Sponsored Content brought to you by: Letterpress PLAY

Author: Regina Pribyl

Two years after moving to the prominent South Congress Avenue, a local stationery and gift store is slowly emerging from the pandemic and making its mark as a local favorite. 

Woman-owned and led, Letterpress PLAY offers a specially curated selection of stationery products, letterpress printed greeting cards, and gifts, but that’s not what makes this little corner of South Congress unique.

So, what is making locals return to this neighborhood stationery shop time and time again? 

How South Congress Has Evolved Over Time

South Congress, also known as SoCo, is known for the diverse selection of restaurants and retailers that sit between James Street and Johanna Street. 

Even though this unique stretch of commerce attracts tourists and locals alike, on an average day you’ll find more of the former than the latter walking down this section of one of the most famous streets in Texas. 

With the growing popularity of SXSW, ACL, Formula 1, and newcomer Austin FC, it’s not hard to surmise why Austin has become a hot-ticket destination for thousands of tourists every year. Hundreds more fall under the city’s eclectic spell and make the big move to earn their Austinite badge.

What does that mean for the Austinites who have called the South Congress district home for years?

Keeping it Local: Austin’s Neighborhood Stationery and Gift Shop 

There are a lot of perks to living in the neighborhoods surrounding SoCo – there’s no doubt about that. However, the charm of this vibrant city that attracts tourists has waned for born and bred-Austinites in recent years.

Austin is a little less weird these days with the influx of visitors and the rising cost of living, and locals are making every effort to retain the remnants of what put Austin on the map in the first place.

That makes the little bungalow at the corner of W. Johanna and South Congress Avenue a memorable and cozy haven. Nestled at the end of the iconic SoCo district, it’s easy to mistake the modest house as just another residence or law office.

But step inside, and you’re transported to a world of wonder, nostalgia, imagination, and play.

Letterpress PLAY is far from the average everyday stationery shop. Founded in 2019 by Kyle Hawley, a born and bred Texas native herself, the mission of this uniquely curated retailer has always been the same: to provide creative tools for the playful mind.

When you step over the threshold of this Austin-based storefront, the hustle and bustle of South Congress instantly fades away. A Maker clad in a navy-blue apron – the signature Letterpress PLAY uniform – greets you with a friendly smile and a “Welcome! How are you today?” You’ve quite literally been welcomed into their home.

And that’s because, for the team of Makers at Letterpress PLAY, the store is more than just a place to shop. Hawley’s mission with this delightful neighborhood shop has been, and always will be, to bring the Austin community together.

Designed with both beauty and functionality in mind, this creative space is a retreat for exploration, education, and inspiration. That mission is evident throughout every room of this little stationery and gift shop. Each product has been mindfully curated with intent.

“I wanted to provide aspirational tools and objects that invite folks to engage with or gift a simple moment of joy rooted in the human endeavor of design and craft. Play is for everybody, and hopefully, we play our whole lives.” – Kyle Hawley.

Whether you’re a tourist making the rounds, a local checking off their holiday shopping list, a student in search of school supplies, or an artist stocking up on essential tools, Letterpress PLAY aims to, first and foremost, serve the local community.

The next time you explore South Congress this holiday season, venture further down to Letterpress PLAY, located at 2002 S Congress Ave, and experience this special corner of SoCo.


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