American Made Profile | June 3, 2015
Brooklyn Slate Co.
Brooklyn graphic designer Sean Tice, and Parsons graduate student Kristy Hadeka began their joint business venture, Brooklyn Slate Co. back in 2009. We at American Link had the pleasure of learning from Sean about the natural products their American-made company offers.
How did Brooklyn Slate Co. get its start?
“In 2009, my partner, Kristy Hadeka and I wanted to find a way to get involved in the burgeoning food community in Brooklyn. After visiting Kristy's family's quarry in upstate New York, we brought back a few pieces of slate for use as all-purpose serving boards.”
The duo soon realized there were a lot of other great uses for the slate. It worked well as a trivet for a teakettle, hot pan or casserole, and made an ideal beer coaster. Soon friends and family were receiving their own pieces of slate as gifts. With overwhelmingly positive responses, Sean and Kristy made the decision to do something about it.
Sean sums it up, “We got so many comments from friends that we decided to produce a line of slate products.”
“Slate is a great alternative to a traditional wood cheese board. All of our boards come with a soapstone pencil, which you can use to write the names of cheeses directly on the board. And while we cut our boards in standard sizes, each one is unique in the natural stratification and tones of the stone.”
Choose from rectangular to round cheese boards, coasters, placards, menu boards, and placemats. In addition, Brooklyn Slate has paired with other fine companies to offer
special pantry collections with mouthwatering cheeses and crackers.
The Making of an American-Made Product
All of the slate is sourced from the family quarry in upstate New York. Some of the pieces are even rescued from the quarry’s ‘graveyard’, a place where odd-shaped pieces go to be ground up for use as road cover or baseball diamonds. Instead, the chosen few now get repurposed into beautiful boards.
Once back at the shop in Red Hook, Brooklyn, additional cutting takes place to clean the stone to make it food safe. Edges are also chipped to give all pieces a natural look.
The product, now ready be sold, is packaged in a burlap bag. Every single piece of Brooklyn Slate packaging can be repurposed for other uses. Each piece is unlike any other, from the cut, shape, color, and overall presentation, you are getting a useful piece of unique art.
Thoughts on being American-made
“The success and growth of the American-made movement demonstrates that consumers value goods that are produced domestically.” Sean continues, “We purchase locally and domestically produced goods whenever possible. There is something intrinsically valuable about knowing where your goods come from, and that your purchase has a direct impact on the livelihood of local communities.”
Sean has some advice for future American entrepreneurs. “Never be afraid to ask for help or advice. As we've grown, we've found that friends and family are willing to volunteer their time and professional resources to help us move along. In some ways, building a business takes a village, and I think a lot of people are eager to lend a hand.”
Credits // Author: Wendi Wendt - Photos Provided By: Brooklyn Slate Co.