When Isaac Morton started Smithey Ironware Co. in 2014, his goal was to make the kind of cast iron cookware he would use in his own kitchen.
Four years later, the company has grown from a small, boxy industrial spot on James Island to a 5,000-square-foot production site on the former Navy base in North Charleston. It is expanding its product line and has hired an industry veteran.
Will Copenhaver has joined the company as vice president of marketing and sales. Copenhaver spent 10 years with Le Creuset and also worked with Nautica, brand consulting firm Landor, Tribeca Film Festival and web portal Lycos before joining Smithey Ironware. He also serves on the board of trustees for the American College of the Building Arts.
At Le Creuset, Copenhaver helped push sales to double-digit growth each year. He launched a social media program and email marketing campaigns there.
“What I really wanted was to work for a brand where I had more of an imprint on the path of the brand,” Copenhaver said. “I love Isaac’s passion for this product category.”
Copenhaver said Le Creuset and others face a lot of competition around high-end, enameled cast iron cookware. but other than a few attempts in recent years, non-enameled cast iron has been a race to the bottom, with mass-produced, lower quality products.
“I really saw an opportunity there to have a best category player in cast iron cookware that’s not out there,” Copenhaver said. “I saw the market opportunity.”
Morton found Copenhaver’s experience with bringing major brands to market was something Smithey Ironware needed to advance the business.
“That is a very valuable asset to us,” Morton said. “Also, he fits really well in our infant culture right now. It’s kind of an entrepreneurial culture here. People do a little bit of everything all the time, and he enjoys it and embraces it.”