Posts Tagged ‘hgtv’

American Clay Turns 7 Yrs., Launches in China As “Reverse Outsourcer”

September 17, 2009





Albuquerque, NM (September 2009) – America has it, and the Chinese are betting that their upwardly mobile middle class wants it.  American Clay Enterprises, Inc., is celebrating their seventh anniversary with the signing of a Chinese distributor for their award-winning, patented earth plaster finish for interior walls that is all natural, healthy, and produces neither off-gassing nor inherent waste on-site.  As the first U.S. based, U.S. materials, and U.S. made earth plaster finish, American Clay is excited to be “reverse outsourcing”, even to the point of helping fill what could be empty shipping containers returning to China, thus helping get close to maintaining their carbon footprint that is the lowest per pound of any commercially produced wall finish.

Distributed in almost every U.S. state, as well as Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Antigua, Thailand, and now China, American Clay has built a company that people and businesses understand is positive to be involved with, both in mission and financial terms.

”The last seven years have been an amazing roller coaster that would not have taken place without the passionate applicators that are really drawn to who we are and what we stand for as a company.  I’m proud to have given them a fresh tool, as well, to grow their business,” states CEO and co-founder Croft Elsaesser.  “With our distribution, we’ve been very strategic, but China was an unexpected opportunity that came our way with an energetic new company there looking to provide products that filled a growing niche within their marketplace.”

Witnessing China’s recent receptivity to green building materials and having received the patent for his earth plaster finish in February, Elsaesser was ready to expand his company’s exporting options.  When Elsaesser went to China in Spring 2009 to teach application of the earth plaster, and make the deal, he found an eager audience and a fascination with his expertise in natural finish materials.  In China, the target audience is the burgeoning middle class that is paying more attention to their interior surroundings, loves beauty, has money to pay for more improvements, and is more aware of climate change and how industrial growth plays a role.

In order to describe “clay walls”, a completely new phrase was created for and added to the Chinese lexicon, putting two particular symbols together for the first time—clay walls = Ke Lai Giang (pronounced kay lay chi-ahn).  American Clay, specifically, is Mei Ke Lai (pronounced may-kay-lie).  The Chinese distributor has created a website ( to mirror American Clay’s U.S. site.  Croft will return to China this year to offer more application training, and the company’s VP of Marketing will go to share tips on how to sell American Clay.

The past seven years have proved tremendous growth for the company that started in a barn, experimenting with different mixtures of clays and aggregates to create a highly consistent, durable, and easy-to-use all-natural product, which are American Clay plasters.  Since then, major accomplishments include:

  • Awarded patent relating to the earthen plaster formulation created by Elsaesser
  • Consistent product innovation
    • Single-coat, commercially-focused Enjarre (cuts application cost by 1/2)
    • Natural Depths color line
    • Packaging reuse and recyclability
  • Signed on 22 distributors and over 200 dealers over time
  • Trained over 500 applicators worldwide, and created workshops with help from our dealers wherever American Clay is distributed
  • Tested and confirmed American Clay earth plasters resist mold
  • Outstanding New Green Product 2004, NAHB
  • Best Product choice by Architectural Record and by BUILDERnews
  • Can contribute up to seven (7) LEED points
  • The first business to sign on to provide job-training for Green Collar Vets
  • In National Building Museum’s exhibit on new directions in sustainable architecture
  • Participated in top design showhouses, including Kip’s Bay, D.C. Design House, Los Angeles Magazine green house, and Good Housekeeping’s Your Good House
  • Consistently positive media recognition, including CBS Early Show, ABC-TV’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Danny Lipford, shows on HGTV, DIY, and Planet Green; New York Times, Wall Street Journal, House & Garden, Domino, Architectural Record, Dwell, Sunset, Hanleywood and Meredith publications, etc.
  • Recognition by top green media, including Sustainable Industries, Environmental Design + Construction, eco-structure, Solar Today, MNN, Mother Earth News, Natural Home, etc.

The coming months will bring the results of their yearlong energy savings experiment, Dynamic Solar, as well as a revamped, even more highpowered and active, website.  American Clay understands the importance of online access to complete information so people can take action once they are inspired, and their website has proved that from the start.  They are actively involved on YouTube, Twitter ( and Facebook (American Clay) as well.


American Clay produces patented, award-winning, all-natural interior wall finishing products. Their Earth Plasters and the commercial “Enjarre” single coat plaster are a unique combination of clays, aggregates and natural pigments that offer builders and consumers a natural and elegant option. There is no off-gassing nor inherent waste on-site. The plasters contain zero VOCs, are non-flammable, are mold resisting (without toxic fungicides), absorb odors, provide temperature and humidity buffering, repair/clean easily and come in recyclable packaging. American Clay, with an extremely low carbon footprint, is uniquely manufactured in and made of materials found in the U.S. American Clay Enterprises, Inc., is based in Albuquerque, NM, and its products are patented.  The product and various workshops are available through their New Mexico office or through one of the growing number of retailers and distributors across the U.S. The website,, offers information on products, ordering, technical specifications, product application and additional resources and links.

