The Ironclad Pan Company is on a mission to forge a culinary bond between generations. Founded in 2019 by Kate Slavin, Levi Slavin and Joe Carter, it is the only New Zealand Made cast iron cookware. It also comes with a 100-year guarantee.
Co-founder Kate Slavin had been looking to create a product that would make people's lives better, be good for the environment and long-lasting.
“It started in 2016, those kinds of conversations, and then we did lots of research and things like testing out getting the pan made in China initially,” Kate said.
Getting the pan made in China, did not work out. It came back the wrong size and the fonts being forged or cast into the base were all haywire.
Kate explained, “When we got it back in all of this packaging, I just said, this just doesn't feel right. It's not sustainable getting it made over there, we're getting a product that I don't feel like I've got control over, it's not the right size. It just felt all wrong.”
Having the pan made locally in New Zealand made sense to their story: the ethos, sustainability and craftsmanship of seeing it being made by a local foundry.
“It's a slow, old school process. It's all hand poured, handmade. And I think that people can really, especially now after the whole COVID disaster, appreciate the value in that. And we don't make a lot of money on it, we don't need huge margins. We would have been much better off business wise getting it from China, but it just, that's not where the value lies,” Kate said.
Producing the pans locally with strict quality-control gave Ironclad Pan the confidence to provide a genuine hundred-year guarantee.
“If we can say we believe in this product so much, spend the money now and you'll end up saving so much money long term because it will be something that will be handed down for generations. You're not going to rebuy this pan unless you're buying more for friends or gifts,” Kate said.
Kate sees not just the product as genuine, but the additional services they provide, such as good customer service.
“I do talk directly to a lot of my customers, and if they're not happy, we sort it out or there's different feedback that we need to talk to them about. We talk directly, so I think that there's value in that as well.”
Chef and film director, Felicity Morgan-Rhind also joined the team, elevating the vision of the Ironclad Pan Company to a larger, international audience.
Felicity said, “There's so many things that you couldn't do in those pans that you can do in ours and I just want to start by saying that when I came on board Ironclad Pan company, I didn't have an Ironclad. I just didn't have one. And I started cooking on it, and I was like, wow, I can make whole meals in this pan, it can then go inside the oven and heat up, they can sit outside for a bit then they cool down and I can reheat them, I can grill, I can use it on a open fire, I can put it on a barbecue. It's totally versatile. And the more you use it, the more, it's just like this really amazing non-stick thing. So Teflon be gone.”
The more stories and recipes they collected, the more they saw a need to save and share them. They launched the Ironclad Family Recipe Vault - a closed social platform designed to store and share family recipes for generations, accessed by those who have purchased an Ironclad Pan.
The Ironclad Pan Company is set to forge culinary bonds for generations to come.