As a retailer for stationary products, host for craft workshops in their studio and community event organizer, The Paper + Craft Pantry has been creating an inclusive and creative space for many in the Austin community since 2015.
We asked them to share how coffee fuels their work, what it means to be a maker and how to learn and grow as an Austin small business.
What inspired you to start The Paper + Craft Pantry?
I started my small business journey in 2013 after teaching myself how to do a little design work + digitizing doodles and illustrations and turning them into stationery! I always thought it would be something I’d “try out” and that I would eventually go back and get a real job. Fast-forward 2 years later, I had been working on my stationery business online and at in person events but came to a crossroads of how I wanted to grow my business.
I evaluated what I loved most about the business, what I was best at, and decided to make a slight pivot with my business! I wanted to combine two things I loved the most, paper and people. And I felt like there was a missing piece in Austin I could fill with a retail paper and stationery shop that could also serve as a workshop space where the community could come together to create!
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Do the work. Just do the work! Starting a business can be hard in so many ways, you ditch the routine of your 9-5 job but you sometimes end up working even longer hours. Be comfortable with trying things out for your business and being able to make the decision if it’s something that’s going to grow your business, or if it’s something to learn from and move on from! I think a huge misconception is that there is some sort of secret formula to running a successful business, but I truly feel like it’s a combination of hard work, trial and error, and being able to evolve your business as it grows!
Which The Paper + Craft Pantry craft item can you not live without?
I will forever be a list maker! I have to write everything down to be able to task out what needs to be done for the day, the week and the month! So I can’t live without a really good, fine tip pen, a notepad and a journal!
What is unique about The Paper + Craft Pantry?
Aside from amazing stationery and community workshops, the core of The Paper + Craft Pantry is to truly be a part of the Austin community. It’s so important for me that The Paper + Craft Pantry is inclusive in everything that we do, from our brick + mortar to our online presence. At the end of the day, I want every single person who walks through our door to feel a little more loved and happier than they were before they came in!
What is your go-to crafting technique?
I’ve been teaching myself new macrame knotting techniques- it’s really interesting to learn that knotting is a form of meditation! But my next project is to make a rug using really cozy fibers and a punch needle!
Which companies motivate and inspire your efforts at The Paper + Craft Pantry?
I’ve had the honor to meet so many small businesses through The Paper + Craft Pantry. From businesses that have been around for years to ones starting out, there’s inspiration in every single one of their stories! But by far the one that inspires me the most is Mitscoots. They’re a wonderful reminder that when you stay true to your core values and serve a greater purpose by putting people first, it allows you to authentically grow your brand. A brand and business that will have a legacy!
What is your favorite part about running and owning an Austin business?
The people! I’ve gotten to work with, know, become friends with and collaborate with so many wonderful people in Austin.
How and when do you drink your coffee?
I usually start the day with a cup of coffee– I love a good cup of black coffee but do love a splash of almond milk every now and then!
Which is your favorite Chameleon Cold-Brew flavor and why?
I love having a bottle of the classic black coffee concentrate in my fridge but lately, I’ve been obsessed with the cold-brew pods! It’s so easy to pop a pod into a jar and leave it overnight– for days I know I’ll be working a long day at the shop + studio, it’s really nice to have a caffeine back up!
How do you wish to inspire crafters and makers through your business?
It’s one of the best feelings when a student leaves one of our classes having connected with the instructor or another student. It’s so great if they’ve picked up a new creative skill but I think connecting with another person is the best part! In the world of social media, I personally believe that in person connections are more important than ever.
What is the coolest accomplishment you’ve experienced during your time running The Paper + Craft Pantry?
One of the coolest accomplishments is having folks who don’t live in Austin (and sometimes even in Texas or the United States) come in to visit our shop when they’re visiting Austin! A lot of them have been following us since we opened in 2015 and it’s so incredible to know that The Paper + Craft Pantry is able to reach and inspire people from all over the world!
What does being a maker mean to you?
To me, a maker is someone who is always learning and has the eagerness to grow. As a creative, I still carve out time to learn new skills, to take workshops and classes from other business owners so I can continue to grow!
Follow along with our Maker Series by using our hashtag #MadeForMakers on any and all social platforms! Have a story you want to share? Email email@example.com