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1023 Springdale Road, Building 6B
Austin, TX, 78721
United States

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. 

Filtering by Category: Small Business Chats

Small Business Chats: On Evolving And Growing Your Small Business

Pei Sim


Small Business School How to Grow with Your Business and Evolve your Shop Accordingly

We first met Allie through the world of Instagram years ago, even before we opened up our mint door! We were smitten with how sweet and talented she was and, of course, fell in love with her hand-stitched work!

In addition to being our resident hand embroidery instructor, Allie has grown what was a little hobby business into her full-time job. It's been incredibly inspiring to watch how she has grown her business in the past few years.

With a rebrand under her belt, a launch of over 40 new designs and products, and having her goods stocked in over 20 stores in the U.S., Allie is truly living her dream!

We sat down with her, while she was in Austin for two of her hand embroidery workshops, to chat about her small business journey and get advice on the best ways to evolve your brand!

How to Grow and Expand Your Small Business
Evolving your Small Business & Knowing when to Rebrand

Give us a little back story on your business:

I started embroidering while I was in college and found it so therapeutic. It slowly began to take over my apartment and I had a new found confidence that I decided to open an Etsy shop to share my work with others!

Tell us more about what you do!

I own a brand named after me, called Allie Biddle! I design + illustrate hand stitched greeting cards + joyful deskware! I’d describe my work as dreamy, mindful, and kind! I currently work out of my home studio where I dream up pieces for my line, work on production, and answer all the emails.

How were you able to take your business from an idea to an actual successful business online + in stores? 

I credit a lot of my early growth to The DIME Store in Denton, Texas. They were the first store to carry some of my early work, even before I had an Etsy shop. Community is SO important! My shop may be a little one woman show, but I’ve learned so much from the collections of small business + maker friends I have!

What's your proudest small business moment? 

Being able to write myself a check! I gave myself a year to do that—and in that time I was able to get my cash flow settled, give myself time to explore new products + all handle all the small costs it takes to run a business. Slow sustainable growth really does take its time, but it’s so worth it! 

Real talk: Owning a business can be hard, what’s a small business lesson you wish you would have known when you got started/wish you could tell your earlier self?

I think when you start a business, you get so consumed by what other artists are doing and how they are ‘successful.’ But the truth is, no other designer can be you and nobody has your voice + your unique perspective on the world. People connect to that. Stay true to that + you’ll be good! 

Last year, you rebranded your business. Tell us more! How did you decide to do that? Why did you decide to do that? 

So, my brand was initially titled ‘bedthread.’ It started with just lil' embroidered hoop pieces I had made around my apartment in a very therapeutic + hobbyist fashion. And the more time that went on, I realized that my work was growing stronger + more ‘me’ and that my shop was a full-time one-woman show! I really wanted to celebrate that, and didn’t feel the need to hide behind something that wasn’t my own name. The transition was kind of slow + steady, I announced it by changing my Instagram + Etsy handles. And then I just gave myself time to come up with a new logo, and develop my new line of illustrated work! The response was so wonderful and I’m so grateful to those who supported my rebrand! 

You recently launched a new line of designs and goods- what does the design process look like for you?

With bedthread, I was making these hand-stitched greeting cards, and the entire card was completely hand-stitched. They were wonderful + made their way into shops, but they were also so time-consuming! So, when I rebranded I had to rethink how to create products that weren’t so crazy, as it would take SO long to finish an order for a store! So, I took a Brit + Co class from Becky Simpson of Chipper Things on learning to digitize your drawings on Adobe Illustrator. I learned how to make that program work for me and invested in my printer (Karen the Canon!). Now, I illustrate by hand, digitize it, print, and then only stitch a small detail on each of my greeting cards! It’s a process for sure, but it’s an easier and ultimately means better designed products for my customers!

How do you decide what designs to launch? What does it take for a design to make the “cut” to be added to your linesheet? 

To be totally honest, I’m still working on this. Next month is the first time I’m unveiling a fall/winter line + having to think about the buying season ahead of the actual season we're in! Up until now, I've always just designed super intuitively and almost very impatiently! Once I have an design ready, it’s very likely that it will be available on my linesheet and etsy shop that same week! But I do try to evaluate my products often and make sure they all have a cohesive look! I’d rather have a line of 50 items that are both really strong designs and see my voice throughout, than 100 items and be all over the place.

When it comes to design, are there any Instagrammers you seek inspiration from or think we should be following? 

I get a lot of my color and design inspiration from painter Kindah Khalidy (@kindahkhalidy), the textile brand Dusen Dusen (@dusendusen), and my ultimate soul angel, Solange (@saintrecords)!

Who are some of your favorite independent makers and why? 

