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Paul Grech of Trueform Concrete: Concrete as a building material for countertops, tables and more

Paul Grech of Trueform Concrete: Concrete as a building material for countertops, tables and more

 

Please join us in listening to Paul Grech at Trueform Concrete on how his family’s entrepreneurial business was founded to where it is today. This building material is amazing and provides superior performance vs your traditional wood countertops, tables and similar residential and commercial applications. It also looks awesome.

 



 

 

Podcast Participants:

Graham: Product Director Concora
Kip Rapp: CEO Concora
Paul Grech: Creative Director over at Trueform Concrete

 

 

Kip:

Well, thanks Paul for attending our podcast. And I know we talked a few days ago and again, looking forward to this. And we do have a lot of, not a lot of customers, we talked to a few people that have this building material type that you have, concrete. Some of it’s on the sewers and drains. And so it’s always nice to talk about really other functional and aesthetic, and other ways to use this, both in the residential and the commercial side.

So I think a lot about, with our listeners is just educating them on other ways to be able to use products. And it’s just awesome because I think that’s where it all starts. And we can all make a better world at all that, and a higher quality or a better cost effective product, but how we start, Paul is if you can just introduce yourself and what you do and your company does?


Paul Grech:

Sure. First off, thanks for having me here at Kip. It’s a pleasure to be speaking with you this afternoon. My name is Paul. I am the creative director over at Trueform Concrete in New Jersey. And we are a company that specializes in prefabricated concrete, decorative objects and other architectural features mainly in the interior design space. So all of our products are handmade in our single facility out here in Wharton, New Jersey. And we were founded back in 2006, and I’ve been serving architects, designers, and homeowners since our inception.


Kip:

That’s cool. Yeah. And it’s always awesome talking to people that are with kind of the founders or the adoption of the company. So could you kind of walk us through how that started back then? Like I always say you wake up one day and you’re like, “Oh, hey, there’s something here.” And I know in your story, you weren’t exactly in, on ground zero, but you came in a little after, but it was certainly family kind of run in business?


Paul Grech:

Exactly. My brother founded this company with his wife back in 2006, after kind of bouncing around between a few different careers. At the time he was fixing elevators and found it somewhat unsatisfying. He’d always had a creative streak in him. And I’m not sure if that discipline really satisfied that craving. A friend of his, who he had done some work for on the side, who was a cabinet maker, started dabbling in concrete, countertops specifically as it was just kind of becoming visible on the radar back then. It was still very obscure, but people in the maker industry were aware of it. And my brother had learned about it and kind of took a liking to it. And so when his friend offered him the opportunity to acquire the company and take it in whatever direction he wanted to, he and his wife jumped on that, and Trueform Concrete was founded.


Kip:

Yeah. And was that mostly back… So this was in the mid 2000’s?


Paul Grech:

Yeah.


Kip:

And was it all residential?


Paul Grech:

Back then it was all residential. You have to understand they were starting from ground zero, doing a craft that they had very little awareness of, and trying to sell it to a community of people who had no idea that you can use concrete inside the house. So it was an uphill battle. Okay? Obviously there were a couple of people in the inner circle who said, “Sure, come over. You can slap some of that on my countertops.” And so it kind of percolated out from the inner circle of friends, and then friends of friends, and cousins, and all those other people.

So yes, entirely residential at the time. And it was predominantly countertops and tables. And I think what people resonated with was the fact that you can take this material and kind of sculpt it into whatever shape or color you are after. So at the time, because it was new people were really interested in the things like inlays, shells, or other little fossils, or trinkets. There are other people who wanted things to look really antique. So back, back in that age, if you remember that Tuscan look was really huge in kitchens, the Italian Tuscan kitchen. So there was a lot of glazed countertops that went along with it and matching tabletops. And concrete was the perfect material to do that with.

 

Kip:

That’s so cool. So it’s fixing elevators, his buddy was a cabinet maker that I guess, founded this concrete building material, not for cabinets I guess, but for countertops. And then you said the, your brother and his wife said, “Hey, this looks cool.” Right? And knew nothing about the business, but it certainly, what was it like? A leap of faith or passion of, we can do this together and add value?


Paul Grech:

Yeah, my brother was just a really creative person. And also quite disciplined that he… He and his wife. He was a musician prior to that and everything that he touched, he brought a sense of creativity to and I think that this just really spoke to him. I think the idea that he could be sort of an early pioneer in this industry was something that appealed.


