Who Are We?


The team at Motawi Tileworks is passionate about making great tile while spreading our  positivity, and sharing our experience. Our company was founded in 1992 by Nawal Motawi, who started making tiles in her garage and selling them at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market next to the rutabaga sellers. More than 30 of us now make tiles in a 12,900 square foot studio; and sell them through 300+ stores spread across the United States. We utilize Toyota Style Production thinking and methodology; and strive to cultivate positivity, constant improvement, and high quality tile. Nawal's motto: It's fun to be good! (at what you do)


Motawi Mojo Manifesto

  1. Why are we here?
    We believe that we can make the world a better place by making beautiful things places and modeling healthy business practices.

  2. What do we really do?
    We make distinctive ceramics, share our story and have fun.

  3. How do we act?
    We work with positivity and mutual respect, and we are always searching for a better way.

  4. How we will succeed:

    • We will create products and experiences which are valued for their design and quality.
    • We will cultivate an intentional culture focused on positivity, measurable results, and personal and professional growth.
    • We will maintain sound finances as we plan for sustainable growth, profitability, and for sharing our prosperity with employees.
    • We will foster accountability, process discipline, and continuous improvement.

   5. Will we ever do these things perfectly?

No. But that will not stop us from trying.


Nawal's Medium-Long Version of The Motawi Mojo Manifesto 

Why

We make the world a better place by making products that people love and demonstrating that a human centered (as opposed to shareholder value centered) workplace can be very successful.

People

Because we put employees first, we aim to have every position filled by people who care about doing a good job and do it.  We help our employees grow and manage change as the company inevitably evolves. If a staff person and their role no longer fit, we handle these transitions with empathy.

Design Integrity

We choose designs that are true to our spirit and present them in our distinctive way. We do not focus on what is trendy, popular or cliché. When we do render ordinary motifs, it is because we have found a way to do it that is unique and beautiful.

Share our Story

We are real. We share our victories and our struggles. Talking about who we are and what we stand for is a good story.

Fun     
  • A little bit of goofiness is a beautiful thing.
  • When co-workers are hanging out at work, everyone on staff is always welcome to join. We all belong.
  • It’s fun to be good! (i.e. sucking sucks)
    Products

    We only make products which meet our standards for design integrity, quality and profitability.  We do not try to be a low-cost purveyor. Instead we create value through excellence in products, service, and delivery.

    Beliefs
    • If we are going to DO something we are going to do it WELL. We will not perpetuate mediocre performance or products.

    • We choose greatness over growth – if we can’t have both.

    • Change is normal. We never say: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

    • Employees come before customers. Management takes good care of the employees, who in turn, take good care of our customers.

    • We will never be perfect, but that will not stop us from trying.


        Characteristics of a Small Giant

        • Companies with leaders who know who they are, what they want out of business, and why.
        • Companies that are deeply rooted in the community in which they do business.
        • Companies that have close, personal ties to customers and suppliers to facilitate business.
        • Companies that have intimate cultures that emphasize "caring for people in the totality of their lives," and perpetuate a mutual understanding and appreciation of the responsibilities of owners and employees toward one another.
        • Companies led by people with a burning passion for what the company does.
        • Companies that operate sound business models that protect gross margins. 

        14 Principles of Toyota Business Practice

          • Base your management decisions on a long-term philosophy, even at the expense of short-term financial goals.
            • Create a continuous process flow to bring problems to the surface.
              • Use “pull” systems to avoid overproduction.
                • Level out the workload (work like the tortoise, not the hare).
                  • Build a culture of stopping to fix problems, to get quality right the first time.
                    • Standardized tasks and processes are the foundation for continuous improvement and employee empowerment.
                      • Use visual control so no problems are hidden.
                        • Use only reliable, thoroughly tested technology that serves your people and process.
                          • Grow leaders who thoroughly understand the work, live the philosophy, and teach it to others.
                            • Develop exceptional people and teams who follow your company’s philosophy.
                              • Respect your extended network of partners and suppliers by challenging them and helping them improve.
                                • Go and see for yourself to thoroughly understand the situation.
                                  • Make decisions slowly by consensus, thoroughly considering all options; implement decisions rapidly.
                                  • Become a learning organization through relentless reflection and continuous improvement.