Who we are?
Thoughtful storytellers bridging the past and future with expert craftsmanship.
Haand was started in 2012 by Mark Warren and Chris Pence, friends who met in high school in Jacksonville, Florida circa 1999.
Always an artist and tinkerer, Mark attended the Penland School of Crafts on a two-year fellowship after college. There he was exposed to a variety of media and learned from the excellent teachers, mentors and highly skilled craftspeople at Penland and in the surrounding community of the Blue Ridge Mountains. 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 mercurial 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. These met challenges 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. Haand would not be where it is today without the hard work and sacrifice of those early and current employees. Haand now employs a staff of 20 and operates out of a 13,000 square foot former hosiery mill in downtown Burlington, NC.
Starting in 2014, we started working with restaurants and the hospitality industry. Our first restaurant, Ashley Christensen's Death & Taxes led to many, many more- currently we have done over 175, many of them James Beard Award Winners or recipients of other top industry recognition. We formed Haand Hospitality in 2015 to handle the specific needs of the hospitality industry and continues to be a driving force for us for testing and developing the products we have here on our website.
Behind the name Haand
When we started Haand, we knew that it was going to be an unusual company, slightly off-kilter because we believed in making things by hand in the 21st century. Simultaneously strange and familiar, it is a knowable, recognizable, and comfortable word. Haand itself is an archaic word for hand dating back many centuries to Norway. A word from the past, pronounced "hand".