Texas’s capital city is full of hubbub and creativity! These local businesses have considered how they could impact the Austin creative scene and took the plunge to do just that.
Paper + Craft Pantry
Off of Springdale Road in Austin sits a stationary-lovers heaven. Founded in 2015, The Paper + Craft Pantry is Austin’s first and only locally-owned retail paper shop and full-service workshop studio whose goal is to provide the community with quality and fun in a retail and workshop space. Owner and founder Pei Sim spoke of her passion for this small business: “I love serving the
world by creating a space where everyone who walks through our doors feels welcomed and supported. It’s also pure magic when someone finds the perfect card for their loved ones or when someone lights up after learning something new in one of our workshops.”
Sim’s passion for her business, and small business ownership in general, is strong. “I am a huge advocate for anyone in the small business industry, or [anyone who has] interests in starting a business to just do it! No one else can do it for you,” Sim said.
Her website and blog cite details of her journey and the slow pace at which it takes to grow a strong and successful business. Her Small Business School Blog series details the ins and outs of
Inside the Paper + Craft Pantry, customers will find the walls lined with greeting cards, paper goods, and stationery from more than 85 independent designers, as well as other handmade homewares and gifts. This precisely curated selection of goods highlights Sim’s desire to provide her customers high-quality items. While part of the shop offers these inspired products, an additional portion of the shop is a creative studio. In this openconcept space, creative magic happens. Sim invites instructors from other small businesses to co-host events so that they can offer a variety of classes, while at the same time promote other small businesses.
She has historically offered workshops teaching watercolor, ceramics, felt crafting, embroidery, and more. Additionally, Paper + Craft Pantry participates in community events such as hosting Paper + Craft Pantry Book Club, small business panels, community pop-ups, and markets such as the Vintage Mini Market, Summer Craft Party, and Fall Festival Market. Sim is indeed making an impact on the creative community in Austin.
Austin Creative Reuse
Founded in 2009, with doors opening in 2015, this innovative non-profit organization collects, sells, and distributes donated reusable materials. Who does not have projects that were always going to be finished “someday?” Instead of letting these items sit around filling up closets, this Austin-based establishment is happy to take them on.
Run entirely by volunteers and part-time staff, there is a hearty spirit of teaching the ways reuse can contribute to a lifestyle of sustainability. ACR puts on events where they bring volunteers in for specific work projects: you might be sorting beads, organizing groups of items, or testing paints. They also have a weekly fabric rolling event to engage volunteers in helping with this very specific need.
Many of their events are open to families with children ages 10 and older. ACR places a specific interest in involving children and families in their efforts, as one of their reasons for opening was to “inspire the engineers, designers, architects, and artists of tomorrow,” as stated on their website. Additional indications of ACR supporting youth is a recurring three-hour kids’ workshop for children ages 3 to 15, on the first Sunday of every month.
ACR also partners with like-minded local businesses to host crafting events and promote sustainability and reuse. Artists are brought in to lead craft workshops and contribute their expertise to local crafters. Per their website, “Our mission is to foster conservation and reuse through creativity, education, and community building.”
ACR also has some unique offerings. A spin-art machine was built out of an old bicycle tire combined with a trash can that ACR rents out. Additionally, ACR maintains a tool-lending library and rents out their workshop for special events. Since ACR places such a high value on sustainability and reuse, they offer professional development for educators, as described on their website: “With reuse as a vehicle, our workshops foster material exploration, team building, collaboration, and thoughtful reflection, all of which offer teachers new insights into their own classrooms . . . Our workshops allow teachers to appreciate and understand creative classroom dynamics and offers them ways to encourage students to more attentively explore, create, and problem solve — both on their own and in the classroom culture.” ACR truly lives out their passion for sustainability, reuse, and recycling through each of their innovative initiatives.
Looking to craft in a studio that comes fully outfitted with supplies and where you do not have to clean up? CRAFT is your spot! Located east of Downtown Austin on Cesar Chavez, this studio offers open hours where crafters can select their supplies, create to their heart’s content, and leave, no clean-up required. Guests can pay by the hour or purchase a monthly membership for these open craft times, which are scheduled every weekday, excluding Tuesday, at 2 p.m. This is such a great way for people who do not particularly see themselves as creative to play without the commitment of purchasing and storing tools and supplies that they are not even sure they will use.
When discussing her inspiration to open her shop, founder Eli Winkleman said, “Why not make a lovely space, like a gym, but for making stuff? Instead of treadmills, we’ll have paint, glue guns, googly eyes, and wood scraps. People can show up and work on any project they want. It will be Austin’s craft room.”
CRAFT is a kid-free zone. This allows adults to relax and focus on their art. Winkleman described the diverse clientele that enters the doors at CRAFT. “We get a lot of parents who leave the kids at home and come relax,” she said. “[CRAFT is good for] date nights, for first dates, for couples who’ve been together for ages and want to do something new together, bachelor and bachelorette parties, corporate team events. We have people who are retired and college students who don’t have space in their dorm rooms for supplies or the art they want to do.”
In addition to guests using CRAFT as a creative studio, the shop is also available to host private events. CRAFT can seat 40 crafters and accommodate up to 200 standing guests. This space works well for birthday parties, team meetings, brainstorming sessions, and other out-of-the-box type meetings. Since being in a creative space can get the juices flowing, CRAFT also offers coworking space. Offerings include Wi-Fi, power outlets, coffee, communal tables or individual desks, walking access to several eateries, and a buffet of art supplies. This can be accessed on a month-to-month membership basis, with the opportunity for a discounted first week trial period.
Stop by one of these locations to get crafty in Austin!