OUR RETAIL SHOP IS OPEN THURS-SAT 11AM-5PM AND SUN 12PM-5PM!

Get to Know Our Team + Our Spring 2022 Favorites

Pei Sim


Get to Know Our Team + Our Spring 2022 Favorites

While it feels 100% like Summer here in Austin, it's technically still Spring and we wanted to give y'all an insider peek at some of the a-MAY-zing stationery in our shop! 

I always love finding new stationery for y'all and it's extra exciting when our team is just as excited - that's how I know it'll fly out our doors :)  In case you are new around here, this blog post is perfect since you'll get to know a bit about our team while seeing what some of our current favorite goods are!

Pei

Favorite Color: Currently it’s lilac/lavender

Favorite Season: Winter (Christmas!)

Hobbies: Naps

Fun Fact: I was born in Singapore and am a citizen there! I also still have a crush on Justin Bieber

I love all pens but lately, this pen has been my favoite! A pro-tip is to swap out the ballpoint ink inside for the gel refill! I am also a big fan of this pen and pencil storage container; it’s actually in my bag right now!

Pei’s Favorites:

Card: Lucky Horse Mushroom 

Pen: Ballograf Ballpoint Pen

Notebook/Notepad: P+CP Plant Doodle Weekly

Office Supply/Desk Supply: Penco Pencil Case

Wild Card: Shop Small Sticker

Anna

Favorite Color: Sea Foam Green

Favorite Season: Fall

Hobbies: Watercoloring, drinking coffee, listening to music

Fun Fact: I have had chronic hiccups since high school.

I love adding pops of color to my desk! This swirl pad is inspiring and helps keep all of my notes in one place. I enjoy writing with the artline pens because of how smooth, sleek, and cute they are. It’s hard to choose just one color! These scissors are also useful for all sorts of small craft projects and they’re easy to store!

Anna’s Favorites:

Card: You Are the Reason I Believe in Love 

Pen:Leuchtturm Drehgriffel Ballpoint 

Notebook/Notepad: Moglea Swirl Pad 

Office Supply/Desk Supply: Acrylic Gold Scissors

Wild Card: Trinket Dish

Meg 

Favorite Color: Olive Green

Favorite Season: Fall

Hobbies: Going to the movies, embroidery, watercolor, lettering + illustrating on my iPad, and playing Stardew Valley

Fun fact: My husband and I drove to the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado. We had never done anything like it before and it was a really cool experience!

I love this task pad because it keeps all my daily to-do’s in one place! These pens are some of my favorites because of the minimal look, the fine tip, and fade-proof ink, and bonus: the curated color palettes are super fun! This washi tape is my go to for sealing my snail mail, hanging up art prints, and taping notes inside my notebook or planner.

Meg’s Favorites:

Card: You Deserve All The Nice Things

Pen: Emott Pen Set

Notebook/Notepad: Shorthand Task Pad

Office Supply/Desk supply: MT Washi Tape

Wild card: Postage Candle

Aislinn 

Favorite Color: Yellow

Favorite Season: Fall

Hobbies: reading, writing, embroidery, knitting, crocheting, random crafting, and eating anything seafood or pasta

Fun Fact: I wrote my first novel in high school and my first play in college.

 

I’m very picky with my planners but found that this undated one works so well for me! These pens are also great for everyday writing or color-coordinating tasks in my planner. The magnetic storage pouches have no limit of use; one of them holds my important adult papers and another one keeps all my stickers together!

Aislinn’s Favorites:

Card: You Did It 

Pen: Sarasa Vintage

Notebook/Notepad: The Completist Weekly Planner

Office Supply/Desk supply: Storage Pouch

Wild card: Plant Stamp Washi tape

Have you used any of these or already own some of this? Tell us what's your favorite and why in the comments! 

p.s. Having to choose just a few things was so hard! Now we understand the tough decisions you have to make when you come into our shop ;) 

Team Staycation: 5 Creative Team Building Activities

Pei Sim


Team Staycation: 5 Creative Team Building Activities

What’s better than trust falls and awkward team building activities?

Pretty much anything else! I felt like we were long over for a team retreat since our team has grown so last month, I hosted our first annual team retreat! I thought it would be a fun opportunity to get to know each other outside of the shop, think grown up version of a sleepover and with crafty themed activities, oh and of course food and snacks!

