This is a series of posts spotlighting Arizona businesses that share their products with Sibley's West, as part of the "Small Business Boost" award efforts of 3TV/CBS 5, BNC National Bank, the Arizona Small Business Association and Cox Business.
Kim Brooks at Hand-N-Hand Designs in Tucson.
You have heard of businesses that got started in a garage.
Well, Hand-N-Hand Designs was started in a Tucson garage!
The prolific manufacturer of decorative tiles, trivets, coasters and murals was the creation of the Youngs in 1983. Their daughter Kim, who had painted tiles for the company since age 9, has operated the company since 2006.
Since that time, she estimates that they have produced more than 1 million ceramic tiles for the enjoyment of families and businesses. They have customers across the country but their primary markets have been Arizona, Texas, Colorado, Florida and California. You can find many of their designs at Sibley's West in Chandler, AZ. and at sibleyswest.com.
"When we started in the 1980s, we were strictly Native American designs," Kim Brooks said. "The company was known as Earthtones."
Hand-N-Hand developed a reputation for hand-glazed decorative tiles produced through the old-world tile-making technique called "Cuerda Seca" or "dry tile." Each design is transferred onto authentic Italian red quarry tile and hand-glazed, fired and backed by her staff of 10 artisans.
Under Kim, Hand-N-Hand branched out into a number of different design themes, including Day of the Dead, patriotic, Route 66, and pets.
"We're always looking at trends," Kim said.
Kim's partner in the enterprise was her mom, Sue Obermeyer.
"She was great with numbers and did all of the accounting," Kim said. "She really helped make us successful."
Sue passed away in 2013 at the age of 63 but her spirit lives on through the company's commitment to give back to the community.
Hand-N-Hand offers on-site credit courses in assembly work to the Arizona Deaf and Blind School students and donates products to nonprofit organizations like World Care and Habitat for Humanity.
Kim is proud of the company's efforts to "shop local" -- packaging is from recycled materials and printed locally -- and to help the environment through using lead-free and non-toxic glazes.
The company continues to evolve with its catalogue of products.
"I love to paint tiles and come up with new designs," she said. "It's fun to create."