions Inc, a provider of scalable Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software that efficiently manages key business functions through one shared information database. But the new software runs on a modern-day Linux operating system, making it more capable of meeting the needs of an expanding business.

The software update included modules that provided added capabilities to cover additional business areas and automate functions that had previously been performed manually. Yet on the Windows workstations where Tilemaster staff make entries at the sales counter, in the warehouse, and in the back office, there was little need for re-training.

Jane Giggal, Oneir Solutions Inc. president, says, “We developed the upgraded software for growing businesses needing more capable, adaptable accounting and inventory control, and those with multiple stores or outlets.”

Holten appreciated the result of upgrading Tilemaster’s accounting system.

“By upgrading we were able to open and manage our new store in Barrie,” says Holten. “In the past, we did try a second store but had to re-enter the invoices from it by hand every night. Now with Oneir we’re always online with the new store in Barrie and can check stock, sales, and know what is going on in both locations up to the minute. We couldn’t have done that before.”

One of the reasons Holten implemented the ERP system upgrade was to accommodate new storage for rapidly growing inventory in Aurora.

“Now we have a new 40,000 square foot warehouse,” says Holten. “To efficiently manage the 3,000 different kinds of tiles, we need to be very specific. We have to show on the invoices how many tiles the warehouse has to pick, so the order taker knows how many boxes and how many loose pieces he has to pick.”

To make that work, Holten needed additional controls over his inventory. So Oneir Solutions Inc. developed a “Tile Calculation” option available to clerks and other users at Tilemaster’s point of sale.

“When a Tilemaster customer orders so many square feet of tile, the clerk can access the Oneir software, which calculates the required number of pallets, boxes and individual tiles, rounded up to the nearest unit,” explains Giggal. “That ensures that all tiles get paid for and that the correct quantity is calculated – rather than leaving it up to a warehouse clerk to do the math.”

The software also shows on each invoice the weight of the order – so that the pallets of tiles shipped are not too heavy for the vehicles carrying them.

“The weight feature double checks that the amount ordered is the same as the amount shipped,” says Giggal. “That means the shipping department cannot mistakenly send an order of 100 boxes when it should have been only 100 pieces. This provides much tighter control over valuable yet vulnerable inventory assets.”

Giggal, given her background as a financial controller, has made sure that such controls have become a major part of the accounting software, which has helped to stem losses that were bleeding Tilemaster.

“Because the people in the warehouse used to have to make their own calculations on how much tile a customer needs, I estimate we were losing $2 – $3 on every order,” says Holten. “We fill 20,000 to 25,000 orders a year. By upgrading to Oneir we’ve avoided the mis-shipments of too many or too few tiles going out to a contractor and have recovered more than a year’s wages.”

Similarly, Holten uses the software’s order taking and invoicing capabilities to control costs and run Holten Impex International, the wholesale side of his business.

That’s not to say that the always practical Holten didn’t consider other software systems when making his expansion plans for his businesses.

“We did look at other accounting system suppliers,” admits Holten, “But their costs were way out of reach. Not just the initial costs but also the maintenance contracts were far higher. Even if their software were free, the fees we would have paid them over the year would have exceeded the total cost of Oneir, which is very affordable.”

For more information contact:
Oneir Solutions Inc., PO Box 112, Queenston, ON L0S 1L0; Phone: (877) 322-3580 x1; Email: info@oneirsolutions.com; or visit the website: http://www.oneirsolutions.com/


Walk-In Shower Designs by Arizona Tile
 
June 12th, 2015

Walk-in showers are perfect for bathrooms of all sizes, adding elegance without compromising function. Walk-in shower designs bring a modern feel to any bathroom while allowing for efficient use of whatever amount of space is available. Below are some fabulous walk-in shower design ideas to consider; also, be sure to check out our Pinterest Board with amazing variations of walk-in showers!

If you want to create a seamless transition between the shower area and the rest of the bathroom, a glass-enclosed walk-in shower is the perfect way to do so! This shower design is beautiful and luxurious, providing the look and feel of a spa.

When combined with light-colored design elements, such as white subway tiles, the atmosphere of the bathroom becomes pleasantly light and airy. For smaller bathrooms, this combination is a real winner as it gives a more spacious appearance.

Walk-in shower designs without doors add openness by creating continuity throughout the bathroom. Keeping the shower floor level with the bathroom floor, as pictured here, is a smart way to integrate the shower area with the rest of the room, as well as eliminating the possibility of tripping over a ledge when stepping out of the shower!

Check out the Arizona Tile Just Imagine Design Tool and upload your bathroom to discover what your new bath could look like or use one of our many templates to see how your bathroom remodel could enhance your home. We’d love to discuss your walk-in shower design ideas for your bathroom. Please stop by any of our Arizona Tile locations to speak with one of our professionally-trained consultants. We’re always happy to help assist!

