PaperTalk: Celebrating the Charm of Paper

PaperTalk is one of my favourite, favourite places in Beijing. Nestled in Fangjia Hutong (方家胡同), this adorable shop specializes in paper products and specialty papers from all around the world. It is all very fitting considering that paper was a Chinese invention.


Proprietor Haiyi is passionate about paper, and PaperTalk is a perfect platform for her to share that passion with others. Not only is paper the star of the show here, the shop itself is a serene and whimsical place bursting with warmth and charm, inside and out. For instance, in the summer, the small terrace also serves as a container garden for herbs and flowers. I admit to being easily seduced by just about any store with a container garden outside!

Inside PaperTalk.

A bust of Chairman Mao, wearing a red scarf in the style of the Young Pioneers, reigns over this little corner.

Beautifully designed notebooks.

Paper from Korea, Japan, Thailand, Tibet, and of course, China, is used to make bags and other products.

Paper from Korea.

Haiyi also creates custom paper products, particularly for weddings. When I visited her, she was busy making lucky draw boxes for the many company Chinese New Year parties that are going on this time of year.

Haiyi working.

Handmade paper bags.

My main reason for going to Paper Talk is to pick up a copy of my favourite magazine, Little Thing. If you can read Chinese, and you are a young woman who loves indie, DIY, and the Etsy school of design-in other words, if you are me–then you’ll also love this magazine.

Every few weeks, I savour the experience of tripping down Fangjia Hutong, going to PaperTalk, chatting with Haiyi, and then picking up the latest issue of Little Thing. Sure, I could subscribe to the magazine and get it delivered to my mailbox, but it just wouldn’t be the same. PaperTalk is one of the few places in Beijing where you can pick it up, and it is so popular that Haiyi maintains a mobile phone list to notify readers when a new issue comes in.

Little Thing at PaperTalk.

If you’re feeling thirsty after contemplating which adorable notebook to buy or after perusing Little Thing, PaperTalk also serves coffee and a small selection of drinks.

Visit PaperTalk at:
12 Fangjia Hutong
(010) 8403-8935
Blog (Chinese only)

More beautiful notebooks on sale.

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3 Comments on "PaperTalk: Celebrating the Charm of Paper"

  1. hawberries & kumquats
    24/02/2011 at 11:03 pm Permalink

    Oh I love beautiful notebooks and paper! I definitely have to check this place out – I used to come to this neighborhood quite a lot when I lived in Andingmen.

  2. Francesca
    19/04/2011 at 6:58 pm Permalink

    My name is Francesca , and I am a student in London. For my final year I am studying women’s identity online and offline.
    I am interested in seeing how women represent themselves online and the comparison to their offline surroundings. Inspired by a photographic exhibition at the Tate Gallery, London, I am writing to ask you to send me a photograph of the place that most inspires you to write on your blog. This space can be anywhere from your bedroom, your office/workshop to a garden or by the sea.
    The idea is that these spaces reflect who you are, even if you don’t make it public!

    I would appreciate it greatly if you were able to help me by taking the photograph and emailing it back to me, with a short paragraph of why you have chosen this place.
    I will use the images to post in my own blog – and some may be prints to present for the graded work.
    Please visit my blog which explains in greater detail what I am attempting to achieve here, and an example of my own creative space.

    Thank you

  3. M
    27/04/2011 at 5:33 pm Permalink

    Where have you gone?

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