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2511 East 6th St, Bldg 4 Unit A
Austin, TX 78702

Austin's favorite stationery shop and workshop studio.

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The Paper + Craft Pantry blog is home to our latest DIY projects, current inspiration sources, and small business advice. 

D.I.Y Painted Pumpkins

Grace McKinney

 Paper Craft Pantry D.I.Y. Pastel Fall Pumpkins

Hey everyone, happy November!

We wanted to continue the Fall celebrations with this very simple Painted Pumpkin D.I.Y. These were such a quick and easy way to add some fun color to the studio and we’re certain it will do the same in your home!

Try out different color palettes that aren’t the “traditional” fall colors- have fun playing around with colors :) And I mean, you can never go wrong with a pink pumpkin :)

MINI PLANTER MAGNETS

D.I.Y. PROJECT TIME: 30 MINS (for a few days to let the paint dry in between coats!)

  • MATERIALS
  • Pumpkins in various sizes
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint brushes

To start this easy D.I.Y. project, it’s all about deciding the amount and color palette of your pumpkins. We hosted a “Fall Festival Market” during this past October at the shop and wanted a bright and playful pastel rainbow ombre look in lieu of the more traditional and warmer autumn colors.

The finished product made for the perfect piece for our front door to welcome guests in to our event and now, these pumpkins have a home in front of our beloved card wall!

The only thing is you need to have patience. Because of the texture and slickness of the pumpkin it takes several layers of paint and time to let each one dry. And afterward it’s still incredibly easy to scratch off that paint so be careful when moving them and keep some extra paint on hand for little touch ups!

We learned after doing this D.I.Y that we would likely redo this but using faux pumpkins from the craft stores. That way, you can keep and enjoy them for many many years!

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Do you have an alternative fall color palette you are loving? Let us know in the comments below!

Round Up: Our Favorite Halloween D.I.Y. Party Projects

Grace McKinney


 Paper Craft Pantry blog round up of easy halloween party decoration ideas!

Call all your friends because we are going help you throw the best Halloween bash ever!

It’s time to use all your creativity and make some D.I.Y decor that will add that perfect personal touch to any event! Here are a few fun projects and pictures to help you get inspired.

We’ve done the research for you and rounded up some of our favorite halloween inspired D.I.Y.s just in time for some last minute party ideas!

SPIDER WEB TABLE CLOTH/PHOTO WALL

This is a perfect and super versatile project that can be used in many different ways to decorate! Although we may not love having an ACTUAL spider web in our house, we will let this one slide. (:

 The Paper + Craft Pantry Blog: Spider Web D.I.Y table cloth spread out on a table with other decor.
 The Paper + Craft Pantry Blog: Spider Web D.I.Y. table cloth hung up and used as a table cloth.

Photo Credit: The House that Lars Built

GHOST PINATAS

BOO! How could you be scared by these adorable ghost pinatas?!? They make for the perfect decor piece and as traditional use - hitting them for candy!

 The Paper + Craft Pantry Blog: Black and white D.I.Y. ghost pinatas hung up making for the perfect decor or for the traditional use.

Photo credit: Make and Tell

PUMPKIN BALLOON BACKDROP

Depending on how big of an event this is, you could go ALL OUT with this pumpkin balloon display that seriously makes for the perfect photo wall. It might look like an overwhelming task to create, but this tutorial shows that it’s easier to do then you might think!

 The Paper + Craft Pantry Blog: Pumpkin ballon backdrop hung up on a large wall making for the perfect photo wall.

Photo credit: The House that Lars Built

SPIDER STICKS:

Anyone with a fear of spiders might not want to participate in this D.I.Y. but we think it makes for a super fun party prop! It’s super easy and quick to make while still looking amazing.

 The Paper Craft Pantry Blog: Spider D.I.Y. ballon being used on a stick as a party prop.

Photo credit: Oh Happy Day

PRINTABLE PARTY FAVOR POPPERS

Did you say printable? You know we’re all about those freebies! This project makes for a great (and delicious) thank you gift for your party guests. It also gives you an excuse to eat a few pieces of treats while you stuff them inside your popper (it’s okay..we wont tell).

 The Paper + Craft Pantry Blog: D.I.Y Halloween party poppers make for the best gift and fun activity for any event.

Photo credit: Oh Happy Day

We hope you enjoyed this round up and that it helped you get ideas for any Halloween celebration you join!! And thanks to all of these amazing creators that constantly inspire with their creativity and talent. How will YOU be spending Halloween this year?

Round Up: Favorite Snail Mail To Send

Pei Sim


 The Paper + Craft Pantry: All of our favorite cards to send to friends set out to display.

