Ironwood Clay Celebrates 30 Years in Business

Ironwood Clay Celebrates 30 Years in Business

Ironwood Clay Company (ICCI) is excited to celebrate its 30th anniversary this year. In that time, founder and president Rodger Upton has grown the Vancouver-based business from one to over 30 employees, becoming the world’s leading cosmetic supplier of Canadian Glacial Clay.

How It Started

Ironwood Clay Co. was founded in 1988 by Upton, who remains the company’s CEO. Thirty years ago, Upton discovered a mineral-rich and highly functional clay along the northern Pacific Coast of Canada. The clay was known to several First Nations, who used it for centuries as a natural medical and skincare remedy. They would ingest the clay to help strengthen the immune system, and apply it to their skin to help fight inflammation and heal wounds and cuts. 

“This clay is truly a gift from nature. The First Nations have known of its special properties for centuries. Our wish is to pass this gift on to all, to experience the most powerful and functional clay available from anywhere in the world.”



Alice Dig site pic RU 1988

“Glacial clay deposit on the shorelines of Northern British Columbia”

“Rodger Upton, Founder of Ironwood, digging glacial clay in 1988”


Company Growth

Ironwood has grown in scale and complexity since its humble beginnings. What started with a “bucket and shovel” thirty years ago, is now a sophisticated mining and personal care manufacturing operation with a globally-acclaimed clientele in nearly 60 countries.

ICCI saw momentous growth in the 1990s, thanks to Upton’s unshakable belief in the power of glacial clay and unwavering commitment to ensuring environmentally sustainable practices. In partnership with the University of British Columbia, scientific research was performed on the evolution of glacial clay, its characteristics and skincare benefits. 

To this day, Ironwood Clay Co. continues to work with UBC and other third party Contract Research Organizations to uncover the secrets of this ancient raw material.

Alice Boat min 2

“Ironwood’s glacial clay mining operation in 2017”


Core Values

Ironwood operates under three core values: nurturing the local community, establishing a world-class, transparent supply chain, and ensuring environmental sustainability. 

“We successfully service large, global clients, while still hiring locally, and supporting the communities we live in,” says Upton. “Over three decades, we have amassed the experience, equipment, partners and resource networks to guide our clients through every facet of the supply chain process. Our clients trust us as the worry-free, source-to-formula-to-shelf-ready provider of turnkey solutions and products of the finest quality.”

Ironwood’s first client, now a global multilevel personal care corporation, is still one of the company’s best clients, with the Clay Mask generating over a billion in sales revenue to date.

Ironwood achieves a minimal footprint clay harvest by working closely with Provincial Ministries and First Nations groups. 

The company’s manufacturing facility is accredited by Health Canada, as well as ECOCERT/COSMOS, the Leaping Bunny Association, the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of Canada, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, giving clients a wide range of product certifications and standards to choose from.

Alice Building Front

“Headquarters of Ironwood Clay Company Inc. in Richmond, BC.”


Looking Forward

The company’s R&D team is working hand-in-hand with Marketing to stay up to-date on industry trends and develop new unique and innovative products for its current and potential clients.

Ironwood Clay Company is looking forward to the next 30 years as the company continues to grow and acquire new clients from across North America, Asia and Europe, as the popularity and need for Glacial Clay products increases. 

450 - 3771 Jacombs Road, Richmond, BC

V6V 2L9, Canada



30+ years of quality sourcing & personal care manufacturing

Since 1989, Ironwood is the world’s leading supplier of Glacial Oceanic Clay and OEM manufacturer of clay-based products, based in Vancouver Canada.

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