It really doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was the lone employee and worked every day by myself before slowly adding one person, to now (as of the date of this blog post publication) a team of 4 (including me). Our team feels like so much more than just employees or retail associates, these women feel like a part of the shop beyond just work. They keep the shop running day-to-day as well as ensure every single person walking through our door gets the very best experience! I firmly believe in investing in the people who invest in you, or in this case your small business. This getaway was a small way to treat them to a mini vacation!

I found a cute rental house near the shop and took this as an opportunity for some team building exercises and a much needed “get-away” for relaxing and self-care. From single word activities to paragraph scenarios and even painting,  it was really great to discover similarities and cohesiveness within our individual personalities.  

Top 5 creative ways to connect as a team + small business:


  • Team Building Activity #1: Word Clouds 

  • A lot of larger corporations do this! Instead of voicing the words, we set a timer and wrote down all the words that personally resonated with us before going around the room to share what we wrote. We all shared words that we wanted to associate with our team, as well as the shop. Supportive, trusting, and comfortable were among the words we shared with each other while comforting, inspiring, and oasis were used for the shop. 

    Take it up a notch: Instead of using a generator online, you can design it using handlettered fonts to create an art piece for all the participants!


  • Team Building Activity #2: Your Best Day Ever 

  • I’m a big fan of writing down a “vision” or your ideal day. In this case we focused on a day at the shop. Start out by writing a couple of sentences about how you want your work environment to feel, how you want to feel around your coworkers and, of course, write about how you want every guest to feel in the shop. 

  • Team Building Activity #3: Draw-Your-Team

  • Getting to know your team through doodling! With the help of markers, colored pencils, pens, and more, each of us took a piece of paper and drew a little picture of what the person to our left reminded us of. You rotate papers every turn until your’s comes back to you. At the end of it, we all got a little collage of doodles that represented us in each other’s eyes. Everyone had the opportunity to share and elaborate on why they drew the different doodles for each person.

  • Team Building Activity #4: Group Abstract Painting

  • Start with piece of watercolor/mix media or thick paper and an assortment of paints and brushes. Give everyone a minute to paint whatever they want on their paper with the intention that everyone is going to paint the same strokes and shapes on every piece. The goal is to create art together and at the end of the exercise, you will have multiple (almost identical) pieces of art. 

  • Team Building Activity #5: Clay Play!

  • Using ovenbaked polymer clay, everyone pieced one color to mold into a small shape or charm for each person on the team.  Once baked, the clay cures and each person will have a set of clay charms that represent every person on the team. 

    Tip: Simple shapes are easy and fun - use toothpicks, skewers and any other every day tools. 

    These exercises (besides having fun and getting crafty) was to show that we can have our own ideas and interests but also bring them together to make something just as great. We all produce things differently but that’s why each person has something to offer to the team and each other.  And of course, there was a lot of laughter and conversations that helped us all get to know each other better. 

    A few other fun extras: 

    I got everyone matching sweatpants as well as matching gel nail clings + face masks - naturally I forgot to snap a photo of all of us in our cozy sweats!

    In addition to spending time at the rental for our team building activities, we also ventured around town together and ate some delicious food from a few locally owned spots in Austin:

  • Huckleberry Seafood Truck: A bit of everything did the trick for us because everything on the menu is delicious. From Shrimp Po’ Boys to a Seafood Platter, we were full and happy for the night.
  • Dolce Neve: Their S. 1st location is tucked inside a cute little bungalow and we all enjoyed some delicious gelato! Because there's always room for dessert! 
  • Josephine House: We checked out of our airbnb and ended the morning over brunch. This charming spot in the Clarksvile neighborhood has both indoor and outdoor seating plus a small menu. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast before wrapping up our retreat!

  • I’m so glad we got to take this little trip together and have a day where we were able to hang out and do things aside from work. Because we’re a small team, it’s so important to me that we are always functioning together and checking in with one another on how things are going. This trip was a great way to connect with each other personally while also sharing our goals for the shop. It was also a great way to show the girls some of my favorite food places as well as to our first ever shop location off of 6th street (a couple of the girls on our team joined after we had moved)! 

    So, in case you are looking for some fun alternatives to team building or just want to check out a few new local spots, I hope you enjoyed this post!