It’s officially fall (even if it doesn’t feel like it in Austin!), and I feel like we’re on the cusp of ramping up into every business’s “busy” season of the year. For most businesses, especially retail, the last quarter (October-December) is the busiest time of the year in regards to sales + revenue. No pressure right?

I’ve learned a lot over the past several years of learning to embrace the slower days (even months) as they offset the times where things seem to be moving at such a fast and sometimes frantic pace. Of course I’m grateful for the holiday season for so many reasons, and am so honored that The Paper + Craft Pantry gets to play a small role in our communities celebrations throughout the year.

It’s during the busy times and seasons that I feel it’s extra important to slow down, or at least find time to slow down. The holiday season can be tough for some people, for so many reasons- I think it’s a great reminder to just be extra kind, show extra patience and give extra grace whenever you can. A great way to slow down is to just sit down and write- write to someone you haven’t talked to in a while, write to your grandma who you only see once a year, write a just because note to your significant other, write a short note to your postman (or woman!)… You really don’t need an excuse to show someone you thought of them, and that they are valued.

I read this article that shared the five reasons to write thank you notes and this one on the science behind thank you notes. And was immediately inspired to write a few little notes and cards to pop in the mail.

The selection of cards we have at The Paper + Craft Pantry is something that makes me so proud because I thoroughly enjoy seeing guests in our shop take their time to peruse what we have, to really find the “one”. Here are a few of our current favorites that are my current favorite snail mail to send, just because.

 The Paper + Craft Pantry Blog: Overview of all the cards and a few pens laying flat on the table.
 The Paper + Craft Pantry Blog: A 3D peach card, bright pink donut print, and the perfect coupling of a cookie and milk card.
 The Paper + Craft Pantry Blog: 2 of our favorite dog cards.
 The Paper + Craft blog: A roundup of our favorite cards in Austin.
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Inspired to send more snail mail? Shop our online store now or pop into our new shop to pick out the perfect card :)

Small Business School: An Interview With a 12yr Old Entrepreneur

Grace McKinney


 Small Business School Blog Post: An interview with a 12yr old entrepreneur.

Earlier in the year (in January), I received an email that caught my attention. As you can imagine, my inbox is rather full and I would normally have assumed this particular email was spam. But boy am I glad I clicked on it!

The email was from a 6th grader who had written an incredibly concise email about how she was interested in doing her apprenticeship (a requirement for her school for credit) at The Paper + Craft Pantry. The email was extremely well worded and she even ended the email asking if we could schedule a phone call to discuss further. My first instinct was to say no, because honestly,taking on an intern, especially a 12 year old one sounded like a ton of work.

But I agreed to a phone call with her because I was interested to learn more about if it would be a right fit for both of us. The day before our scheduled call, I received an email from Kate (the 6th grader in the email) to confirm our call the next day. I mean, what kind of 12 year old does this?

Our phone call went wonderful and I asked Kate to put together an email as well as send me a reference before I would decide if the next step would be an in person meeting.

Fast forward to our in-person interview, Kate walked in and shook my hand with the confidence that I wish most adults (even myself) would have. I was immediately blown away by how well she carried herself and how professional she was. Kate proceeded to inform me during our conversation that she had first dabbled in small business ownership in the fourth grade at her school’s children’s fair.

Needless to say, I decided that taking Kate on would be a great decision for both myself and The Paper + Craft Pantry! Kate spent over a month with us assisting with workshops, helping with marketing efforts, and really anything else we needed support on. And before it was time for her to graduate 6th grade, I sat down with Kate to ask her some questions about her experience working at The Paper + Craft Pantry.

Who are you AND what do you do? My name is Kate Metteauer, and I am a 6th grader at Acton Academy West.

Tell me about your school! My school is centered around the Hero’s Journey and learning at your own pace. I know it sounds crazy, it’s the most amazing school ever. We learn about entrepreneurship and learn the basics of running a business. I don’t have any homework, but what I don’t finish at school I do at home. Everything is done on the computer and we are on a year round schedule.  It’s small, only around 45 total students, in the ENTIRE school, and only 12 in Middle School. There are a lot of Acton Academies, in the U.S, but also in the world.

 The Paper + Craft Pantry: 12yr old entrepreneur typing on her computer for another shop project.

