Posted: March 15, 2012
Halifax is without question the social and economic centre… and let’s be clear, a girl can do some load of shoppin’ in that city too (and I have).
Yes indeed I love a great retail experience - so when I heard the buzz surrounding a cool new boutique - I was more than excited to check it out.
Inkwell Boutique & Letterpress Studio opened its door on May 24th, 2011 and then quickly went on to be named Best New Store for 2011 by readers of the Coast newspaper last November.
It’s a stellar achievement for St.John’s, NL native Andrea Rahal who is Owner, Curator and Designer of the lovely spot.
Her settling in Halifax, after growing up all over Canada and the US, came about 15 years ago and is thanks in great part to her time at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) from which she earned her degree in Design & Photography.
I wanted to know a bit more about this stellar stationery store with so much more – so I went to the lady in charge of it all. What follows is my Q & A, as they say, with Andrea Rahal.
SABS: I always love to start with the name...why did you decide upon Inkwell?
Andrea Rahal: I struggled for some time with a name for the combined shop and studio. To be honest, I was reading (somewhat absentmindedly) through an older issue of Uppercase magazine, that we actually now carry in the shop, and the word jumped out at me from an article. I think it encompasses the nature of the shop very well - referencing the correspondence of letter writing with the cards and stationery as well as the letterpress printing services and the hand printed nature of the majority of the products in the shop.
SABS: From the minute you walk in...it's like a 'candy store' of stationery and beyond...there's such a vast array of wonderful merchandise - however do you find it?
Andrea Rahal: Inkwell sources hand printed paper goods and other handmade goodies from around the world. If I see something I like, I bring it in, with the hope and expectation that others will also like it.
Inkwell’s focus is definitely graphic / illustrative in nature, with lots of colours popping out from the store’s white canvas. Handmade products like limited edition art prints, note books, tea towels, tote bags, clocks, toys, pillows, mobiles, jewellery and independent craft magazines are other items that are sold in the store.
From time to time we have consignment calls, where artists can submit their work for consideration. Some of the criteria considered are space availability, current selection of product categories, price point and variety of work.
Inkwell constantly brings in new lines that I discover online - through blogs I follow or current artists sharing other artists work. Another great source is the Calgary-based Uppercase magazine.
SABS: In addition to the great stock people can see - you're also doing incredible custom work
Andrea Rahal: We do custom letterpress and graphic design jobs.
Examples of work we have done to date - business and calling cards, greeting cards, small art prints, invitations and announcements, letterhead and other personalized stationery, coasters, ornaments and bookmarks.
We are also putting a greater focus this year on producing more Inkwell products for sale.
SABS: Halifax is such a happening city - tell us what it’s like to be a part of that scene?
Andrea Rahal: The past 10 months have been really great for Inkwell and Halifax has played a large part in that - from customers embracing Inkwell with open arms, our successful grand opening in August, the fantastic turnout during Nocturne, winning the Best of Halifax award voted on by Haligonians, and the camaraderie of other independent businesses downtown.
I wouldn't have wanted to open my business anywhere else.
For more information on Inkwell Boutique & Letterpress Studio including upcoming workshops – visit their site at www.inkwellboutique.ca
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