I’ve been in love with the PawNosh pet bowls since I first laid eyes on them. They are beautiful and remind me of my favorite thing to pick up at the beach – sea glass.
Their beauty has always been more than “skin deep” though. The PawNosh pet bowl helps to save the environment. These bowls are made in the US of 100% post-consumer recycled glass – keeping trash out of our landfills.
I recently learned that their beauty goes even deeper than that. The bowls are created by by hand at a studio in northern California called Fire & Light.
One of the founders of PawNosh said they found the studio after a national search for small businesses that press glass by hand. She said, “There are alarmingly few left in the US, because of relentless offshoring for less quality and cheaper tickets. They are actually one of the ONLY remaining US companies that use this technique AND primarily use recycled content. We have worked with them for two years and I would characterize our relationship as family. They are true partners who have worked hard and continue to work hard and innovate with us to grow our capabilities.”
I watched an interview with the founders of the Fire & Light glass studio on the show Somebody’s Gotta Do It with Mike Rowe (it’s at the end of the video). The show focused on how Fire & Light has created local jobs and how much the owners, John and Natali McClurg, care about the company and its 16 employees.
John and Natali said they never dreamed of making glassware. John was a CPA. One day one of the original 30 founders came into his office and told him about his cool company that was going to create local jobs and a create a local way to use the glass the region was so good at recycling. Unfortunately, they ran out of money in two months.
John offered to help them do some strategic planning to get the company back on its feet. John went back to accounting but, years later, he received a call while on a ski trip in Colorado saying that the Fire & Light studio was going to be shut down. John and his wife decided to throw their hearts into the studio to save it. They weren’t sure why they did it but John said it’s become very clear to them in the last couple of years.
John said, “The recession was hard and there were some temporary layoffs and people got moved around from one job to another”. Jessie, who had been working with the studio since high school, got moved from day to night shift. John said, “I came out here to the shop at 930 one night just to thank him. He looked at me and says no, thank you for the job”. John went home, told his wife what happened, and said, “This is why we are going to make this work”.
A founder of PawNosh said, “They are wonderful, decent people who believe in their mission to provide jobs and preserve this wonderful craft. We feel proud to know that our efforts directly impact their livelihood, and that our company’s growth is tied to their growth as well. We want to be a part of positive change.”
I don’t know them but I think of the owners and employees of the Fire & Light studio, and they good they are doing in the world, every time I look at our PawNosh pet bowls. It makes me feel good to know that every purchase of a PawNosh bowl is helping to make the world a better place in many ways. They’re so much more than just amazingly sturdy, beautiful glass bowls.
It turns out that the Fire & Light studio doesn’t just make pet bowls. They manufacture manufacture a whole line of homewares and accessory products which can be purchased at retailers nationwide or via their website. Their Glow Bug Tea Light and Flowing Heart are on my “to buy” list. I am thinking about who I can give these things to as gifts too.