Finding Paper & Design Stores When Traveling

Dublin Creative Quarter

I love design shopping on the road.  It’s one of the best ways to see unique items I won’t find at home.

I’m always on the lookout for shops that sell stationary, gifts, goods by local artists, or well-curated home goods.  Put another way: cool stuff that I don’t have to try on.

It can be challenging to find stores that I want to visit.  If only Googling “cool design-y stores” would work!

How to Find Cool Shops When You Travel

Search your favorite crafty bloggers who travel.  There are tons of crafty ladies who travel.  I visit my favorite blogs and search for a city to see if they have any recommendations.  I found Material in London from Kelly Purkey.

Mine the websites of your favorite paper designers.  Many paper goods designers will list stores that stock their products.  Rifle Paper Co.’s stockist list is a gold mine for this — I used their list to help suss out shops when I had an afternoon to myself in Portland.  Sugar Paper also publishes a list.

I love a museum gift shop.  Museum gift shops are always so well-curated.  There’s nothing wrong with hitting up the shop if you don’t have time for the museum!  Modern art and design museums are especially good for this.

Trust the brain at Google Maps.  If you find a store you like and search for it on Google Maps in your browser, Google will show you similar shops in the area.  It’s not always perfect and works way better with restaurants, but it does help!  Note: I’ve only seen this work on a desktop browser, not on the mobile version of Maps.

If all else fails, Google it.  Sometimes I’ll search “paper store” or “stationary store” just to see what I get.  That’s how I found this great paper tour of Paris by Damask Love.

Do you have any tried and true secrets for finding good shops?  Please share!

Paper from Argentina

Argentina Paper by Natalie ParkerWhen I finally got home from Antarctica (after spending some time in Argentina), I really wondered whether getting this paper was worth it.

Was it worth carrying the roll out of the shop in over 100-degree heat and 80% humidity?

On the last day of our trip so I had to carry it around until our 11:15pm flight?

When I left it on the check-in desk at the airport and had to run back and get it?

When I had to carry it when I ran through customs, through security again, up an escalator without my shoes, and onto the plane that they thankfully held for us?

Hanging onto it while we were dealing with a lost suitcase when we got back to SFO?

I finally unrolled the paper last weekend and thought, man, was it worth all that?

Yes.

Most definitely, yes!  I had forgotten how awesome this stuff was when I bought it!  This came from a shop called Papelera Palermo in Buenos Aires.  So many cute paper products!  They even make some of the big sheets on site!*

I got this great speckled blue and this fantastic roll of gold.  I’ve been looking for just plain gold for a while.  I either can’t find it or it’s too expensive.  Now I have an entire roll of great, warm gold!  And it was less than $10!

I had my Spanish-fluent friend repeatedly confirm that this stuff was acid free and that was that!

Now I want to put gold in everything.  I have quite a few layouts that I need to post here before you’ll start seeing it show up.  I can’t wait to use it!

*Mr. P stood for a while watching the guy make the paper in the back of the store.  Really it was because that’s where the air conditioner was.  He and our friend only promised to let me have all the time I wanted in the paper store as long as it was air conditioned.