Mark Anson, CEO and Founder of Timber Tiles, knows that responsible environmental choices don’t have to come at the expense of beautiful design. Founded in Port Alberni in 2019, Timber Tiles creates tiles for walls, backsplash, and accents made from sustainably harvested Vancouver Island hemlock. Five years of research has resulted in an innovative manufacturing process that showcases the grain and colour of the local wood while ensuring each tile is durable and lightweight. “Our goal is to provide beautiful unique wood tile to the world,” says Anson.

A Huge Global Market

Since opening their first facility, Timber Tiles has hired eight employees, doubling their staff to keep pace with international demand for their product. “To date, we have been approached by many interested distributors from around the world,” says Anson. “Each country estimates a demand that could exceed our production capacity from our first facility.”

It soon became clear to Anson and his team that Timber Tiles could satisfy the needs of the international market, but in order to do so they would need help. Anson researched options for support and found that Export Navigator had been endorsed by multiple organizations, including the Government of British Columbia. They started working together right away.

Export Navigator has connected Timber Tiles with programs and tools to quickly secure their first international export to Japan. “We had anticipated that would take two years for us to enter the Japanese markets,” says Anson. “With help from Export Navigator, we exported to Japan in six months.”

Building Relationships Near and Far

Timber Tiles now anticipates that most of their sales will be to a Japanese market. “Our first sale to Japan was $10,000,” says Anson. “Out next sale is expected to be $100,000. As we grow to 80% of our production capacity, we could experience $6 million in annual sales.”

The international interest in Timber Tiles has helped create enthusiasm for these unique wood products close to home, too. Timber Tiles was crowned 2022 Business of the Year (Wood Products Manufacturing) in the 21st Annual Grant Thornton LLP Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards. They have also been nominated for the 2022 BC Export Awards in the Emerging Exporter category, and their products are on the road to being verified as certifiably sustainable.

Timber Tiles’ growth, paired with international enthusiasm and awards, permits Anson to negotiate capital from banks and encourage local investment. This allows him to build both international and community relationships as Timber Tiles continues to grow.

Planning Ahead

Anson encourages all business owners to connect with Export Navigator to make use of the tools and advice their experts have to offer. “Export Navigator has a tremendous network and wealth of business knowledge. Export Navigator has given my company the confidence to seek out new markets, knowing that support exists to overcome hurdles and avoid obstacles.” With Export Navigator’s help, you can generate an export strategy or business plan to support your company’s growth.”

At the end of the day, Anson’s work with Export Navigator is about more than business growth. Each international sale of Timber and Tiles’ products is a step towards a more responsible and sustainable future.

Brady Calancie