The Eleven Percent: Meet Schannon Yodice, That Tile Chick
Schannon Yodice talks about finessing complex projects, men behaving poorly on social media and what's in her tool bag.
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This FH series introduces readers to a few of the women who make up 11 percent of the construction workforce in the U.S., spotlighting stories of their careers in the field. Know someone we should feature? Email us here.
As the daughter of a stonemason, Schannon Yodice grew up with tools in hand, helping her dad on projects. Although she enjoyed it, when it came time to choose a career, she opted for college. Then she spent the next decade working as an accountant.
“I hated it,” she says. “Working behind a computer was completely opposite to my personality. I like being physical and doing things, and accounting was sitting in this gray cubicle all day. I felt like I was trapped all the time.”
So in 2017, she and her fiancé decided to start a general contracting business. They soon learned it wasn’t easy to find reliable skilled workers and subcontractors. They abhorred sub-par work, so they started learning construction skills as needed to complete jobs.
They found a mentor through this process, a master tile setter who agreed to teach them his trade before retiring and handing them his client list. Yodice and her fiancé decided to focus on their tile business full-time.
“I’d be lying if I said it was easy,” Yodice says. “Tile is definitely challenging. But I also have physical aptitude with certain things, and so it came somewhat naturally.
“The best part about it is every job is different. You never get bored. Your skills are always growing and improving.”
Yodice started a social media page to share her learning journey. As That Tile Chick, she shares challenges, triumphs and tricks of the trade with hundreds of thousands of followers. She encourages others to grow and succeed.
We asked Yodice for her thoughts on the state of the tile industry.
Q: How did you get into social media, and how has it affected your business?
A: I started back in 2020 to share some renovations my fiancé and I were doing to our house, and it just grew from there. It’s fun, but it’s like a full-blown addition to my business, and I’m busy to the point where it’s hard to manage. It’s also weird because you never think the internet world is going to collide with the real world, but it has for me on almost every job.
It’s hard to remain a stone-faced professional in front of clients when they tell me they watch me on Instagram. I’ll go through my spiel and email them an estimate, and they’re like, “No, it’s fine. I follow you.” It’s the most bizarre thing.
Q: Have you faced challenges working in a male-dominated trade?
A: It’s just me and my fiancé, so the only males I encounter are homeowners, and nobody has any negativity. But there’s a lot of online bullying by grown men within my industry, mainly because of the way I look. A lot of people don’t take me seriously because I’m a female. It’s tough.
I’m lucky it’s just online because if I don’t like it, I’m just not going to look at it. It used to really bother me, but I’m past it because there are so many people who are positive and uplifting to me. I couldn’t imagine if I had to go to a jobsite, though. It would ruin everything for me, having to show up and feel that way. I’m very grateful that I don’t have to deal with that.
Q: Any other surprising byproducts of internet fame?
A: I get criticized by people who think I’m making the trade irrelevant by helping people learn how to do things. But it’s important to teach people. There’s a reason why books are written and why Einstein is still famous and people quote him, because unless the information gets passed on, it gets lost.
In my industry, leaders are running around with their hair on fire because there’s nobody to pick up the trade when they retire. Well, where do you think that came from? It came from them never wanting to share why it’s great to be in the industry.
They set their tile for forty years and didn’t even want to be bothered with an apprentice. Nobody wanted to work for them because they’re miserable and didn’t want to share their knowledge. It makes no sense to me.
Q: Which projects stand out to you?
A: We did an exterior patio project, which tested my knowledge and skills in many ways.
First, just being outside was challenging, because we didn’t have a flat substrate to start. And our dirt is clay, so it expands and contracts a lot. Then the client wanted a patterned tile, with three different colors in a hex shape, so all of the pieces were different sizes.
The project was very technical and it gave me a cool insight into all of the different problems you can solve. It was like an art piece. It came out beautifully and I actually got recognized in an industry magazine, which was really awesome.
Q: What changes do you hope to see in the industry?
courtesy Schannon Yodice
A: I hope more people get interested in picking up a trade, or just learning how to do physical things, whether that’s fixing a car or understanding different systems in their home. Even if they don’t want to do it full time, it’s empowering to know how to use a tool and be able to say, “I’m going to fix this.”
I would also really like to see a newer generation of tradespeople, men and women, come in and uplift the trades to show that we’re educated people. We’re not the bottom of the barrel; we’re intelligent and provide quality work.
Q: Any advice for young women looking to get into tile or other trades?
A: Get involved. There are industry organizations looking for young people just like you. They’re willing to extend their hands, lift you up and guide you in the right direction. Getting around the right people will help motivate you.
A great place to start is Facebook groups. Reach out directly to industry leaders and others, connect with those who can help move your career positively and don’t get sucked into the negativity out there.
Q: What are your pro-specific tools?
A: I like tools that are easy to transport, lightweight and require minimal setup. First, a Grabo, which is a battery-powered suction tool that works on wet and dry surfaces. It makes my life so much easier because I’m only 4-foot-10, and 90 percent of the time I’m installing tiles that are bigger than two feet.
I use a manual snap cutter, which I like instead of a wet saw because it works with limited space, doesn’t need water and doesn’t make dust. Then there’s a manual rail cutter for super large tiles, which I like over a rail saw because of its portability. Plus, it doesn’t create dust.
An angle grinder cuts a large variety of tiles, allows for intricate cuts and works wet or dry. It comes in corded and cordless models, and you can get attachments to cut holes, make shapes and polish your cuts. It takes a little bit of time to get skilled with that tool, and it’s very dangerous, so you have to be careful.
Lastly, a level, the most important tool as a tile installer. We have so many levels of every size, because you need your substrate to be flat, as well as to check that every tile is level.
Schannon Yodice Bio
Schannon Yodice — aka @ThatTileChick from Instagram — is a tile setter, business owner, fitness buff, entrepreneur and lover of all things blue collar.
She tried the 9-to-5 office routine for almost a decade until August 2020, when she took a leap of faith and switched to setting tile full time. Since then, Yodice has solidified her tile business and social media presence, where she shares her passion for tile, promotes creative thinking and encourages other young professionals on their journeys.
Writer Karuna Eberl Bio
Karuna Eberl is a regular contributor to FamilyHandyman.com. She’s spent the last 25 years as a freelance journalist and filmmaker, telling stories of people, nature, travel, science and history. Eberl has won numerous awards for her writing, her Florida Keys Travel Guide and her documentary, The Guerrero Project.