News Flash: Customers actually are willing to pay more for formaldehyde-free and FSC-certified products

April 24, 2015 in Bamboo Flooring, Formaldehyde-free, FSC-Certified, Sustainability

In light of the recent controversy surrounding formaldehyde emissions in laminated flooring products from China, we decided to conduct an internal sales audit to find out how our customers have responded over time to a premium price on formaldehyde-free and FSC-certified products we make.

The results of our audit indicate our customers have been resilient to cost increases for premium soy-based, formaldehyde-free and FSC®-certified finishes. And we were encouraged by the resilience and commitment of this market to the higher environmental standard.

In one of our most popular bamboo flooring looks, edge-grain amber, Smith & Fong discovered that sales were three-to-one, soy-based, over low-emitting/CARB II-compliant. This was phenomenal. In another recent project just completed, a multi-unit, high-end apartment complex in Marin County, CA, the specification was for 40,000 sq. ft. of formaldehyde-free coconut palm flooring. An additional interesting twist to the project was that management and residences, after recent news of excessive levels of formaldehyde in some imported flooring products, requested confirmation that the flooring product met the stated claims of formaldehyde-free. Given the recent circumstances, we were more then happy to oblige.

To us, this is proof that the concepts of green building, environmental sustainability and indoor air quality have gone mainstream in a very real way and end users are seeing the value in thinking long-term about their health and the health of the planet.

Architizer A+ Awards

April 21, 2015 in Bamboo Flooring, Bamboo Plywood, FSC-Certified, How Green is Bamboo?, Sustainability

Now in its third year, The Architizer A+Awards are the definitive global architectural award venue, with 90+ categories and more than 300 judges. It’s an opportunity to be recognized among the best and the brightest in the profession. It covers everything from design projects to finished products.

This year under the Products category, Smith & Fong won the Jury Award in Finishes for our Reveal Collection wall panels, a product line that has gotten a ton of attention in the past 12 months. Reveal was selected by a group of more than 300 architects, cultural leaders, architecture and design media—and people who actually hire architects. It’s a huge honor.

What is Architizer? Launched in 2009, it has grown to become the largest platform for architecture and design online, hosting projects uploaded by the designers themselves.

For designers, it’s a social networking site that enables them to get projects noticed by their peers and potential clients. And for our purposes, it’s a go-to resource for architects and designers looking for products, particularly for interior projects. Interior finishes has grown to be a very noisy category, so earning a Jury Award distinction in the A+ Awards is a very big deal. And it follows in the footsteps of PlybooSound wall panels winning an equally exciting Editors’ Choice award in Architectural Record’s 2015 Record Products.

Noodle Theory

March 3, 2015 in Bamboo Flooring

IMG_4584I had lunch with a friend at one of my favorite noodle houses in Oakland yesterday: Noodle Theory. It is a small place with a small menu that is both well-loved and well-patronized. Owner Louise Kao’s concept is simple: get as many friends and family as you can in one room on any day, offer a reasonably priced, seasonal menu featuring noodle dishes from various Asian cultures, infused with elements of California cuisine—and enjoy some great food. That’s exactly what we did.

Noodle Theory’s tabletops are made of Plyboo flat amber plywood, and for the constant use they receive, they’re holding up remarkably well. If you are in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood sometime, stop in, try the noodles and check out the Plyboo tabletops.

Bamboo driftwood.

February 19, 2015 in Bamboo Flooring, FSC-Certified, Sustainability

photoI remember when we first starting manufacturing and importing bamboo flooring in 1993,
telling a friend that “one day you will see a house for sale
and it will describe an interior with bamboo flooring.” I was convinced that this would happen
then, and it has happened, but in ways both different and larger than I had imagined.

As the green movement in manufacturing began to influence and change the market, Smith & Fong
obtained FSC certification for our bamboo resources and developed a soy-based, formaldehyde-free production program. Most of the rest of the market moved to big box store suppliers and mass production.

The other day I was out walking the beach with my daughter and looking down noticed a small
wedge of bamboo flooring mixed in with the other driftwood and mix of organic and inorganic

Bamboo flooring has come a long way in 20 years and Smith+Fong  as a company
has had many roads to choose from.  I’m glad that we stayed on the road we chose.

Misura, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

February 12, 2015 in Bamboo Flooring, Installations

Misura2Angus Stocks, president of Smith & Fong, visited the Surfaces flooring show in Las Vegas last month to see new innovations and confirm that bamboo flooring still has a strong foothold in the market. While at the show Angus stopped by the Misura men’s clothing store in the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino to review a Plyboo installation of Neopolitan flooring. After years of high-traffic use it looked—and was holding up—great. The high-contrasting colors and fine consistent striations that make up the distinctive Plyboo Neopolitan look are unique to Smith & Fong. Next time you are in Las Vegas, go take a look. It’s a great store and a great floor.