Kip:

That’s awesome. And when the company from the cabinet maker had it, did they already have these types of ideas or it was just, there’s a stone concrete slab. Maybe it’s a countertop or was there already that ideation back then too?


Paul Grech:

The countertops were a natural fit for the cabinets. So he built mainly kitchens. So this was just an extension of that business that he already had. So it made sense for him. The challenge is that if you’re a proprietor of a small business and you’re overwhelmed, you just don’t have time to be jumping back and forth between wood and concrete. And just because you see concrete sitting around in bags in home Depot doesn’t mean that it’s easy to work with this. This stuff is a real pain in the butt. And you need to really get into it on a scientific level, run huge amount of experiments in all different types of climates and times of the year and everything else, just to try to get a very basic understanding of it.


Kip:

Yeah, no, it makes sense. Yeah. I was talking to someone else about they were actually making countertops too out of recyclable glass. And he said that was one of the biggest hurdles, was the quality, and the maintenance, and the durability. And it took them years to figure it out actually. So I can understand.


Paul Grech:

Oh, I can imagine.


Kip:

Yeah.


Paul Grech:

Yeah. Imagine being a master at your craft and then all of a sudden acquiring something entirely new. It’s probably a lot for his ego to handle. And so it’s like, “Oh, I’m just going to divest this now.”


Kip:

I thought it was similar to what, it’s just a little heavier. Well, that’s cool. And then you got involved. I know you weren’t initially there, so can you walk us through your story of how you got involved?


Paul Grech:

Yes. I had nothing to do with the maker industry. As a matter of fact, I was, I took a much more academic approach. I wanted to be in the medical field. And so I went down to Virginia Tech and studied pre-med. And during the time I was also heavily involved in the local art scene, if you can call it that. I was exhibiting paintings, and whenever I could. And right about senior year, I kind of had this idea that I was going to just try to be a fine artist.  And so I didn’t go to medical school. I took my four year degree and got a job working as an industry scientist at a major pharmaceutical company. And for about 10 years, I came home from work and spent four to six hours at night working on paintings. And trying to get into the art scene up here in New Jersey, in New York.

And I had some moments, there were times where I thought maybe there’s a chance here, but after about 10 years, I realized I couldn’t part-time this, I couldn’t half asset, it’s something that you need to be involved with 100%. Not to mention the stability of having a day job at that time started becoming more meaningful to me than pursuing some passion that may or may not pan out. I ended up working in pharma for about 20 years until a huge round of layoffs. I found myself without a job and I moved over to the agency side for a few years, and worked in a really creative agency on the opposite side of pharma. I worked there for about two years, some fantastic, brilliant people, but man, I got burnt out from that place.

When these companies are waving millions of dollars in contracts in front of you, these agencies will do anything. And so we were working huge long hours, sometimes on weekends and I just got burnt out. It was too much. There’s a lot of other things going on in my life at the same time. Like I’d just had a baby, my wife and I moved into a new

place and I was kind of doing all the dad stuff and trying to reboot this home. It was kind of a catastrophe, but I was working a lot to projects, and going to school at night to learn graphic design.

And yeah, I just burnt out and I came home from work one time and I landed on my brother’s living room, and I remember just sitting there like practically in tears saying, I need to just go away and hide somewhere. And he said, “Listen, I need a creative director. Why don’t you come work for us?” And I thought, wow, what a fantastic opportunity. I just, I don’t want work to get between our relationships. And he assured me that, that wouldn’t happen. And so after a couple of days of sitting on it, I came back and said, “Yeah, why not? Let’s give it a shot.” And I’ve been there four years now. And I don’t think we’ve had a single argument about anything. It’s actually been one of the most refreshing experiences of my life.


Kip:

Yeah, that’s awesome. So you were working something else for 30 years or 20 years?


Paul Grech:

20 years.


Kip:

20 years. Yeah, because I mean…


Paul Grech:

I built around… Oh, go on.


Kip:

Oh, yeah. I apologize. So it just appeared, you said from college, you had med school. Artist was your passion, this creative side was your passion, but then you, for your day job and paycheck worked 20 years and in this pharmacy. But I guess the final straw on the camel’s back was that last 10 years, right? Where it’s not a passion and then you’re working a lot, and it’s… I can empathize because a lot of people are like that, where, I mean, you do the same thing over and over again, and you get a good paycheck, but it’s just not what you enjoy. And some people it’s really hard for them to make that cut. And it sounded great that you had an opportunity with your brother, because it also lined up it sounds like to what you enjoy or potentially could enjoy, which is this creative side of your personality, I guess, right?


