Ann Sacks Factory Tour
This past April, the IDS Vancouver team made a visit to the Ann Sacks tile factory in Portland, Oregon.
From a humble beginning in 1980, Ann Sacks has steadily grown into a global brand with 17 showrooms across the globe. A lot has changed, but one thing remains constant: the company’s original principles – handcrafting, fine workmanship and unique, upscale design. All of Ann Sack’s tiles (over 2 millions annually) are produced from their only factory in Northeast Portland.
(Image details: Ann Sacks’ clay cutter)
Sustainability and eco-thinking are at the centre of Ann Sacks’ manufacturing process. The factory currently uses an energy-efficient fast-firing kiln design, and by year-end a periodic gas kiln that can recycle waste heat will be added. All excess raw clay used in Ann Sacks Collection tile is recycled. Only lead-free glazes are used. All manufacturing wastewater is filtered prior to leaving the facility. The finished goods seconds are donated to a local non-profit community enhancement organization. All ANN SACKS products ship in recycled / recyclable packaging.
(Image details: Ann Sacks’ traditional kilns)
(Image details: Ann Sacks’ energy-efficient fast-firing kiln)
The company has its own in-house tile collections comprised of unique patterns. textures, and shapes and fashioning over 150 matte, glossy, and crackle glazes to set it apart from the mainstream. Customers can custom color or size any tile to bring their unique vision to life. Each MADE by ANN SACKS collection is meticulously crafted by hand in this factory using time-honored techniques and the latest in technology to produce a product that is considered second to none.
(Image details: Ann Sacks’ tile collections)
Ann Sacks’ Story
(Image source: Ann Sacks)
One day in 1980, while out shopping for a Mexican wedding dress, a tile aficionado named Ann Sacks discovers a box of talavera tiles being sold as trivets. Instantly inspired, she goes home to start a new company in her Portland, Oregon bungalow. Quickly outgrowing Ann’s living room, ANN SACKS opens its first showroom with assorted Mexican tiles from regional artisan factories in 1981. Soon these vibrant ceramics brighten the kitchens and bathrooms of homes all over the great, grey Northwest.
By the mid and late eighties, ANN SACKS broadens the collection to include other architectural surfacing materials, including limestone, marble and granite. Working with suppliers in Italy, the company begins to shape a more modern aesthetic.
(Image source: Ann Sacks)
After three decades of steady growth, ANN SACKS opens a first international showroom in London in 2011. There are now more than 17 ANN SACKS showrooms.Each, on a daily basis, quietly enhances the company’s reputation as a world leader in the tile industry.