Inkwell Boutique is a modern handmade boutique and letterpress studio with an abundant selection of specialty printed paper products and handmade delights made with love, by artists from around the corner and across the world. Inkwell also offers custom letterpress printing of personal stationery, business cards, event invitations, posters, and art prints.
Andrea Rahal started Inkwell in 2011; it has evolved into a multifaceted business that includes a retail and online store, letterpress studio, and wholesale provider.
We asked Andrea three questions so we could get to know her business better.
What inspired you to start your business? I’ve always considered myself an artist, I even have memories of being three years old and creating things! Going to art school was a natural progression for me. Both my partner Daniel and I are graphic designers and after attending NSCAD, we fell in love with letterpress and decided to get our own printing press. I always knew I would open a store that sold handmade products. I also love Nova Scotia made items, so I thought having a store where I could showcase other artists’ products alongside of my own creations, was the perfect fit. Inkwell has evolved to be more than just cards and prints, it is a multi-faceted business with a retail and online store, letterpress studio and wholesale offering.
What were you like when you were 4 years old? My early childhood was a major part of the evolution to where and what I am today. I remember vividly that I had a keen interest in books – I loved to look at the pictures and be read to. I really loved my toys, which I tended to collect and take special care of. I was quite imaginative dreaming up places and things both on my own and when playing with friends. I spent quite a lot of my time creating, drawing, colouring and painting things, often with my mother, who was very creative in her own right.
From a very early age, I considered myself an artist and it was definitely what I wanted to be when I grew up.
Even by this time, I took great pride in my individuality. In particular, I was adamant that if I did not want to do something, I would not do it. Which continues to be a philosophy today.
What do you know now, that you wish you knew when you started your business? At the business planning stage, I envisioned implementing all facets of the business (retail, wholesale, consignment and custom) right from the start and hitting the ground running with everything in place. Having been in business for over 7 years, I have learned that there are specific times when focus is required for a particular facet of the business. There's a season for everything. As a small business owner, with limited staffing and financial resources, I ultimately learned that I needed to build momentum and stability in one facet at a time, before adding another, to avoid burnout.