The Most Mysterious Bookstore this Side of Texas

12.20.2018 Arts & Culture
Gemma Totten
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Location: somewhere in Austin, Texas.

That’s basically all the information I could find on the shop “Dontworrybaby” when I began my research for this article. I scrolled through their Instagram, stalked their website, and even looked at tagged photos, all in hopes of finding glimpses of information about this mysterious concept. What I discovered on my search however, is that, whatever this place was, it was very much somewhere I wanted to visit. Artistic images and pun-filled comments captured my attention — part bookstore, part whatever you want it to be, Dontworrybaby is a space to watch.

Fortunately, I was able to locate founder, artistic director, and stylist Margaret Bechtold, to ask her all my pressing questions. She was amused at my struggle to define Dontworrybaby as she explained “we purposely built the brand to be a little hard to pin down — it’s meant to feel like an ever-evolving entity, and that polymathic quality is the most fun to exercise.”

After years of discussion and research, Margaret and her husband officially launched their idea this past fall with one goal in mind: “Above everything else I wanted it to be weird,” Margaret laughs.

Indeed, the space is constantly evolving. “We’ve transformed the site to host performances, drawing classes, readings, and art shows. We also only bring a portion of our stock out at any given time,” the out-of-the-box entrepreneur explains. This collaborative environment oozes creativity, which is why most of the customers are creatives themselves. “We have a really interesting and interested customer set — curious people with their ear to the ground about what’s happening in Austin.”

The biggest draw for their customers is the curated books on sale. In the age of online everything, Margaret isn’t discouraged, nonchalantly explaining the Dontworrybaby philosophy: “We can’t compete with Amazon Prime, so why not be the exact opposite? Where that’s fast, ultra-accessible, algorithmic, and sensory-sterile, Dontworrybaby is slow, secret, surprising, and high-touch.”

In direct opposition to fast-paced modern consumption, Margaret strives for “a brand experience you can really feel at home inside of, versus feeling like you’re loitering.” She shares, “We’re the antithesis of that ‘turning-tables’ hospitality mentality — here, you’re meant to take your time and hang as long as you’d like.”

It seems like this type of atmosphere has been a much-needed vibe in Austin, as many customers regularly walk in with sighs of relief at both its welcoming energy, as well as having finally found the concrete store of their dreams.

Dontworrybaby, you’re home.

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