I love makers that share a genuine passion for their work and for sharing with others! I’m endlessly inspired by my great friend, Savannah Kurka and her brand Savvie Studio (@savviestudio)! Not only is her line amazingly beautiful + well-designed, she’s also a true maker’s maker. She’s always willing to talk out those business/wholesale/design issues we’re all having, and is always excited for those who gain great opportunities! I also feel those vibes from Worthwhile Paper + The Good Twin Co. I’ve never met these two ladies in person, but I'm sure I will one day!!

Any fun products or design sneak peeks you’re willing to share? 

Ahhhh, all the things! Stickers, notepads, + canvas totes are all on my list right now—stay tuned!

Growing and Rebranding your Small Business Advice and Tips

Small Business Chats: On Pivoting Your Business, Interior Design And Vintage Trends

Pei Sim


Small Business School 10 Minutes with Denise Roberts of Love Ding

This month we invited Denise Roberts, owner and founder of Love Ding, into our studio to chat all things small business, vintage, and home styling!  Denise has a knack for finding the most incredible vintage finds for her online store, and has an eye for interior design that always leaves us inspired. So, we asked her everything from her best advice for other small business owners just starting out, her favorite thrift spots in Austin, and home styling trends for fall!

Check out what she had to say in our 10-minute interview, below. 

Find out what Denise Roberts of Love Ding has to say about Owning a Small Business, Vintage Home goods and who you should be following on Instagram!

For those who don’t know, tell us more about Love Ding:

Love Ding started off as a vintage & new home goods shop in South Austin. In the last couple years it has grown and evolved into a Home Staging & Interior Styling company and online store! 

Small Business School Interview with Denise Roberts of Love Ding Home Staging & Interior Styling in Austin, Texas

What is your favorite thing about what you do?

I feel so lucky that my job is all about making people happy to be in their own homes! 

Real talk: Owning a business can be hard, what’s a small business lesson you wish you would have known when you got started or wish you could tell your past self?

I wish I could’ve told myself that it’s okay to veer off of the original path I had envisioned. When I decided to close my brick + mortar shop I was really down on myself for a while, because I felt like a total failure. Changing my vision for Love Ding and now looking back, I see that even these “failures” have gotten me to where I am now. I don’t know that I could’ve launched my staging and styling services if I hadn’t built up a community of supporters by having the shop first. It’s worked out even though it’s not what I originally had planned.

I also really wish I had joined a co-working space and attended more networking events for creative people like myself a long time ago. Just having supportive and driven people to bounce ideas off of has made a world of difference!

What's your proudest small business moment?

Launching my Spruce Kit! It was a lot of work to get off of the ground, and I was really proud to share my new services with the world. 

Do you have any advice for those looking to start their own small business?

GO FOR IT! You’ll never ever know how or what it takes, or if you are even capable of doing it unless you try.

If you had to give some pro-tips on where to go to find great vintage goods, where would you go?

I love estate sales! The earlier they start in the week (like Thursdays) the better selection you have. Waiting until the weekend could mean the sales have already been picked over. The best resource to finding these sales is to sign up for emails from estatesles.net. They tell you about all of the sales in your area. Also, if you watch my Instagram Stories, you'll see that I frequently stop at Goodwills all over town (and beyond—I’ve been known to cram stuff in suitcases to get them home)! I will always make time for a Goodwill pit-stop. 

How long did it take to train your eye to uncover amazing vintage home goods when you’re going around town thrifting?

It’s taken me about three years or so to finally feel confident in my thrifting skills. Now, when something catches my eye and I get a little rush from the good find, I don’t second-guess myself.

What your top 4 favorite items in the Love Ding shop right now?

I'm loving the warmth of wicker, woven and wooden accessories right now! So, I pulled a few of my favorites from my online shop (placemats, mini suitcase, this adorable Aldemere Egg Tray, and color-blocked vases)! Oh, I've also recently released a "giftable" version of my Spruce Kits, which I'm really excited about!

Are there any Instagrammers you seek inspiration from or think we should be following?

Favorite Interior Designer: @em henderson (duh!)
Fave Fashion Insta: @andrea_hartman_
Design Inspiration: @ara_collective
Fave Foodie Insta: @littlebitsof_realfood

What are some of your favorite shops/local makers in Austin?

Take HeartKettle & BrineBlank Space Studio, and Uptown Modern

Any exciting plans for Love Ding in the next year?

I’m really focusing on my staging and styling services right now, and making efforts to get my name out there! I’ll also be updating my online inventory in the next year and a will be announcing the launch of a private shopping event series in the very near future! Shhh...

We’ve been keeping up with your personal home reno on your blog! Tell us a little bit about how your "RenovateDING" project is going?

It’s going well! I think we are (finally) about 2-3 weeks away from being DONE! *Fingers crossed* The final touches will be installing a tiny bit of tile work, door hardware, plumbing fixtures and lighting. I AM SO EXCITED to show y’all the big reveal and share lots and lots of Insta stories about my process for styling my new digs.

Any design trend predictions for fall + winter? We want to know!