Paul Grech:

Yeah. I mean, everyone’s different Kip, but I’m the type of person who, if I don’t get to be creative or put my signature on something after a while, it will begin to show up and I’ll begin to become just frustrated and feel disenfranchised. And you probably don’t want to be around me during those periods.


Kip:

What took you 20 years, right?


Paul Grech:

It did. I tried to suppress it, but I couldn’t. It found its way out. But then this role is perfect for me because it requires me to wear many different hats, and I don’t consider myself an expert in any aspect of my job. It changes every day, the types of endeavors that we begin, the types of projects we take on, the types of marketing or advertising we consider doing, everything’s moving so quickly all the time and we never really have time to become amazing at anything. But what we are amazing at is adapting and trying new things.


Kip:

Yeah, no, it’s awesome. And it appears it’s still a lot of work, but it’s work that you enjoy and both from the actual work and then the people you work with. And-


Paul Grech:

Absolutely.


Kip:

I hear a lot about as you mentioned before in the prep that it’s a lot of creative custom work at times, right? Where you’re trying to solve either aesthetic or functional problems, I would imagine with the architects in this case?


Paul Grech:

Precisely.


Kip:

Yeah.


Paul Grech:

We just get emails of drawings and sometimes with very little explanation. And we see a bunch of lines on a page and we have to somehow turn this into an object, an artifact. Often one that’s seamless, like so one single cast piece, and those are some of the best moments of my day where I can sit down with my two coworkers in the whiteboard room and just hash it out, and just figure out how we’re going to make this thing.


Kip:

Yeah. So are you doing that on some kind of design software that you’re doing some kind of rendering first?


Paul Grech:

No. Typically if we have it, if we’re looking at something and we have no idea how we’re going to make it, we typically just literally stand up and start drawing it down on chalkboard. And then we’ll kind of tag team and come back and forth, and someone will say, what about this? And what about that? And we’ve created a container in which people can be fearless enough to share ideas that may sound stupid to anybody on the outside, but we have to be open-minded because you never know where they’re really good ideas are going to come from. And sometimes it starts as something absurd, but upon further inspection, hey, that was actually the secret sauce there.


Kip:

Yeah. And I assume, because you already somewhat perfected the material and the durability and the quality, then that gives you more room to do kind of the aesthetic design or whatever kind of requirements that the architect gives you?


Paul Grech:

Well, it depends really. Typically, if the architect, or a designer is coming to us with something very specific, then those creative parameters have already been outlined for us. At that point it’s a matter of production. How do we physically make this? How do we achieve the specific finisher look that they’re trying to go for? How do we get this object into a room that’s half the size, or I should say that maybe has a small doorway, and it needs to be chopped up into pieces. So there are challenges that come from every angle.


Kip:

And is this a scenario where let’s say the architect knows you and they say, “Here’s a design we’re looking for, for this project.” Or is there times too when you have to get specked and you’re competing, right? And yeah, I’ve heard kind of different angles to this. So, is it a mix for you or? It sounds a bit, certainly custom, right? And then once you land and get agreement with the architect that you guys can do that, then they work with you.


Paul Grech:

So we get countless emails every day. And typically if there is somebody we haven’t worked with yet, they’ll come to us and ask us to bid it out. For the most part, if someone’s coming back a second or a third time, then they’re quite comfortable with the way that we work and with the quality of our output. And so, they just, we’re working with you guys and that’s it. So I’m sure the sales team will have a lot more to say about that topic because they’re on the front lines.


Kip:

Yeah, makes sense. Yeah. And so to the building material itself, because a lot of people, I would say probably are like me and don’t understand the many different applications of this. So you one mentioned, countertops for commercial environments, is it tables? Is it bathrooms? Like what are all the different ways that you can use your building material?


Paul Grech:

Yeah. So good question. And we didn’t really, we kind of glossed over it in the beginning. We’re speaking here of decorative concrete. So this is a totally different version of concrete from your garden variety stuff that you would buy at Home Depot or for civil engineering applications. This is a much more refined, a much more expensive, and a much deliberate formulation of concrete intended to produce art quality pieces of furniture, and architectural features for inside the home. So we’re talking mostly about countertops, bar tops, sinks, tables, stair treads, fireplace arounds, wall panels, and other types of cladding. Stair treads, benches, seating, and other features, sometimes water features.


