The History of Haand
Haand was started in 2012 by Mark Warren and Chris Pence, friends who met in high school in Jacksonville, Florida circa 1999 AD.
Always an artist and tinkerer, after college, Mark attended the Penland School of Crafts on a two-year fellowship. There, he was exposed to a variety of mediums and learned from the excellent teachers, mentors and highly skilled craftspeople at Penland and in the surrounding community. He was introduced to ceramics and slip casting while in a class taught by Tom Spleth.
Chris, who had been a potter since high school, went on to study business and accounting in college and graduate school, eventually working for a large corporate accounting firm but continued to pursue his love of pottery.
In 2012 as Chris decided to leave corporate accounting and Mark completed his Penland Fellowship, the time felt right to take the opportunity to work together and Haand was born. The first year the business was run out of a decrepit farm house with no potable water and sketchy electricity.
Mark and Chris hustled at gift shows and craft fairs, bidding for contracts to manufacture niche products. They fought for every sale to keep their heads above water. It was challenging, but ultimately gave them an income to move to a small warehouse in Eli Whitney, NC.
Sales improved every year and eventually they were able to hire employees; two of their earliest hires are still employed today. Haand would not be where they are today without the hard work and sacrifice of those early employees. Haand now employs a staff of 15 and operates out of a 13,000 square foot former hosiery mill in downtown Burlington, NC.
Chris is responsible for the business side of Haand, making sure everything runs smoothly and efficiently. Mark is responsible for the design and creative direction of Haand.