In 2005, Pacific Community Ventures began working with Heath Ceramics. Today, Heath Ceramics stands as a model for bold growth amid the most challenging economy in a generation. From 2005 to 2009, the company has expanded from a staff of 24 to 84 in seven years, tripled employee profit sharing in the past year and launched a new store in Los Angeles in 2008 with another scheduled to open in San Francisco’s Ferry Building.
Owners Catherine Bailey and Robin Petravic have remained true to the qualities of contemporary craftsmanship and timeless design that founding ceramicist Edith Heath cemented. Yet, the two former product designers knew little about running a ceramic factory and store when they purchased the company in 2003. A year after taking ownership, Bailey and Petravic looked to Pacific Community Ventures for advice. Working with PCV, Heath Ceramics has increased sales, grown its workforce and expanded operations.
“When I can’t figure something out, I call PCV,” Petravic says. “They’re progressive, forward-thinking — on the cutting edge.” Petravic recalls a spreadsheet he was given by PCV to break down costs, leading him to understand cash-planning for a small business. “I took that spreadsheet home and made it my own, as a light-bulb came on.” One-on-one attention with a PCV advisor helped him to develop marketing, financial and operations documents that he could then shop around to various lenders. “A lot of companies have boards…I have PCV,” he says. “[PCV] brings in fantastic people who are geared towards giving you a new way to think about business.”
Bailey and Petravic strive to continue the tradition established by Heath’s founder of creating “simple, good things for good people,” while following
their own vision of maintaining a responsible workplace, lessening environmental impact and encouraging local manufacturing. With the help of Pacific Community Ventures, Heath Ceramics has shown that combining new business practices with traditional artisanship can have beautiful results.