I’m thinking there has to be some fall-ish spin off millennial pink? Perhaps a darker pink jewel tone... I’m also sort of digging furniture with black accents right now—black leather, black wood, black metal—it’s such a bold color but neutral at the same time!

Small Business Chats with Denise Roberts, of Love Ding, on advice for small business owners, the best places to thrift in Austin and upcoming home interior trends for fall!

Small Business Chats: Mindy Sepeti

Pei Sim


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If you've had the chance to take one of Mindy Sepeti's Cookie Decorating Workshops in our studio, you already know that Mindy has one of the most contagious smiles around town! In addition to sharing her passion through teaching, Mindy and her newlywed husband, Kenny, own and operate Mindy's Bakeshop—a from-scratch bakery and dessert catering company in Austin. As another local boss babe, we wanted to sit down with Mindy to find out more about her inspiration behind everything cookies, cakes and small business! Plus: don't forget to check out the awesome video we put together of Mindy's decorating skills in action👇🏼. We know we can't be the only ones obsessed with clips like these!!

Mindy and Ken Sepeti with Mindy's Bakeshop
Cookie Decorating with Mindy Sepeti
Mindy's Bakeshop custom cookie decorating austin texas
Austin bakery Mindy's Bakeshop custom cookies and cakes

When/How/Why did you open Mindy’s Bakeshop?

After several years of baking on the side while holding full-time kitchen jobs, my husband and I decided to take the big leap in June of 2015! We quit our day jobs and put everything we had into making this our reality because we were equally passionate about a) producing the highest quality bespoke baked good around and b) working in our pajamas every day!

What is your favorite thing about what you do?

Oh gosh, there are so many favorite things to choose from! Doing what I love on a daily basis is maybe the most significant. Watching people go nuts over a cake or a set of cookies. Getting the emails saying that their guests raved about the desserts at an event. It’s so satisfying to know that you’re making people happy on some small level. The working in pajamas part is a close second!

Buttercream or cream cheese frosting?

This feels a little like choosing a favorite child! But generally, unless it’s carrot cake (which just happens to be one of my most favorite things in life... and using anything other than cream cheese frosting would be an abomination) or red velvet, I’m a Swiss meringue buttercream gal.

What's your proudest small business moment?

I think the biggest moment for us came last year when Instagram invited us to participate in a small panel of local business owners at their Austin Headquarters. It felt like such an achievement for this tiny home-based bakery to be recognized by such an important platform

Do you have any advice for those looking to start their own small business?

Save save save!! Be prepared financially. Taking that leap is scary and you need to be able to support yourself during the slow seasons (and, there will be slow seasons). So going in with a safety net is really important. Also, get out there! Meet as many people as you can and build a network of support. Community is everything as a small biz owner and having good relationships with the people around you is important from both a business aspect and an emotional aspect.

What’s your process for choosing new flavor combinations and ideas for your cookies/cakes?

We pay attention to everything! You never know when inspiration will strike. When it comes to cake flavors, we keep a running list of ideas that we add to pretty regularly and then on our days off will play around with what works + what doesn't.

Are there any Instagrammers you seek inspiration from or think we should be following?

Always! I’m always inspired by @glitterandlazers (her use of color and her perspective on life makes me smile every single day), @fujifiles (her posts always inspire me to pursue new challenges and perspectives, plus her dog is SUH CUTE), and @maggiegentry_ (her feed is somehow calming and exhilarating all at the same time and her words always motivate me to keep on keepin’ on when it comes to small biz ownership).

Who are some of your favorite local makers?

I cannot get enough of Benjamin Soap Co. (best candles in the city, imho) and I loooove Confituras for all things jarred and pickled! When it comes to jewelry and clothing, I’m a huge Nina Berenato and Daisy Natives fan. But really, have you seen the talent in the city?! There are too many amazing makers to count.

What’s your favorite dessert spot in Austin?

Elizabeth Street Cafe for the caneles, Blue Dahlia Bistro for the creme brûlée, or Amy’s Ice Cream for a scoop of Mexican Vanilla with crushed up strawberries. All three are like a little piece of heaven on earth! (Also, I obviously have a thing for custard…)

Any exciting plans for Mindy’s Bakeshop in the next year?

We just launched our seasonal and custom DIY Cookie Kits, so that’s been a lot of fun, and we’re also so excited to focus more on cookie decorating workshops around the city (...and maybe even state!) Other than that, we’re keeping our heads down and working hard in the hopes that we can move this home-based bakeshop into an actual house next year. Operating out of a tiny apartment comes with challenges and, while we love it, we’re so ready for a home to call our own with room for Mindy’s Bakeshop to flourish and the ability to serve more clients!


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Ready for the

Best Cookies in Town?

If you're looking for an instant mood booster, head over to Mindy's Instagram to scroll through some pics of the cutest cookies in town! 

*Photo of Mindy + Kenny by Chelsea Laine Francis Photography