Kip:

Sure. Now is that like, when I say here are the sinks, I mean, that’s very functional. It’s both looks good and has a purpose where even like the cladding will look aesthetic. But then there’s also, I guess in my vernacular, more artistic uses where it’s there just to show off, just to say, “Hey, this looks great.”


Paul Grech:

Yes, there are those, there are lots of those projects. And when they do come in, we get really excited about it. Because I would say the lion’s share of what we’re doing at this point are sinks. Sinks and I would say reception desks. The reasons things are popular choice is because it’s so easy for us to make custom sizes. Whereas if you’re purchasing something from American standard and not to bash any other brand, but like most other brands, colors,  American standards of the world, they create fixed objects and then they distribute and sell then. Whereas we’re making everything from scratch. And so if an architect or designer is looking for a very specific size or color, a company like Trueform makes a lot of sense. So concrete becomes the perfect material to do that with.


Kip:

Sure. And is that in a case, like I don’t… I’m guessing if you’re in hospitality and you have to make 100 sinks or something, then… Or there’s like one big sink, I guess, for that office. Right. Is that like the range of stuff that you do?


Paul Grech:

We’ve made sinks as small as probably 14 to 16 inches and as large as… We’re actually working on one right now, that’s I think 50 feet long. So one continuous object.


Kip:

Yeah. But it sounds heavy.


Paul Grech:

Yeah, it’s, and every year people will continue to push the bar with the things that they come to us with. And I liked that. I liked that because it means that our clients are beginning to really comprehend and appreciate the diversity and usefulness of this material. But it also forces us to have to adapt and become ever more creative in how we render these into actual objects.


Kip:

Yeah. And, again, from my a layman’s point of view, I think a custom and I think of tooling, where you have to retool at some point is, so what is typical? Is there, like a lead time or is it difficult? Is this something that you can do in a few days and it just, and it’s out there, or does it take a few months, or?


Paul Grech:

Yeah, well, I’ll back up for just one sec. So our business is essentially split in half. We have like a series of kind of signature products, which are pre-configured in size and shape and dimensions, and they have skew numbers and you can just buy them right off the website. The other half of our business is fully custom. And that means that those are projects that we fulfill for people who come to us with drawings, countertops, tables, custom sinks, anything like that.

So within that custom realm, it could be anything. It could be trying to match a certain color or a certain finish in which the lead time on that particular novelty, or that attribute may not take as much time. Somebody may want a completely unique basin shape. Maybe it’s shaped like a kidney, or we had one that was shaped like a topographic map of a canyon out in California. That took quite a bit of time. We had to CNC that base and out. It was probably about five feet long.


Kip:

That was on your website, right? With that?


Paul Grech:

It’s on the custom sync page, yeah..


Kip:

Yeah. I think I saw that. That was really cool.


Paul Grech:

It was a lot of fun to make that. We exhibited that [inaudible 00:22:25] in 2020, in January in Vegas, and we got a lot of attention for it. But that’s something that might take a little bit, a little bit longer.


Kip:

I can imagine.


Paul Grech:

Well, things always end up where we want them to be. The path from beginning to end is not necessarily smooth. We make mistakes along the way, but we anticipate making mistakes and then we learn how to recover from them.


Kip:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). And are your customers, do they typically do both custom and standard, or is it a predominance?


Paul Grech:

Yeah, there are certain groups that we work with that just love pushing the bar and everything they come to us with is going to be custom, or it’s going to challenge us in a different way. There’s other people who are just looking to get the cheapest thing done the quickest and we get it, and not every project has to be a rockstar project.


Kip:

Well, that’s cool. So just comparing this building material, so what is the normal sink material? Is it porcelain? Is it stone? What is it that’s out there?


Paul Grech:

Yeah. So our competition if you will, are mostly porcelain sinks. Although it seems these days, there’s a lot more materials to reckon with, we have solid surface and acrylic, and they’re able to achieve with these two materials a certain tightness, a certain precision in the molding that is a lot more difficult with porcelain. So concrete was fantastic when it came out because we were able to kind of get really tight corners and create shapes that porcelain just could only emulate really.

