A CUT ABOVE
What started as a single-person card-making Etsy shop has led to a thriving stationery store and workshop studio in East Austin. Pei Sim founded The Paper + Craft Pantry, which celebrated its seventh anniversary earlier this month, in 2015 as the next step to expand her two-year-old card design business. She is the sole designer of the shop’s in-house stationery line that is also printed locally.
Since the shop’s opening, their products have expanded from their famous card wall to subscription boxes, and as of this holiday season, their very first stationery advent calendar. The shop regularly releases products for special occasions such as Valentine's Day, Lunar New Year, and Christmas. In addition to stationery, the shop also provides home goods such as candles, crystals, desk supplies, chocolates, and snacks.
Like many small businesses in Austin, The Paper + Craft Pantry was no stranger to difficulties during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. At a time when in-store shopping saw a steep decline, the shop had to reinvent the way they provided customers with their well-loved stationery. The shop’s often sold-out monthly subscription box helped bridge that gap and is now in its third successful year of operation. The box is hand-curated by Sim and occasionally features exclusive products that are available to subscribers before being released in-store or online.
Another successful product line is their collaboration with fellow small business Archer & Olive. Archer & Olive is a stationery company that provides tools to improve mental wellness through journaling and creativity. Sim designed over 10 exclusive notebook cover designs that launched in 2021 and 2022, most of which are now sold out.
The shop doesn’t just fulfill stationery needs – it also hosts monthly classes in the workshop studio. Some classes are taught by Sim and others are taught by local or visiting artists. Popular workshops include watercolor painting, candle pouring, and leather bookbinding. The shop hosts seasonal workshops as well, such as Reindeer Shag Cake Decorating and Holiday Floral Arrangements.
The Paper + Craft Pantry has always been active within the creative community in Austin. Just last month, the store hosted a Fall Festival Market with several local vendors, and in November, it participated in weekends 2 and 3 of The Austin Studio Tour. Additionally, as a way to prioritize giving back to the Austin community, The Paper + Craft Pantry donates a portion of the proceeds from its in-house stationery line to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Black Mamas ATX.