    2022 Lunar New Year Festival: Year of the Tiger

    Pei Sim


    2022 Lunar New Year Festival: Year of the Tiger 

    Last month we hosted our first ever Lunar New Year festival alongside Kathy Phan. We sat down to plan this community event in the Summer of 2021 after we identified a gap and need for a Lunar New Year celebration within the East Austin creative community. Our goal for the event was to showcase Asian-owned small businesses while carving out a space to celebrate Asian culture.

    Our First Annual Lunar New Year Festival In East Austin

    On February 6th, we got to ring in the new year with over 20 other Asian-owned small businesses and 1500+ attendees from our community here in Austin. This festival was important to me because it was a fun way to celebrate the Year of The Tiger and also an opportunity for those who are unfamiliar with this Lunar New Year to learn about this culturally important celebration. Although it’s commonly referred to as the Chinese New Year, a more inclusive term in the U.S. is to call it Lunar New Year as this holiday spans various countries and takes many different names, including: Seollal in South Korea and Tết (or Spring Festival) in Vietnam. 

    A portion of our vendor fees went directly to benefit the Austin Asian Family Support Services which is an amazing nonprofit organization created for helping Asian families in our city.

    In addition to our vendor market, our festival consisted of kid-friendly activities including a specially crafted coloring sheet designed by Steffi Lynn, a book reading of “E is for Egg Tart” by the author/illustrator, Jessica Lam, an interactive aerial set up by our neighbor Sky Candy and last but not least, the amazing lion + dragon dance performance by members of the Texas Dragon/Lion Dance Team.

    The overwhelming response leading up to this event showed both Kathy and I just how important it was for not only the Austin community but to all the amazing vendors. Many of our vendors shared that it was a memorable event for them as it was the first time they have been at an event where they were showcased alongside so many other Asian-owned small businesses. Our vendors felt represented and had so much pride in getting to be a part of this event; many told us it was their best market and pop-up to date.  It felt really special to co-host an event that allowed our vendors to feel such a sense of pride with their heritage and culture as well as for our community to be a part of. The importance of supporting small businesses doesn’t end with our event, check out our 2022 Lunar New Year Festival vendor line up below and go give these incredible women your support!   

    2022 Lunar New Year Featured Vendors 

    A Huge Thank You

    We are so incredibly grateful for all of you who showed up to our festival, it was by far our biggest attended event to date! We couldn’t have done it without our amazing shop team as well as volunteers. Our vendors who took a chance on this first event, local friends, influencers and media who shared about this event as well as Stef Shapira with Stef Shapira Consulting who supported us with marketing this festival!

    And last but not least, our neighbors + fellow small businesses at Springdale General who celebrated with us!

    Next Year’s Plans

    Kathy and I have already met to regroup post festival and have made all the notes for our 2023 plans. We hope you had an amazing time at our first annual festival and we cannot wait to continue this annual tradition for years to come! 

    2022 Lunar New Year Festival Photos 

    All photos by Kelly Zhu Photo


    Small Businesses I'm Loving: 2021 Gift Guide

    Pei Sim


    Small Businesses I'm Loving: 2021 Gift Guide

    Tis the season to shop small!

    I don't know about you, but I'm the kind of person who shops all year long and squirrels away little gifts for friends + family. It feels a little more intentional when something I come across any time of the year feels like it belongs to someone I know vs. the rushed or hurried fervor that comes with shopping only during the holidays. 

    A fringe benefit of living in Austin as well as hosting pop up markets at the shop is that I pretty much get to shop small in a very convenient way! 

    I'm going to share a quick list of small businesses I personally supported this year both for gifts as well as for myself :) 

