Andrew Eylander of Eylander Tile became a member of NTCA earlier this year during The International Surfaces Event (TISE). Amber Fox, NTCA Five-Star Program Director, was a main reason Eylander chose to become a member.
“She’s always been willing to help me with business ventures, and was always so nice whenever I was speaking with her,” Eylander said. “She’s never asked for anything in return, so when I saw her at Surfaces signing up new members, I took the opportunity to join,” he said.
Fox knows Eylander not only from living in the same area, but from his striking online presence. She said not only is he a skilled craftsman, but he has an eye for seeing what needs are present in the tile industry and coming up with solutions that help everyday installers. She sees that he has such a passion for the industry and the people in it, and his passion is “contagious and inspiring.”
“Not only does he have beautiful, high end work, but a fun, loving personality that he brings to his online presence,” Fox said.
Eylander wasn’t sure at first how beneficial being a member of NTCA would be for business. However, a few weeks after joining, he received a referral email from a new customer looking to remodel her master bathroom. This was perfect for Eylander, whose specialty is custom showers and bathrooms, in addition to co-founding and operating Calidad Tools, a website to sell tools he has created, such as the famous CaliBro Square or the “yellow square.”
Making a move and learning mud
Eylander began tiling in Washington and moved to Carlsbad, Calif., about five years ago. Making the move out to California has challenged him in many ways, but has also greatly benefitted him. His move to Carlsbad enabled him to learn how to float mud showers, making walls plumb and floors level. Mud floating is a time-honored practice that can take the place of foam boards in shower walls, for example. This skill is not as common as it used to be, and he is one of the few contractors that still floats his walls and floors. He said, “I’ve always tried new materials and methods throughout the years, but learning how to float by far has been the most beneficial.”
Eylander is very hands-on and likes being active on the job. He has always struggled with the part of his job that involves sitting in front of a computer screen, not because he is “computer illiterate or anything, but because I find it so boring,” he said. To Eylander, the reward of the finished product of his work is the most satisfactory.
“For me it’s being rewarded for turning basically nothing into a functional piece of art,” he said. “I get satisfaction out of building a shower, start to finish.”
Calidad Tools, born in 2021
Although he is proud of his tile work, his biggest accomplishment has to be Calidad Tools
(calidadtools.com), the online tile tools company that Eylander co-founded in September 2021. The name is a two-fold play on words. Calidad means “quality” in Spanish and this is important to Eylander. “Quality, [is] a major focus not only in the tools we produce but it’s in the name as well,” he said.
Second, he told his daughter after moving to California that she’s a “Cali girl.” In turn, she calls him a “Cali dad.”
One of the company’s most popular selling items, the CaliBro Square or “yellow square,” “is specifically engineered to assist in cutting tile trims and jollies, accommodating 95% of tile trim types on the market,” the website states. Social media became a helpful outlet to share the durable ABS plastic CaliBro Square and its abilities with the tile community.
In fact, social media has played a huge role in the company’s success as well as his tile contracting business, since all sales have been “driven by social media.” The Instagram account for Calidad Tools (instagram.com/calidadtools), for example, “has the largest following out of any tile-specific tool company,” Eylander said, with 53.9K followers. Instead of focusing on sales representatives, Calidad Tools shifted its focus to online content and direct-to-consumer sales.
In addition to Instagram, the company also has a YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/@calidadtools) with 31.2K subscribers. The page has tutorials and demonstrations of mud floating, using different Calidad Tools, and more. Eylander Tile also has a large majority of the business stemming off of social media.
“We have so much more coming to market this year that we are truly excited and can’t wait to share with the tile community,” Eylander said.
Amanda Mourelatos, daughter of John Mourelatos, Owner of Mourelatos Tile Pro, is a 19-year-old student in her second year at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz., where she is majoring in journalism with a communications minor.