There’s a certain softness to it and a waviness to it. But yeah, there’s more materials out now, which means more competition for us, which means that we have to continue to drill down our messaging, now our value proposition, which is again, “Okay, so you’re a new material. That’s great, but can you make a purple one tomorrow, if you wanted to? Or can you change the apron size to 10 inches and in a matter of an hour?” Concrete gives you permission as a designer to change just about any attribute of that sink.


Kip:

Got you.


Paul Grech:

The only way that they might be able to really compete with us would be on pricing. But again, if somebody was looking for a cheap sink, they wouldn’t necessarily be barking up our tree anyway.


Kip:

Yeah. So if I’m an architect or designer and I say, “Hey Paul, why concrete versus what I’m used to?” What would you say?


Paul Grech:

I would say that, the people that come to us are people who really like to have skin in the game when it comes to really every aspect of their project, they like to… They’re very creative people. They want to participate in the co-creation of things that you can’t find anywhere else. So it goes well beyond just the look of concrete. So, I mean, obviously I’m a fan of it, I work there. It just has this really natural and beautifully kind of uniform patina to, it just feels right. It feels really human and earthy and it doesn’t seem manufactured or synthetic at all.

But beyond the aesthetic, there is obviously the versatility of it. And this stuff is just astonishingly versatile. You can do anything with it. It starts off as a liquid. So our job as the fabricator is to provide the right boundaries and tease it into the shapes and forms that our designer and architect, friends are looking for. So concrete and Trueform begin to make a lot of sense when people are working on a project and need something very specific for which an off the shelf application is simply not sufficient.


Kip:

Yeah. So it sounds like, and I hear that a bit with designers and architects is that, there’s a aesthetic type of design that they want. And it sounds like what you’re saying, if they use the traditional material or vendor then there may be relegated to the whatever [inaudible 00:27:12] or break it. And they say, “No, I don’t want a break, I want a… I have a design inspiration and they work with you. And I guess you educate them right on the possible things that they need.”


Paul Grech:

Yeah. There’s something about working directly with the manufacturer as well. A lot of the problems that we’re solving for are environmental challenges. Let’s say somebody wants to hang or float on a wall, a 10 foot sink. First of all, where do you even get a sink that size? And second of all, how do you install it? And how do you pass inspection? And is that sink going to be ADA compliant? And all these other questions. And when you’re working with somebody and making an object together, then we bring our expertise to the table and we help them solve those problems. And I don’t know what customer service looks like when you’re buying from a retailer, but typically they’re not the people making it. They’re just the people selling it. So are they going to be able to answer all those questions or can they make small or minute adjustments to the product to get it exactly where you want it to? Probably not.


Kip:

Yeah. Yeah. And sometimes I hear with custom, I hear not scalable or maybe not big. I mean, is that a little right? Or is there examples where you say, “Hey, no, that’s not right. We can work with all types of projects, even though it’s custom, we can still scale I guess, or something.” Right?


Paul Grech:

So that a really good business question. This is one of the challenges that our business has faced in the past. And some of our sort of competitors/friends in the industry, when you’re hand making a product, how do you scale? I mean, how do you scale without having to hire tons of guys and then train them for six months in order to do this craft? It’s a real challenge. So we’ve spent a considerable amount of time innovating on every single aspect of our process.

For products that we know that we make a lot of, repeatedly, certain sinks or tables, we started assembling a library of components that are reusable. So even though we have to rebuild the molds each time from scratch, we have pieces that are pre-made that we can kind of slot together quicker and get that common product done at a much faster rate. There’s also parts of the process, other parts of the process outside of molds, like the refining stages, where we’ve innovated on. And so we’ve been able to make the process a lot more efficient. But again, it’s tough to scale without either hiring more people or cutting corners. And cutting corners is not something that we’re ever going to do.


Kip:

Yeah. And it’s interesting, because I talked to millwork people, I talked to other like plumbing craft, right? And all the trades, is there a concrete trade like this? Or do you have to like train people to do this?


Paul Grech:

Well, there is. Up until a few years ago, it was whatever literature you can get your hands on from the internet, whatever person you can train with locally, whatever experiment you can do in your garage, in your spare time, that’s how you learned. Recently, a concrete kind of training facility opened up out west that has been training guys on how to do this very thing, artists in concrete work.