About Arizona Tile
Founded in 1977 in San Diego, California, Arizona Tile has grown into a nationally recognized commercial and residential distributor with more than 25 showrooms throughout seven Western states. Arizona Tile is one of the largest independently-owned importers of stone in the United States, offering more than 230 varieties of granite, travertine, onyx, slate, marble, limestone and quartz, plus medallions, porcelain tile, glass tile and other design creations. Founded by John Huarte, former NFL player and Heisman Trophy winner, the company is still family-owned after more than 35 years.


Trade Mission to Turkey
 
June 3rd, 2015

Thirty Three members and guests have traveled to Istanbul to enjoy four days of meeting with Turkish Ceramic suppliers, networking, enjoying the sites and eating fabulous food! Members are able to meet one on one with suppliers and get new information on products and trends. This is also a great networking opportunity for our members to get to know each other better in a fun environment.

We will be sharing the adventures of our members on this blog. Check back daily for new stories. You can view all of the pictures on our Twitter page.

Tuesday, June 2: Mark Carlson, Century Tile

Arrival day at CTDA Trade mission to Turkey. Long flight over for all. 9-13 hours depending on where travel originated from. Istanbul is the only city in the world sitting on two continents, Asia and Europe. With an unofficial population of about 20 million people, travel from the airport to the Conrad Hotel took as long as 1 1/2 hours. Beautiful reception on a roof deck looking over the Waterfront capped off a long day for all. It was a great time for many of the CTDA Members to reacquaint themselves with the Turkish delegation, some of those were also in attendance for the last Turkish Trade Mission back in 2006.
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Wednesday, June 3: Mark Carlson, Century Tile

Day 2 is in the books. One thing that surprises most people who come to Turkey is the food. Over the years of travel, this is my sixth trip to Turkey and it has become my favorite location for food. Their mastery of the use of spices to accent flavor and not control flavor is excellent. Even the Hotel breakfast was spectacular.

The event officially started with a presentation from the Turkish Ceramic Federation. Ctda president Tom Kotel gave an update on the business climate in the States and commented on how this was our second Trade mission to Turkey, the last being in 2006. The Federation set up basically a mini Coverings. There were 17 factories who had set up small booths displaying their new and best selling patterns and designs. All the factories are using the most up to date production techniques such as Ink Jet digital printing, Porcelain body productions, rectification and many are involved with the new trend in thin panel production. This allowed CTDA members to spend the day visiting and talking with the factories, determining which had the best opportunities for their individual needs and their market requirements. Many have showrooms in the Istanbul marketplace and arrangements were made to visit various factories on Thursday.

At night, we were hosted on a 4 hour boat tour of the Bosphorus River, enjoying great Turkish wine, fabulous views, a narrated guide of the seaside from Saffet Emre Tonguc who is a noted author and travel guide, and another fantastic meal on the boat. The evening was topped off with a belly dance presentation with many of the CTDA members showing off their dance capabilities or in my case the lack their of.
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Thursday, June 4: Mark Carlson, Century Tile

Many trips to various factory showrooms kept most CTDA members busy in the morning. It was impressive just how large and well laid out some of these showrooms were. While the trade show layout in the hotel gave most members a general overview of the factory and their offerings, this gave members a chance to see the entire collection and spend some time with the representatives discussing their offerings.

Travel within Istanbul gives me an appreciation of just how good I have it back in Chicago. I can take the worst traffic day back home during a rush hour, and multiply it by about 5 as far as density of cars and trucks trying to traverse the city. What makes this even more challenging is that this occurrence happens all day long. Many of the roads were laid out hundreds of years ago, before the enormity of 21st Century traffic demands were in existence.

The afternoon was a time of exploration for most members. Walking the foot traffic only streets of old Istanbul, experiencing the views from the top of the Galata Tower or traveling to explore the Golden Horn was on the agenda for most.

The day was capped off with an elegant dinner on the shores of the Bosphorus River. The setting was spectacular the food was fantastic and an evening of music and dancing was enjoyed by all. Mr Bahadir representing the Turkish Federation and manager from one of the factories, thanked the CTDA members for attending the Trade Mission and told us of the plans of the Turkish Ceramic Federation to continue this type of gathering, hopefully starting in the US in the not too distant future. An exchange of appreciation was delivered eloquently by both Tom Kotel current CTDA president and by Jack Knies past CTDA president. I can safely say that a great time was had by all.
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Friday, June 5: Mark Carlson, Century Tile

The last full official day of the trade Mission gave all CTDA members a chance to explore the history of Istanbul. We broke out into three smaller groups and spent the day exploring some of the wonders of Istanbul. Many of the members commented about how young our country is compared to some of the sites we visited. After a quick stop at the spice market, the group paid a visit to the Hagia Sophia Museum. The Hagia Sophia was constructed in 537 and spent the next 1,000 years as a Greek Orthodox Church and a Roman Catholic Church before being converted into a Mosque and now a museum. This was the largest church at the time and was completed in only 5 years. It was interesting from the perspective of all the different types of stone that was used in the Church. It was all cladded in a stone veneer which was cut using Silk thread, sand and water. An amazing technology for the time. A visit to the 3rd Century Cistern which provided running water to the palaces, a walk around the Hippodrome and mandatory visit to the Grand Bazaar. This shopping complex of over 4,000 stores was constructed 50 years before Columbus discovered America. Between 250,000 to 400,000 visitors travel the bazaar daily.