    • This large cozy candle and this one both by 7th Street Candle Co. I love their all natural ingredients plus these scents are wintery without being too overwhelmingly Christmas. 
    • I snagged a pair of these handmade earring studs as a holiday gift for a friend by Ashdel.
    • I loved this crossbody leather bag in this color by Purse & Clutch but opted for the black leather because of tiny toddler hands. It'll be the perfect on-the-go, handsfree bag when we travel in a couple of weeks 
    • I got this plant propagation station from Awkward Auntie for myself :)
    • This baseball cap from Frankie Jean is going to be a really cute gift for one of my cousins. 
    • This sticker and this one from Kathy Phantastic are going to be cute little stocking stuffers this year. 
    • I have been eyeing these mini paintings from Little Green Press and got one of her cards for a plant loving friend. 
    • Got more than one of these pins from Meg Ya Look because I know of someone who would love this and also needed one for myself. 
    • Snagged another pair of earrings as a gift from Chauncey & Co Co plus this cute sticker for P 
    • Got a print is going to go in our upstairs guest loft and had a hard time choosing just one because all of Pen & Stem's art prints are beautiful 
    • I picked up a similar wall hanging from Flourish Fiber Art as a gift for someone who is expecting a new baby and also got P a minimal white + gold one. Her keychains would be sweet friend/co-worker gifts! 
    • Every Texan needs these postcards by Mazapan Paper Co. They're so cute!
    • I got this cute pouch by Brit Drot for P, she's been into rocks + crystals lately and it's perfect for corralling them in one place plus it's cute! 
    • Almost every year, someone I know will get some felt flowers from Zella & Kay as a gift. I love that they are everlasting and handmade by quite possibly the best human on earth.
    • Jollie Ollie makes some of the most fun stationery and other home/every day goods - I got some pins, an ornament and a cute enamel mug. Her shop is closed now but bookmark it to check out next year!
    • I got some of WatercolorATX's stickers and pretty much all of her watercolor stationery and prints would be amazing holiday gifts!

    Some other small businesses I love:

    • In addition to collecting mugs (Evan says we have too many but what does he know?), I also apparently enjoy collecting well made wood charcuterie boards. I got this one from Post Oak Carpentry and it's made by 1/2 of the sweet couple who have been writing/sending cards from our shop to each other over serval years. 
    • For everyone who loves self-care and is interested in natural ingredients, Sam Wish is my favorite go-to for all the things. I swear by this essential oil blend when I'm feeling under the weather. 
    • I've been "accidentally" collecting Eliana Bernard's miniature pottery and ceramic pieces over the past year and let me tell you what a happy accident that has been. So of course I got one of her mini tile ornaments
    • Maisie & Willow Fiber made some really sweet holiday ornaments. Got one for P's Christmas tree this year!
    • I love my Settle Ceramics latte mug so so so much. It's something that I use specifically around the winter months and it just feels extra cozy when I'm drinking coffee! 
    • I've been eyeing this truly aesthetically pleasing wood board for so long and was so excited to finally get one for my self during the studio tour from Warwood Made

    While this list is by no means comprehensive or exhaustive of every single small business I love and support, I'd like to think it's a good starting point for anyone looking to discover some new small business brands. 

    And maybe I'll make a goal to make a larger list. Possibly before the month of December. #goals

    p.s. I can assure you with 100% certainty that these small businesses (myself included) and even those not mentioned, are so beyond grateful for your support, purchases and orders. Every single day but especially during this holiday season! 

    So if you’re still looking for a few last minute holiday gifts, just scroll up and click on some of those links and you’ll likely find just the perfect thing ❤️

     

     

    Recipe Share: Chicken & Dumplings

    Pei Sim


    Easy Chicken & Dumpling Recipe

    I know this may be a bit out of left field for a paper shop but if y'all have been following along, you know the the second thing I love after paper is probably food. I love sharing food with y'all and every fall + winter, it feels just right to usher in the cooler temperatures with my favorite recipe! 

    I learned how to make this years ago, in college while living in my sorority house. Our house cook would make this for us pretty regularly and before I graduated, I asked her to show me how to make this. It's a bit of an adaptation of her OG recipe but just as good! 

    This recipe yields a pretty large pot of delicious food and while I'm not a recipe or food blogger, I feel like the simple ingredients and recipe is perfect for anyone wanting some comfort food this winter! This is also something Evan requests when it's cold or he doesn't feel well and I'm pleased to report that it's even approved by P (Yay! 2 year old approved) 

    I also love making this and taking over to friends who are under the weather as it's easy too divvy up into 3-4 Tupperwares for easy reheating. 

    Hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do in our home! And if you do make this, let me know what you think!  

    Ingredients:

    1 rotisserie chicken (shredded) 

    1 large can of cream of chicken condensed soup

    1 large container of chicken broth (option to add more)

    2 tablespoons butter

    3-4 celery stalks chopped

    2 cups frozen peas and carrots (you can use fresh if you want)

    2 large cans of canned biscuits 

    1 tablespoon garlic powder

    1/2 tablespoon onion powder

    Pepper to taste

    Parsley to finish

    Instructions: 

    Heat a medium sized pot and melt butter. Add celery, peas and carrots to sauté. Add garlic powder and onion powder. 

