our story… written by Marilyn (Hancy) Deas
These are a couple pictures from our family scrapbook from 1986. My dad was a true entrepreneur. He owned three patents and succeeded in doing what he always wanted to do – leave his mark on the world. If my parents could see where the business they started in their garage is today they would be so shocked!!
Hancy Creations, Inc. was originally Hancy Manufacturing Company and began in 1985 by Raymond E. Hancy. He was the inventor of the Pounce Pad. It’s a strange story how the Pounce Pad came to be. Ray was working in a local sign shop in Eugene, Oregon when some people who knew he had successfully patented a few of his ideas came into the shop to ask him for some advice on how they could patent something. The conversation lead to the question, how do you come up with your ideas? He said “you just pay attention to what annoys you”, his eyes then fell on that nasty bag pictured below and the seed was planted.
Originally the Pounce Pads were made for the Sign Painting and Graphic Arts Industry. They’re called Pounce Pads because sign painters used a charcoal powder called pounce in them. The time that he started Hancy Mfg. was unfortunately when computers were taking over the sign and graphic arts industries so the customer base for the Pounce Pad was shrinking. Before that decline things were good and Ray who was semi-retired was beginning to wonder what he had gotten into. It seemed he was working more than before he retired. Of course the Pounce Pads were made out of wood and had about 19 steps not including the step a & b’s and sometimes c’s of each of the 19 steps before being complete. He decided to sell out after a few years.
This is what the Pounce Pad replaced. Sign painters called it “the nasty bag”. It’s a rag with charcoal pounce powder inside, wadded up and tied.
This is one of the earlier wood Pounce Pads.
The new owners were myself and my husband, Mike. We bought the company in 1987 when we were at a crossroads in our jobs and decided to risk all to follow the dream of being self employed. For years we held to that dream only to realize that financially, running your own business is not that great, it’s the perks that are awesome.
In the early 1990’s things started to change a little. We discovered the quilt world and over the next 10 years we slowly grew. Having sewn all my life, it was a very natural fit. I was thrilled to be a part of the quilt world. Some of you are very familiar with our early customers who encouraged us and helped spread the word of our easy quilt marking tools, Pat Yamin from Come Quilt With Me, Inc. and teacher/author Pam Clarke were both very encouraging.
When we started out we didn’t have the Full Line Stencils, we were selling our Pounce Pads to be used with traditional stencils. We introduced Full Line Stencils in 2005. I attended the Innovations Show in Tacoma WA in 2004 and showed my prototype stencil to Laurel Barrus, the founder of Handi Quilter. She was another early customer with lots of great advice and encouragement. At that show I transferred my prototype stencil on to the Handi Quilter long arm machine they had set up and one of the ladies beautifully stitched out the feather heart design in about 30 seconds. I was pretty sure after that it was worth pursuing. Turns out I was right, the Full Line Stencils were an instant hit – even though at my first show I think I only had 18 different designs to choose from!
What was at the time a home business could not be contained at home much longer. We have been very lucky to find the help we needed from our excellent production crew ran by a company in Arizona and our superb traveling sales team Bernie and Kathy Collier who attend over 30 major Quilt shows a year throughout the country. Both have lifted us to heights never imagined back in the 1990’s.
The road has not been easy but it has been worth it. We love what we do and do not have any plans of stopping anytime soon. We consider it a great honor to know that in some small way we contribute something to quilts made all over the world that are given with such love and affection to family members and friends by very special people, quilters.
Happy Quilting! Marilyn & Mike Deas
Aloha and maholo from Hawaii, our first real vacation in almost a decade.