TierraCast had its start in the back half of the front building of our current location.
TierraCast considers October 1978 to have been its founding date, when Steve Tierra and a business partner formed West Earth Design. Begun first in his home and then operating from the back half of the front building at the current TierraCast location, they manufactured and attempted to sell cast silver jewelry. For various reasons this original partnership fell apart within a few months and Steve took control of the business and renamed it Tierra & Company. Abandoning the idea of selling cast sterling jewelry, he continued to offer original pattern making, lost wax casting and finishing services to other jewelers in the area.
Keeping a light heart in the early business years, Alan and Steve forged a future partnership.
A Partnership is Forged
During this time, Alan Joseph came in as a client looking for someone to mold and cast his jewelry designs. While visiting the small operation he got so caught up in the processes that he offered to work for free in exchange for learning production techniques. That initial agreement, and the friendship that followed, formed the working partnership that made the company's future progress possible.
The first major break for Tierra & Company came when graphic designer and friend Laurel Burch asked Steve to survey local San Francisco Bay Area casting businesses that could manufacture her first collection of designs. Steve and Alan visited numerous casting companies in the San Francisco Bay Area and came to the conclusion that, in fact, they should cast and finish Laurel's designs. The business relationship that grew out of the connection between Steve and Laurel formed the work base of the company's new stage of growth.
In 1989 TierraCast closed its wax casting department to concentrate on pewter casting and wire findings.
TierraCast was officially incorporated in July 1981 and the next 10 years were a period of both remarkable progress and severe growing pains. In addition to the work for Laurel Burch, TierraCast took on hundreds of smaller clients, casting everything from sterling silver jewelry to bronze elevator signage. The manufacturing methods and materials were expanded to include pewter casting and a collection of silver and gold filled wire findings. The number of employees increased from 3 to a brief, all time high of 85. By 1989 employees were working in two shifts, however the available work was the classic "job shop roller coaster" – feast or famine, depending on who was (or was not) ordering that month. In response, TierraCast began making substantial changes to take greater control of its future.
In 1989, TierraCast closed its lost wax casting department in order to concentrate on the areas of pewter casting and wire findings sales. Early the next year, TierraCast offered its initial collection of pewter jewelry components. Those first 12 designs were well received and the ensuing years saw hundreds of designs come to market in an ever expanding variety of styles. Between 1990 and 2000, TierraCast transformed itself from a job shop, to a designer, manufacturer and wholesaler of its own products. In this new format it was better able to level out the production employment cycle and sell from inventory, instead of always having to make-to-order.
In 2000, TierraCast made a concerted shift to improved customer service, sales & marketing.
New Millenium Changes
The next major change came in 2000 when it was clear that knowing how to make parts well was not quite enough for continued success. The company needed a much stronger sales and marketing approach and entrusted the transformation of those areas to Sarah Wright, a long term employee who had previously been in charge of production and inventory planning. With new sales policies, improved customer service, a revised catalog format and better coordination of the sales staff, TierraCast became more responsive to the market. Incorporating Steve and Alan's unique combination of art design and archeological perspective with Sarah's approach to sales and marketing, TierraCast has developed a distinctive style in serving our customers worldwide.