Tell me a bit about how you started your business! When I was nine (which really wasn’t that long ago), I was surprised to get a sewing machine for my birthday. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but I now appreciate it  and have realized it was the best gift I have ever gotten. Soon after I learned to sew, I started my first business. I sold mostly bags and scarves that I had sewn. I had very little inventory, and a booth at The Acton Children’s Business Fair, but I loved it. After about two years of sewing, I realized that my products weren’t selling because I was trying to sell $40 bags to seven year olds and my materials were too expensive to sell things for any less. If I wanted to sell bags and scarves it would need to be for a different audience, so I completely switched gears and started making soap.

How has it evolved? I've gained a lot of knowledge about talking to customers, how to lay out my products at fairs, and how to better make products. I even started funding it myself, instead of asking for money from other people (aka my parents).

What has been your biggest lesson in running a business? I have learned that it’s okay to try something different while also becoming better at managing my time so that I can make more inventory to sell more at each fair. I like trying new things and want to experiment more with different soap recipes, packaging, and so much more! 

While apprenticing at The Paper + Craft Pantry, what was your biggest learning or takeaway?      I have learned so much while apprenticing at The Paper + Craft Pantry, but my biggest takeaway has been that it takes time to start a business, and you have to be very flexible with everything going on around you, and you have to take it slow in the beginning to build up from there.

 The Paper + Craft Pantry Blog: 12yr entrepreneur taking notes and typing up her daily shop work.

What were your tasks and responsibilities while apprenticing? Did you get to lead any projects?  I got to restock the cards in the shop, help prep for activities, and clean up after workshops. Although my favorite thing I got to do was probably help people paint pots and make bath salts at some of the events. I loved talking to everyone and guiding them through the process of making something.

What has been something you learned that you really enjoyed? I really enjoyed just being in the studio and seeing what people will create during the classes and at events.

What was something you learned that you didn’t expect? I didn’t expect anything honestly, and with that there were so many amazing surprises around every corner. The biggest was how many classes Pei organizes and hosts every week, and the amount of people that come to those events. Everything has been a learning experience for me, which has been amazing.

What is one thing you’ve learned at the Paper + Craft Pantry that you think has made the biggest impact on your journey as a small business owner? At my school we believe that every student is on their own Hero’s Journey. A Hero’s Journey is the basis for almost every book and movie. Everyone is on there own one and will have many of them throughout their lifetime. This apprenticeship has taught me SO many things, starting from restocking shelves to collaborating with other business owners! Through the lessons that I have learned and the welcoming nature of the Paper + Craft Pantry, this experience has greatly impacted me on MY OWN Hero’s Journey providing me with lessons I will use and cherish throughout my life.

What advice would you give other entrepreneurs - Ones who are afraid to get started. What about ones who can’t decide what to do? Take the time to figure out what really makes you happy, and go for it. It’s okay to start small and work your way up from there. Anyone can start a business, you just have to believe in yourself, your work, and your ideas. At my second business fair a tried to sell way way too many things at one time and it ended badly. Instead of giving up I tried something different and used the lessons I learned to make it better than it was before. Don’t be afraid to at least try, even if you fail you can always try again, and this time with more knowledge and experience to do better.


Feeling inspired, and ready to work?! Just start where you with what you have, and go for it! Have any questions? Leave them in the comments down below.

The Paper + Craft Pantry Apprenticeship x Acton Academy, Austin TexasAbout the co-author:

Kate is currently a 6th grader at the Acton Academy in Austin. Kate completed a 2 month apprenticeship as a part of her school credit where she learned the ins and outs of small business ownership with The Paper + Craft Pantry. She also is the co-author and editor of this blog post. Kate is a fellow small business owner who owns a soap company called Ridiculously Clean

D.I.Y. Clay Bead Accessories Using Color Theory Principles

Grace McKinney

 Paper Craft Pantry D.I.Y. and Color Theory Blog

Anyone else out there R-E-A-D-Y for fall? I know we (me and the P+CP) are! I can't wait to bring in some cozy autumn vibes into our shop + studio. 

It's been an exceptionally busy season for us here. From the closing of our first brick + mortar and reopening days after, to hosting over 20+ workshops and events this summer (and even our first out of Austin workshop), celebrating our official reopening with a weekend full of fun...I've definitely let our blog fall on the back burner. 

But we're back! And armed with our new creative intern who is committed to keeping The Paper + Craft Pantry blog on track with delivering awesome posts and content with all of you!

Grace is an exceptionally talented creative who always has a knack for executing all the ideas I've had brewing in my mind + while adding an elevated touch to all of them. When I mentioned I wanted to create a simple D.I.Y. that would transition seamlessly from that summer mind set to the fall, I knew it would be perfect for all you wanting to find time to get creative as well as update your every day with simple accessories. 

