Halifax-based modern handmade gifts and cards: inkwellboutique.ca
After Andrea Rahal graduated from art school, she wanted to create a venue where she could make and sell artwork year round. So in 2011, Inkwell Modern Handmade Boutique opened its doors in downtown Halifax. It features not only her letterpress printed work and other creations, along with a variety of handmade products from artists around the world.
If you’re looking for a meaningful, handmade gift, and the perfect card to go along with it, Inkwell has plenty of options.
“We carry a variety of products that delight and inspire: art prints, pottery, stationery, apothecary and much more,” said Andrea. “We introduced food products last year, like soup mixes, chocolate bars and preserves.”
Andrea in the studio, home to two letterpresses used to create their in-house product line, Inkwell Originals.
Photo: Michelle Doucette Photography
"Art prints and greeting cards are some of the most popular items. Many of them are region-specific, so people who are originally from Nova Scotia or the Atlantic provinces can decorate their walls with prints that remind them of home."
The mix between online and brick and mortar
The business started as a brick and mortar store and their online store launched in 2015 so that shoppers further away were able to buy Inkwell’s more popular items.
Inside Inkwell’s storefront in Halifax Photo: Michelle Doucette Photography
"We’ve had the domain inkwellboutique.ca since we opened the store. It was really just a landing page until 2015. Then my partner and I hunkered down Thanksgiving weekend, and committed to getting at least 20 products up by the Tuesday."
On keeping the domain name short and sweet, they went with two keywords. “The full business name is very long, Inkwell Modern Handmade Boutique & Letterpress Studio. We felt that Inkwell and Boutique were the best descriptors to encapsulate both the business name and solidify that we are a store."
They also have the .com, which redirects to their .CA. “But our primary domain is a .CA because Inkwell is proud to be a Canadian business,” said Andrea.
Shifting focus to online sales
Due to many storefronts being forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have had to adjust. Before, Inkwell’s website brought in sales, but their physical location was their primary revenue source.
“That’s changed now,” said Andrea. “We were fortunate that we already had the online store, I just had to switch gears. Not all of our products were on the website, so we added more from local artists and in fact tripled the number of items on the site.” Check out their growing selection of handmade delights at inkwellboutique.ca
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