The trip to Turkey at the guests of the Turkish Ceramic Federation was a complete success. Many relationships between Turkish factories and CTDA members were formed and just as important many hours of valuable networking between members were spent. Being able to spend casual time discussing business, common issues and strategies with other members was greatly appreciated.

A big Thank You to the Turkish Ceramic Federation and CTDA putting this trip together.
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Architectural Ceramics Receives Best Of Houzz 2015
 
June 2nd, 2015

Architectural Ceramics has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The comprehensive tile and stone company deemed “where the architects and designers shop” by Washingtonian Magazine was chosen by the more than 16 million monthly users that comprise the Houzz community.

The Best Of Houzz award is given in two categories: Customer Satisfaction and Design. Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2014. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 16 million monthly users on Houzz, known as “Houzzers,” who saved more than 230 million professional images of home interiors and exteriors to their personal ideabooks via the Houzz site, iPad/iPhoneapp and Androidapp. Winners will receive a “Best Of Houzz 2014” badge on their profiles, showing the Houzz community their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

“ACI has a worldwide assortment of ceramic, porcelain, natural stone, slate, marble, limestone, glass and metal tiles, with an extensive supply on hand, ready for pickup or to ship from our Rockville, MD and Chantilly, VA warehouses. In addition, Architectural Ceramics has over 30 specialty vendors which can be special ordered for your project.”

“Houzz provides homeowners with the most comprehensive view of home building, remodeling and design professionals, empowering them to find and hire the right professional to execute their vision,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of community for Houzz. “We’re delighted to recognize Architectural Ceramics among our “Best Of” professionals for customer satisfaction as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

With Houzz, homeowners can identify not only the top-rated professionals like Architectural Ceramics, but also those whose work matches their own aspirations for their home. Homeowners can also evaluate professionals by contacting them directly on the Houzz platform, asking questions about their work and reviewing their responses to questions from others in the Houzz community.

Follow Architectural Ceramics on Houzz

http://www.houzz.com/pro/marketing/architectural-ceramics-inc.

About Architectural Ceramics
Architectural Ceramics (ACI) is a comprehensive tile and stone company servicing the design industry, including, but not limited to, the homeowner, designer, builder, contractor, architect and installer. Established in 1983, Architectural Ceramics is a family-owned and operated corporation. ACI has six convenient locations in the Greater Washington Metropolitan Area: Maryland: Baltimore, Bethesda, Rockville and Virginia: Alexandria, Chantilly, and Falls Church.

About Houzz
Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to get the design inspiration, project advice, product information and professional reviews they need to help turn ideas into reality. For more information, visit www.houzz.com


Facebook Updates for Businesses
 
April 15th, 2015

This year, Facebook grew to a mind-boggling 3 billion views per day, and 53% of these views came from posts that were shared by users. But as the platform constantly adjusts to this growth, it can be difficult to keep up with the changes and updates.

Facebook’s developer conference took place recently and included several big announcements. These announcements included future improvements to existing applications and exciting new features inside of Facebook. Do you know about all of them?

Facebook Messenger is a text feature used inside of Facebook or as a separate application, and is available on mobile devices. Messenger will be updated with the following:
* Payments can now be sent and accepted through Messenger.
* This application can now be embedded on any website and used as a chat feature.
* Individuals can contact a business through Messenger and the experience will be the same as contacting a friend through the application.
* Customers can track interactions with business such as delivery date, package location or customer service updates.
* Interactions through Messenger will result in the company’s posts listing higher up in the customer’s Facebook feed.
* Greater amounts of data will be available for the company if a customer contacts them through Messenger (for example, past orders, age, gender, FB preferences…)

Currently, video posts are the best way to communicate with fans on Facebook. These posts receive the most views, shares and feedback rates along with the highest preference from Facebook’s algorithms to place higher on the feed of individual fans. The changes to Facebook Video include:
* Facebook videos can now be embedded on websites, whether they belong to the
* Any videos can be embedded by anyone – whether they own the video or not.
* Videos on Facebook now have a size limit of 1.5Gb.
* Videos can be scheduled to go live at specific times and be taken down at specific future dates.
* Video data is still accessible when taken off of live feed (accessible by owner).
* Video can be restricted to certain groups (divided by age, gender, location…).
* A Call-to-Action can be added to the end of a video that will pull the user to any page, even one not connected to Facebook.
* Uploads can now be resumed if cut off during the upload process.
* Bulk uploading is now available even if all videos will not be published simultaneously.
* Live feeds can be published on Facebook feeds.

Facebook is constantly changing. Keeping up with all of these modifications can be a tough job, but hopefully the items listed above will help!

Special thanks to Creating Your Space for this informative guest blog. Shannon Vogel of Creating Your Space is a tile industry staple and has presented well received webinars for CTDA and sessions at TSP. Visit their website for more information about marketing and social media in the tile industry: www.creatingyourspace.com

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