photo by Hazel Kuehn Photography.
About the Founders
Born from passions of art and philanthropy, Pen+Pillar is owned and operated by wife and husband team, Taylor and Justin Mahlke. They work out of their backyard studio in High Point, North Carolina. Taylor loves coffee, reading, traveling, any disaster movie, Target runs, going to bed early, and is the opposite of laid back. Sadly, Justin does not love coffee- but he does love reading, traveling, music, 12-hour long board games, staying up late, and is the steady, calm one.
After meeting each other while they were teaching in the Middle East, Taylor and Justin returned to the US and began their online storefront in 2015 to sell paper goods inspired by their travels, nature, textiles, color, community, and warmth. Taylor is the artist and handles all things creative, and Justin is the numbers and logistics guy. Art should bring joy and light to your life, and it's Taylor's aim to create pieces that evoke a sense of life and adventure.
Taylor and Justin's heart and passion in life is to serve refugees and to do so, Pen+Pillar gives 10% of all proceeds to help local refugees get settled into their new lives, as well as partner with local refugee artisans. Pen+Pillar holds firmly to the belief that everyone deserves to feel safe, and should be afforded the opportunity to succeed. Art has an amazing power of influence, so they believe it should be used boldly and as a force for good, and encourages a community that believes the same.
Our ValuesWe've been told that business isn't personal, and we couldn't disagree more. Our products would not be in your hands without the hard work of real people and it doesn't get more personal than that. Because of this, we commit to:
1. Complete transparency in our supply chain. We do not work with companies that we cannot personally visit to vet for ethical treatment of their employees, and we commit to work with other small businesses to produce our goods wherever possible.
2. This Earth is our home to care for and love, and our products should be kind to it. We only use FSC Certified© or Cotton paper, and always will.
3. Our full support of our refugee community. We are so fortunate to live in a city where 10% of our population is refugee. Which means we have over 10,000 refugees inside our city limits. We commit to championing them, telling their stories, employing them, and dignifying them through supporting their needs and dreams.