Posts Tagged ‘wall finishing’

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