Before we got started, we spend some time going over some design ideas as well as choosing a color palette that was fun enough for summer, but cozy enough for fall! We ended up with colors that were both in the same families as well as complementary colors and perhaps have found our new fall wardrobe color palette in the process! 

D.I.Y. CLAY BEAD NECKLACE + KEYCHAIN

PROJECT TIME: 45 MIN (NOT INCLUDING DRY TIME)

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  • MATERIALS
  • Air dry clay
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Wood dowels
  • Leather jewelry cored
  • Keychain hardware
 The Paper + Craft Pantry: Supplies for d.i.y. clay beads. Paint, water, and paint brushes.
 The Paper + Craft Pantry Blog: The clay and wood sticks needed to make our d.i.y. clay beads.

D.I.Y. STEPS

1. Choose your color palette!

Here was our process for picking out our palette using two color theory principles: 

COLOR HARMONY: From a visual standpoint, harmony is something that is pleasing to the eye. It engages the viewer and it creates an inner sense of order and balance. When something is not harmonious, it's either boring or chaotic. 

We ended up with gold, black, grey, coral, blush pink, olive and a leafy green.

COLOR CONTEXT: How color behaves in relation to other colors and shapes.

We wanted colors that were unexpected when paired together and were specific on the shape of the clay bead as it corresponded to the color of paint we used. We also considered this as we were stringing the beads together.

2. Roll out your air-dry clay in a variety of sizes and shapes! *Pro-Tip we laid down wax paper to keep our work surface clean!

3. Use the wooden skewer to insert a hole that goes straight through the clay bead- keep in mind that the skewer should be wider than the cord you are using.

4. Leave your clay beads to dry for at least 3 full days!

5. Once your clay beads are dry, paint them! They'll dry relatively quickly and be ready to string onto your cord within a few minutes. We made a variety of necklace and key chain combinations with all the beads we made!

*Pro-tip: Spray a clear coat over the beats to avoid scuffs!

 The Paper + Craft Pantry Blog: All of the different stages of our clay bead d.i.y. They start out as sticky, then dry, and finally painted!
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 The Paper + Craft Pantry Blog: The final project of the d.i.y. clay bead necklace.
 The Paper + Craft Pantry Blog: The finished project of the d.i.y clay bead keychain.
 The Paper Craft Pantry Blog: The final product of our dry and painted clay bead jewelry and keychain.

What are your favorite summer/fall colors right now? Let us know in the comments below!

Small Business School: Insight To How We Buy

Pei Sim


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Happy Tuesday from our new shop + studio! It’s honestly still so surreal that we are in our new home. It both feels like we just moved in as well as like we’ve always been here. We just celebrated our official re-opening a couple of weekends ago so it does feel a little more real since we're 100% settled in.

Since we opened in 2015, we’ve been committed to bringing y’all the very best stationery, paper and of course, workshops! When we first opened, we started with working alongside 16 fellow small, independent designers to showcase their goods in our shop. And that number has now grown to well over 80!

We’ve grown our family of stationery designers through in-person and Instagram relationships, as well as through our visits to the National Stationery Show. We are so honored to be able to help share the incredible work of fellow creators with you.

A while back, I wrote a blog post about why we buy- a way to share a little bit of perspective of how I choose to stock our shelves. By no means am I an end all be all expert as everyone has their own way of doing things, but I still follow those same thought processes. Since we’ve grown both as a business as well as for me personally, I wanted to take the time to share a more in-depth look at my preferred way of connecting with a brand/maker/designer, and what that early stages of that relationship might look like that leads to placing an order (and re-orders after!)

 The Paper + Craft Pantry: New East Austin Shop + Studio.
 The Paper + Craft Pantry small business blog on how to pitch your wholesale line.

BUILD A RELATIONSHIP

There are seriously SO many talented designers out there, and as a paper lover, trust me when I say it’s hard to decide which lines to carry in our shop.

I love working with designers who have a vision, designers who are not just talented at creating but are savvy business owners. I want The Paper + Craft Pantry to grow alongside these fabulous businesses. A lot of the designers I started working with when I first opened the shop are still designers we carry in the shop! And I prefer to re-order new designs and replenish our stock by reinvesting in those relationships. The designers we work with have sometimes gone from online working relationships to real life friendships- and if I'm being honest, those are the very best relationships!

Although I enjoy supporting folks we already have a strong relationship with,  I also really enjoy scoping out new designers to bring into our stationery “family"! We get a TON of product submissions via the contact form on our website as well as through good old fashioned snail mail. I typically sort through what we get into sections- ones I will file to order in the future, and ones that just aren’t a fit for us in another. It certainly helps a new designer trying to woo us to go through the proper way we choose to accept product submissions (more on that below!)

