We had the good fortune of connecting with Cindy Dick and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Cindy, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My sister and I started thinking about all the crazy things cats would do if they could. We created a list and made sure that the concepts were funny.  It took several years to find the right illustrator because we wanted the cats to look a certain way. We thought that the concept would take off like wildfire but it took a lot more leg work than we thought to get the products in front of consumers. What started as a list of funny concepts became three characters.  We took the three stuffies on a road trip and they quickly developed personalities.  Benito, the orange cat, is the central figure. He’s the “Let’s go! Let’s explore!” cat.  Pinky is the scientist.  She is a methodical thinker and likes to understand how things work.  And Charlie is the grey cat.  He’s the bookworm that loves history and is just happy to have friends that want to include him in the adventures.  With their personalities established, the next book will be a story instead of just humorous concepts.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I love to create yet I never considered myself as an artist. My Mom is a professional, abstract painter and I’ve been around the art world my entire life. I started my own projects in college with an independent study with artist Joseph Ascrizzi in Maine but even then I didn’t use the word “artist” to describe myself.

I am a creative person that loves to use my hand. I have two creative businesses; If Cats Had Thumbs and On Her Mark, and I collaborate with my sister and Mom on their paintings by carving hardwoods into frames.  For my businesses I create my own items. I love having an idea, seeing it in my head, and then creating something that’s never been in the world before. It was with one of my carved frames that I realized that this particular piece could be part of my legacy. It was a profound moment when I realized that this frame I created could outlive me. With If Cats Had Thumbs, the cats are just plain funny and the illustrations make people laugh.  I love taking the concept of what cats would do if they could and stretching the humor.  Making people laugh is a gift.  I have watched person after person look at the items and giggle.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take them to the Desert Botanical Gardens, the Phoenix Art Museum, the Heard Museum, the Japanese Garden and the Musical Instrument Museum. For dinners, we would go to Cibos and the Barrio Cafe. And we would attend a play at the Herberger along with a concert and a Phoenix Mercury game at the Footprint arena. I’d also take my friend to the top of South Mountain to watch the sunset.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The Cats would not have come to life without the talent of Colton Starley. Colton is a talented, local illustrator. We started working with him just after he graduated high school. He has since graduated from college and is running his own business.

Website: https://www.ifcatshadthumbs.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ifcatshadthumbsthebook/

Twitter: @cindy_dick

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ifcatshadthumbsbooks

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QILRL37hCYA

Other: On Her Mark (vintage women’s sports history, items, and sports cards) – https://www.onhermark.com

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.