Pratt + Larson
A handmade ceramic tilemaker, Pratt + Larson has been a design staple in the Portland area for more than 40 years. Combining ancient techniques with modern applications, their unique approach can be found at the intersection of chemistry and artistry. As a result, they’re more than just tilemakers: they transform earth into tile, glass into glaze, and environments into experiences.
Pratt & Larson was founded in 1982 by husband-and-wife team Michael Pratt and Reta Larson. But Kinesis met the company in 2017, when longtime team members Belle Iskowitz and Anthony Asch purchased the business from its original founders.
Belle and Anthony were faced with a common succession planning challenge: How can we honor Pratt + Larson’s decades-long reputation and spirit, while casting a new vision for the future? One important part of that vision was reconciling their external brand with the quality and sophistication they’d become known for internally.
It was a solid company. We make excellent handmade tile, and we do it well. But we’re tilemakers, not marketers, so the ‘handmade’ element of our marketing didn’t reflect the quality we’d become known for. We wanted our outsides to match our insides.
Navigating any leadership change is a delicate balance. To start, we worked with Pratt + Larson to understand their why — who they are, what’s important to them, and where they’re headed. We drew on insights from the team to define their values and share the vision for the future with the company — rallying them around a common purpose.
I knew that it wasn’t going to be overnight buy-in from everyone. It’s humbling how long it took to get traction, but it’s happening. Now, the team echoes and shows it and lives it every day. It’s so much healthier than it was before.
– Anthony Asch, President
Working on our values, working on the mission statement — it’s given us the words to talk to our team in a way that resonates with them. They feel heard and listened to. It’s helped us have a better overall vibe here; it’s a happier place to be.
With a shared vision and a unified team, we turned our attention to Pratt + Larson’s brand identity. We sought to convey the inherent magic of their process of combining raw materials — earth (clay), water (glaze) and fire (kiln) — to create enchanting handmade tile. To this end, we drew inspiration from the ancient philosophy of alchemy.
The company has a really long and rich history. It’s gone through several logos and wordmarks. Belle and I were very aware that there was some chaos. Now it looks cool — it’s just gorgeous! Everything gels.
– Anthony Asch, President
One of our goals with the brand was to clearly connect Pratt + Larson’s artisans to the work and convey the intricate nature of handmade tilemaking. This meant reimagining and codifying their unique process, highlighting how each set of hands enriches the final product.
We also redesigned Pratt + Larson’s website to be a seamless experience for all users. Leaning into the “perfectly imperfect” nature of handmade tile, the new site is a creative resource that encourages exploration of their brand and their collection. Where their old site functioned largely as a catalog, the new site is a sales tool, a communication platform, and source of inspiration for their team and their expanding network of dealers, designers, and tile dreamers.
Pratt + Larson continues to lead the industry, and their new brand and strategy has brought new and more diverse types of clients to their door. Best of all, with each new endeavor, Belle and Anthony now have language and tools that they can use to build consensus and embrace change as a team — guiding internal conversations, clarifying the team’s decision-making process, and informing sales and dealer partnerships.
We learned so much about ourselves through all of that, and I think it’s helped us to be a better company. It helped us be better communicators with our team. It was so much more than just helping us discover who we are and how to talk about ourselves. It was business coaching and handholding and psychotherapy. It was much more in-depth than we could have imagined.
– Belle Iskowitz, President
I really appreciate the expertise they bring from working in the field of small businesses. We know our business and industry quite well, but they pull in stuff that’s just good business practices, good things to think about. It enriches what we’re trying to do.
Whether it’s business model strategy, identifying target markets and how to reach them, improving organizational culture, or having conversations about racial justice, we continue to work closely with the Pratt + Larson team to realize their vision for the future.
Our next phase of transformation together will focus on engagement strategies and continuing to expand sales opportunities — both individual and commercial. Pratt + Larson is excited to expand their team and continue building their legacy.
I really like that sense of support. It’s more than a marketing firm. It’s business consulting, helping you get to the root of things. Whatever I’m struggling with, they’re always so open and supportive in helping me tie our vision and values back to the problem and how to address it. If you just need a pretty new logo, this is a whole different experience.
If Kinesis sounds like the partner you’ve been looking for, let’s talk.
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