    Keep the temperature medium to low. Add in cream of chicken soup and mix well. Combine with chicken broth and stir well to bring to a slow rolling boil 

    *It's important to let the contents of your pot comet to a boil before you do the next step! 

    Open the can of biscuits and cut each biscuit disc into 1/8 pieces. This doesn't have to be perfect. 

    Add them in slowly and stir gently. 

    Allow everything to boil for about 20 minutes on low to medium heat. Add pepper to taste. 

    Add in the shredded chicken and allow to warm for another few minutes. 

    Serve and top with parsley!  

     

    The P+CP Kickstarter Project

    Pei Sim


    The P+CP Kickstarter Project

    Hi paper friends! 

    It's wild to think it's now been 6 months since our Kickstarter campaign went live. It both feels like an eternity ago as well as just like it was yesterday. 

    So much has happened since April -  but most notably, we packed up our shop and moved into our new space! 

    But before I get ahead of myself, I felt like I needed to find a moment to pause and reflect back on this incredible show of support for our community. Because it's so special to me and will hands down be one of the top 5 events of my small business career. 

    If you need a little refresher or reminder, you can check out the campaign here where you can view some of the videos that explain more about why I decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign and a lot more details about the experience of trying to keep a small business alive through a global pandemic. 

    I went back and forth about hitting launch for a week or so because it feels hard to ask for help. It feels scary and vulnerable to put yourself out there, in this case, in front of a lot of you who I feel like I know but have never actually met. I did some research aka Googling and found out that most successful campaigns run for 30 days. So I did a 30 day campaign. I had mapped out a loose timeline of how we would talk about the campaign via social media as well as to our in-store guests in the hopes of getting this project funded. 

    I felt confident that I would be able to rally our community during the 30 days to meet our goal. I enrolled some small business friends who agreed to help talk about our campaign. I scheduled a few newsletters and Instagram posts but that was really the extent of the "plan". I ditched the pressure and stress of spending hours on marketing and content years ago. Turns out it didn't make me happy, and what makes me happy is genuinely showing up for ya'll through the products we stock our shelves, chatting with ya'll in person (and in DMs), and honestly, posting whenever I wanted to or felt like it. 

    At midnight when I hit launch, names started popping up almost immediately. Perhaps a mixture of being sad I stayed up so late (lol) and also genuine bewilderment that some of y'all also stayed up late, knowing that I wasn't alone in that moment felt really special. And truly, I have not felt alone through this past year and a half with our incredible team and each and every one of you who have given me so much hope. 

    I closed my laptop and tried to get some sleep before I'd have to wake up with P. And low and behold, woke up to see we were more than half way to our campaign goal. The rest of the day felt like a blur. We met our goal of 15k in less than 12 hours. And it didn't stop there, we doubled our goal in 24 hours. 

    It still feels surreal and still feels very tender in my heart to think back on what I felt during that day. The immense love for our shop and the incredible show of support will forever stir up emotions for me. And I hope it never goes away because I never want to forget it.

    Reaching the kickstarter goal and surpassing it has given me space to exhale a breath I didn't realize I had been holding since March 2020. It's taken a literal, physical weight off my shoulders to know I don't have to do this alone.

    With our community's support and love, I was able to move the shop. The $ raised continues to be treated with a lot of care as I allocate it within the business because I know it's your hard earned dollars. And I want to honor that. 

    So far the Kickstarter funds have gone towards: 

    Our new beautiful store front window vinyls

    Hiring Corey (our muralist) to paint our iconic mural 

    Building out more card wall shelves in our new space

    Building out our pen wall shelves

    Purchasing our rewards products

    Adding new artists and designers to our shop

    Expanding our product offering in our shop + online

    Growing our small, all-woman team 

    Just to name a few things...

     

    Whether or not you were able to contribute to the campaign, the fact that I have the absolute honor of calling this small business my job is not lost on me. Beyond the stationery, I love having a door (a physical door you can walk through) because it's been a life changing way of allowing me to meet so many of y'all.

    And I cannot wait to continue to be your favorite little paper shop in Austin (and beyond!)

    xo, Pei 

    Here are a few peeks at some of our rewards :)