I guess it’s great for the guys who want to learn. It’s a little bit scary for people like us who are just watching this proliferation of craftsmen kind of happened all over the country. Now, when we started back in 2006, there were just a handful of guys doing this, and now it seems like there are 100s. And it’s exciting because they’re bringing material to the forefront, but at the same time we have to… We can’t slow down. We’ve got to keep moving.

 

Kip:

Yeah. Now that’s tough. I definitely think like when I was talking to the millwork guy, and when you have like niche products, part of it is to get other people in the game because that’s the only way it can become a viable building material or product. And I kind of also see what you’re saying. If you are into the custom aesthetic, accomplishing a art piece of artwork, then that’s one side of it. But I also think with sustainability, it can only matter to the world if there’s enough people using that material, in my opinion.


Paul Grech:

Yeah.


Kip:

But yeah, I can’t tell for any particular business, because it’s all about, I guess, the passion, and if you’re happy, and you don’t have to make it build a bazillion dollars. So you just need to make enough to be happy. Yeah.


Paul Grech:

Exactly.


Kip:

So, yeah. And just touching on sustainability, and I don’t know, so but I’m sure some readers are thinking about that because it comes up in a lot of discussions with carbon emissions, healthier lives, greener buildings, all of that. And I know we have a customer who does concrete for wood fences. I mean, they look awesome, and they last forever. Well, I can’t say the last forever, I mean, 50 years, but more than wood.


Paul Grech:

That’s more or less a lifetime.


Kip:

Yeah. So what’s your thoughts on, I guess the sustainable type of this building material? Is it sustainable? Is it competitive versus wood and whatever else people may use, like plastic or other things?


Paul Grech:

Yeah. From a durability point of view, this stuff is like weapons grade. So first off, concrete is extremely durable. The mixture that we use is super dialed in, this is an artistically blend and if you went in the right hands, we can create products. So from a durability point of view, concrete is at the top of that heap. This stuff is not going anywhere. It should last a lifetime if it’s taken care of. The mixture that we use and the process that we use to make it, yield products with anywhere between a six to 10,000 PSI. You would need a sledgehammer to do damage to these things.

So the durable durability is not the issue. I think from a sustainability point of view, concrete gets a bad rap because it’s kind of lumped into this, into the entire civil engineering ecosystem, if you will, where there’s a tremendous amount of concrete being quarried and used every year in every aspect of civilization. The portion that’s used for interior decorative purposes is such a infinite testable portion of that, that I don’t think the work that we’re doing has any impact at all, but let’s just say for, to play devil’s advocate, that it does.

We have taken every opportunity we can to try to make sure that our use of the material, once it hits our site, is done responsibly. And that means, we developed extremely, efficient processes. One of the great things about concrete is that we’re only using precisely the amount of raw material that we need to create each project. So let’s say you’re making a countertop, and it requires 50 square feet of concrete. That’s how much we are casting. No more, no less.

Versus if you’re buying a slab, which is how just about any other countertop service is made. Slabs are cut out of the ground. You cut a slab, let’s say you only need two thirds of that slab that means a third of that is going to be wasted. And that’s a problem that we simply don’t have with concrete. So beyond just the actual fabrication portion being efficient, there are other things that we do in our facility to make the creation of concrete products sustainable. We recycle all the water that we use in our process. Any of the melamine that we use to make the molds, we break down, clean up, and then we rebuild it into crates to ship our products around in. So we’re trying to minimize all the waste.


Kip:

Yeah. Does that come up with customers or architects as far as the sustainable side of what you do?


Paul Grech:

Shockingly no. It does come up when we’re doing CE presentations. So our sales director presents typically to several hundred people at a time, through a virtual online course. And that question invariably comes up a couple of times, especially with the younger architects who are really kind of educated into being environmentally, a lot more environmentally savvy. But on the day-to-day, it doesn’t really pop up that much. We do get questions about the sealer that we use and whether it’s VOC compliant.


Kip:

Sure.


Paul Grech:

Because people are concerned about aerosols or other vapors coming off the product. But we’re finding that camp.


Kip:

Well. That’s awesome. Yeah. I was talking to a coatings guy and just, I was getting educated on, it was, what did he say was, the toxins that come off the vapors inside the house, right?


Paul Grech:

Yeah.


Kip:

I forgot what he said, but it was interesting. And certainly very, very important, with COVID and people want breathe healthier air essentially inside the house, obviously, right?


Paul Grech:

It’s a valid point.


Kip:

Yeah.


