What is Knafs?
Knafs is a colloquial, tongue-in-cheek way to say “knives.” It's also a goofy brand of knife-related products and ideas. Origin: when mispronounced, “knives” becomes “knifes.” With a Southern accent, “knifes” becomes “knafs.” Why Knafs? Shucks, son. The web domain was only $12.99 and we're cheap suckers!
Here's the story: we're Ben and Athena Petersen, and in 2018 we started conniving (or cokniving? Hard to say). There were a lot of conversations about "what if?" and "why not?" Ben had spent 8 years in the knife industry working at Blade HQ and CRKT. He loved his time working for a retailer and manufacturer, but he always had random ideas of products to create that were outside the scope of work with his employers. And the ideas wouldn't rest. So we started designing and making. Ben drew up a knife poster with everything he'd ever learned about pocket knives on it. We pulled money out of savings, dumped it into a business license and bought a fire extinguisher for the garage (gotta' have that to start a business, amigo!). The first run of posters arrived and we rolled all 1,000 by ourselves after the kids went to bed. The risk was invigorating and scary. There's nothing quite like wondering if those poster tubes will decompose in your garage or if they'll sell. But you all bought it. Sweet mercy, you bought it! Thank you! Nothing was more motivating than to see others interested in our ideas. More ideas starting popping up, and we started digging deeper to develop Knafs. The company existed as a garage side hustle for 4 years until we took it full-time in May 2022. Over time, we slowly realized it was time for Ben to move out of the knife industry full time if we wanted to pursue our own knife industry ideas on the side.
This little hustle called Knafs is our goofy little way to take chances, make mistakes and get messy on our own terms. It makes us tired as we fit it into our busy life as a parents and people with many, many responsibilities. We keep thinking of this small business as an "iterative rocket launch." The rocket was never actually ready to leave the launch pad, but we sent it anyway. As we go along, we want to improve it, grow it, and figure out how to keep the thing in orbit. This one is our rocket and we get to own its success or failure. And we're glad you're here for the ride. This will be fun.
-Ben and Athena