DO YOUR RESEARCH

I’m willing to bet that most shop owners can attest that each of them have their own preferred way of accepting product submissions. Do some research, look through their website (Are there instructions on how to submit your work? Are they even accepting new goods?), have you even been to their physical store? Why do you think your brand + product would be a good fit? I can’t tell you the number of times I get inquries where people say they’re a good fit for our shop because our shop is cute. That’s really nice that they think our shop is cute but it makes me wonder if they even know what The Paper + Craft Pantry is about.

Personally, I do not accept walk-ins purely from the standpoint that it’s not a good use of my time. It’s always a little awkward to have to tell someone I am unable to meet with them right then and there. Especially when they’ve got a bag or box full of product and are insisting I look through their product with no regard for my time (or what I have going on during my work day).

Although our submission policies are just a personal preference, I’m almost certain most of the other shop owners I know would agree that unannounced and unscheduled walk-ins are usually not the right way to go!

HOW TO STAND OUT

Think about the volume of emails, and even old fashioned mail a business/shop receives weekly and even sometimes daily...Getting lost in the crowd can be easy.

When submitting your brand + product to a new buyer or shop, presentation is key because I think it speaks to how you run your business. It sets the bar that quality is important to you and usually quality will translate throughout someone’s business.

We’ve received packages that were accidentally left outside in the rain but when we opened it, we mentally applauded the person who put it together for thinking to slip everything into a cello sleeve. A handwritten note is also key (when you’re a stationery business at least) and always sharing why you think your line would make sense added to our shop. Samples are always appreciated because as a paper person, I love being able to feel the weight of the paper and see how things are printed/packaged.

POTENTIAL REASONS FOR WHY YOUR BUSINESS/BRAND/PRODUCT MAY NOT BE A GOOD FIT

Occasionally we’ll receive a submission that’s a really easy no for us. But we also sometiems receive submissions that are a yes, but not right now.

The nos are usually because there’s an overlap in a simliar brand we already work with and carry in the shop. The nos are also usually from improper product submission- because it means that this person has no idea what we do and has never even looked on our website!

The yes but not right nows could be for a number of things. The quantity minimums or opening minimums may be restrictive. There may not be enough designs released that resonate with our shop to warrant an opening order.

P.s. I almost always will place an order/re-order if the designer is offering free shipping and I know of other shop owners who will also raise their hand to this :)
 

WAYS TO FOLLOW UP: 

After submitting your brand + product (in the way that specific shop requries), a follow up email a week or so after is wonderful!

I personally unsubscribe from product/wholesale newsletter that I never opted for- this happens actually more often than you’d think.

But if I already work with a designer + brand, I love when they check in with new product releases and when they remind me of upcoming holidays. Receiving product/wholesale newsletters from folks I already work with is okay in my book!

 The Paper + Craft Pantry small business blog on how we choose to wholesale.
 The Paper + Craft Pantry owner, Pei, and her pup Harley standing in front of our new card wall.
 The Paper + Craft Pantry new card wall.

INSTAGRAM STORY MOST ASKED QUESTIONS: 


How do you choose? Based on your own taste or purely what you think will sell? 

I choose on a variety of factors but when it comes to actual design, I choose designs I feel will resonate with our community (you!) I also am firm not never carrying anything or stocking anything I myself would not want or purchase. 

How do you find designers? 

A lot of designers I currently work with I've known for years (from when I used to design my own line), I discover new designers online as well as attend the National Stationery Show to check out and meet designers in person!

Do you prefer email before samples? 

NO! Only because my inbox is always so full (any one else out there feel the same?) so it's easy for emails to get lost in the shuffle. I personally prefer snail mail and an going through our online product submission form (because the form covers questions I want to know from the brand/business/designer!) 

Best approach to submit product to a store? Wholesale ettiequte, sending samples? 

I mention it in this blog under "Do Your Research"! Each store and shop is different. Each buyer is different :) 

Open to wholesale products from overseas? 

Yes! We currently work with designers from Canada, the U.K. and South Korea. It's not a deal breaker if it's overseas as long as pricing translates to USD and also if shipping isn't bonkers.

Preference of printing type? 

I love all paper equally... okay maybe that's not true. I have a particular soft spot for all things letterpressed. 

What do you look for in a brand to carry? 

This is mentioned in the section "Build A Relationship" in the post above. 


Are you a shop owner? How do you like to receive product/brand submissions? Are you trying to add a stockist to your brand? Have you found an effective way to approach shops? 

We wanna know! Let us know in the comments below!