Paul Grech:

And sometimes if you’re, a coding is just a coding, it’s not the sexiest material out there. And so when you’re a business owner, you have to think, how do we differentiate ourselves? And let’s just make a really clean version of that. And now we can talk about that as being our value proposition.


Kip:

Yeah. And yeah, I think he was saying off gassing, but I really admire what you said with just you do what you can with environmentally type of choices that you make between the molds that you mentioned, the water, the reuse, the waste, and that’s great, and that’s just a culture. And I think that’s noble that for other people that I talk to, it’s also very noble to market that like I assume you do is to say, “Hey, our culture stands for to be able to meet your aesthetic functional designs along with, we are very environmentally conscious on how we produce this stuff and make it.” So, and I do think a lot of architects do think about that too.


Paul Grech:

Yeah. And it’s important for me to call it out again. We can’t really speak to what happens before that material gets to our facility, but once it gets in our door, from that point on, we try to be especially good shepherds of the material itself and for all the people involved in using it.


Kip:

Well, good stuff. Yeah. I know were getting towards the end, and really loved the journey that you took us through from your brother and the wife, and the cabinet making, and then the concrete. And it just sounded like a leap of faith, not only for your brother, right? But then a leap of faith for you. And it sounded like you’re in the right place at the right time. Like that cult that you mentioned, it’s like laid out on the gods and said, “Hey, 20 years of a pharmacy and burnt out.” And I can see that you found your passion with what this is, and it’s very important and noble, and I’m glad you were able to take us through that journey. And a lot of good parallels. I think for a lot of people, it’s like, “Hey, if you have a passion or if you’re working, make sure you like it.” Right? Because you only live once.


Paul Grech:

Oh, yeah. It’s so refreshing to be able to work on an actual thing.


Kip:

Yeah.


Paul Grech:

There’s so many career paths out there where you just kind of move ideas or paper from one point to another, with pixels or whatever it is. But to actually be able to yield, and in our fact that we’ll live in someone’s house or place a business that people will interact with that will have an impact on the psychology of the people in that environment, that’s a beautiful thing.


Kip:

Yeah. I appreciate that because it is like paintings, and like good stories, they have a profound impact on people. And as you mentioned, they walk into their house every day or their office, and you can create the good hormones, I guess, right? Whatever they’re called. Yeah. Well, I think it’s absolutely true though, right? I mean, it’s something that we all can do our job and if you can… You don’t know all the indirect benefits you have, versus having just squares and triangles in your house, right? Plastic.


Paul Grech:

Yeah. I tried to have as little plastic as possible, I knew that’s for sure.


Kip:

Because you do see a lot of, you get into the modular building design and everything is, I worry about, oh, that just looks ugly and automate, right? It’s like, oh, very cookie cutter and not aesthetically pleasing, but very functional and cost-effective, I guess.


Paul Grech:

Mm-hmm.


Kip:

But I think there is definitely that balance and appreciate your story. Yeah. So Paul, if people needed to reach out to your company, or you, or what’s the best place to do that?


Paul Grech:

So the best place to stay in touch with us is through our website, which is www.trueformconcrete.com. It’s all one word. Or on Instagram. Instagram we’re updating things typically several times a week. Our handle there is @trueform_concrete.


Kip:

Got you. Well, good stuff. Yeah. I liked the conversation and wish you a good rest of your day and looking forward to chatting with you again. I wanted to thank everyone again for listening to our podcast. And if you’re interested in knowing more about Concora,

We help building product manufacturers get specified and purchase more by providing a great web experience that’s bolted onto your website. It makes it easy for your architects, engineers, and contractors to do business online with you.

We sum it up as three things. It’s providing a good web experience, good content and good tools. And we have some great tools such as middles, sustainability, project showcases, or anything else needed by your design community to specify and purchase products. We’d be more than happy to show you a quick demo, and you can go to concora.com to learn more. Read case studies and see how other customers have grown sales with our partnership.


Graham:

All right, folks that wraps us up for today’s show. So you can find our podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify and SoundCloud by searching for the Concora Corner. And if you’d like to, we’d love a rating and a short review if you listen on Apple. Any feedback is appreciated on any of our shows that are coming out and, or just the show in general, or if you just want to say hello. You can find out more about Concora and our services at www.concora.com. We’re on Facebook at facebook.com/ConcoraLLC. We are on Twitter at Concora, and you can find us on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/concora. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

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