WINTER 2020 – ONLINE EXCLUSIVE

Karas Pen Co.

Local company keeps handwriting alive—and stylish | By Paul Morris

Bill Karas is a man who enjoys working with metal. When he first opened his shop in Mesa, he was happy to make all sorts of things for customers: auto parts, lamps, whatever they wanted.

As the business grew, he hired Dan Bishop to help out. When they weren’t working on customer projects, the two would turn their hands to making objects of their own design: iPhone cases, toys, even saltshakers. Eventually they thought about making pens and created a Kickstarter campaign, hoping to raise $3,000. By the end of 30 days, people had donated $69,088. Apparently, there was a market for nice pens, and the Karas Pen Co. went into action. Seven years later, they are now producing 15,000 pens every year. 

I discovered these pens in New Orleans. While strolling in the French Quarter, I found a fancy pen store. I went in and walked out with a beautiful Karas pen. I would describe their designs as simple, industrial, efficient, and quite beautiful.

I then noticed that the pen had been produced in Mesa, Arizona, three miles away from my house in Tempe. Sometimes you have to go far away in order to discover what is close to you back home.

See their work for yourself in their online store: karaskustoms.com.