U.S. PAT No. 7,485,186 B2



Interior Design Social-Net Site Connects Prof. Designers and Enthusiasts Globally

July 7, 2009



Long Beach, CA (June, 2009) – Interior designers and design enthusiasts have a joint goal of creating a comfortable, beautiful and unique haven.  Yet, only a small percentage of people actually utilize a designer’s services.  Ava Living (, a specialized social network, has just launched its “Designer Room Review” program, a core offering of the site’s mission to serve as a showcase, marketplace, and ecommerce meeting spot where consumers meet designers and develop lasting and beneficial relationships.  The Designer Room Review (DRR) offers free professional room reviews to Ava Living members, placing them on a path to spend smarter, while tapping professional advice they can research at their own convenience and on their own terms.

“Our goal is to democratize design, help consumers spend smarter, and grow designers’ global client reach,” states Ava Living co-Founder and CEO David Bassett-Parkins,  “Consumers (aka enthusiasts) are often intimidated by the assumed cost/risk factor of working with a professional designer, while designers may not have the access to a large potential clientele without investing greatly in travel and marketing.  We hope and expect to become ‘E*TRADE’ for interior design.”

At Ava Living, design enthusiasts are able to create a member page (similar to Facebook or MySpace) in a fun and easy-to-use networking environment, while viewing designer pages, becoming a ‘fan’, saving images that inspire, and searching professionally designed rooms based on room type, color, or tags that are divided by ‘style’ or ‘mood’.  These engaged consumers start to see which designers’ work they relate to the most, with an eye to asking for remodeling help, no matter where they each are in the world.

Designers get access to a rich marketing platform, including a member page and presenting rooms through single photos or through AvaVision (loading multiple photos to a 360 degree view).  Designers may also contribute / write articles for the website and participate in the site’s Featured Designer opportunities, and more. recognized a need from the design community to be connected, and the lack of a dedicated ‘meeting space’ for the design community to become deeply engaged.  By becoming an active member, designers can multiply their revenue through increased global consumer access and design reuse.  Through regular updates and communication, they are also able to build credibility and trust with networked members, without having to spend large amounts of time and money.

The Designer Room Review is a simple three-step process.  After reviewing designers’ work, the consumer selects a designer to review his/her room, then names the room and room type, and uploads photo(s) of the room.  The DRR is a free process through which the designer rates (1 to 3 stars) the room based on five design principles (Harmony & Unity, Balance, Rhythm, Emphasis, and Proportion & Scale) in a template and states in a few paragraphs what does (not) work in the room, within three business days. The design discussion and terms used in the DRR were carefully selected and vetted in a process of engaging designers about their training and work experience.  Designers pay a minimal monthly or annual fee to participate in the DRR program.

Consumers can have more than one designer review their room.  Upon receiving their DRRs, they may find one particular designer with whom they resonate and would like to know how the designer would ‘design’ their room.  This leads to the next level in building that designer-client relationship called Designer Advice.   The consumer pays a minimal, pre-designated (between Ava Living and the designer) fee that ranges from $39-110, and the designer addresses the “7 Most Important To Do’s For Your Room” in more extensive detail.  The points are selected from a checklist that includes fabrics, furniture, space layout, wall finish, window treatments, etc.; but the advice is unique.  After this stage, the ongoing relationship continues offline between the consumer and the designer. 

Bassett-Parkins and co-Founder and COO Hanh Ngo are an accomplished, 15-year entrepreneur team, having helped launch Netgateway (now Imergent AMEX: IIG) which is now a $140 million a year company.  They carefully researched how to make Ava Living meet both designer and consumer needs.  As a former CAD expert who serviced Fortune 100 clients for Interior Space Design, Bassett-Parkins mined many designers’ input.  They both also spoke with consumers, design-focused corporations, and read interior design white papers.  Through these focus groups, they discovered that HGTV both encourages and intimidates consumers. And they learned that people spend a lot in the design sector, the height of which was $700 million in 2007.  Bassett-Parkins and Ngo see Ava Living not only as good business, but the right forum to “bring together the underutilized and misunderstood interior designers with consumers, to create more and confident consumers of design than have ever existed before,” observes Ngo.

Media inquiries and image requests, please contact Agnes Gomes-Koizumi ( or Julie Du Brow ( at 323-937-5488 or 310-821-2463.