Paper + Craft Pantry Owner Pei Sim shares her secrets for avoiding holiday burnout as a small-business owner.

By Hannah J. Phillips, Photo by Shelly Borga, Dakota & Co. 

For Pei Sim, founder of The Paper + Craft Pantry, her business is about more than paper; it’s about people. Prior to setting up her own store in 2015, Sim’s small-business journey started in design, with her selling her stationery online and at pop-up markets. When wholesaling at national tradeshows became the logical next step, Sim opted to put her own designs on the back burner, opening a small studio on the Eastside to showcase the work of other makers and creators.

As the business blossomed, Sim moved into a new space on Springdale Road earlier this year. Surrounded by other artists, she enjoys having more space to manage workshops and display paper—and loves having more sunlight for her plants. In November, her business came full circle when she launched an in-house collection of locally printed stationery.

Apart from selling paper, Sim relishes the opportunity to support other small-business owners in her ever-popular workshops. Ranging from learning how to embroider to mastering power tools, her classes empower the featured artist and equip attendees with new skills. The events make especially popular gifts during the holidays since they combine handmade crafts with quality time. Dec. 15, the studio hosts a holiday market of local vendors that will highlight women-owned businesses and feature everything from ceramics to home goods, apothecary items and more.

With so much going on during the holidays, we asked Sim to share how she avoids burnout as a small-business owner in a busy season.


“I can be afraid of saying no when I’m worried what other people will think, but I’ve learned that I need to say no in order to be present and have a great holiday season. If you’re doing too much, something will slip.”


“I say yes to things that I don’t second-guess. If there’s even an inkling of a maybe, it needs to be a no. It’s counterintuitive, but saying no to a bunch of little things allows me to say yes to bigger things that are in line with what I want to do.”


“One example is that we are closed on Mondays and always will be. Since we’re open weekends, I need that one day to catch up, and I schedule time off the same way I schedule my work. If I’m working a ton one week and I know there are a lot of events, I will usually just pick one rather than going to them all.”


“Don’t be afraid to find other people who are doing what you’re doing and are in the same season of owning a business. It’s important to realize that you are not alone and they may offer insight that you haven’t thought of.”



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