Adorit
By Sue Nador

A business of compassion

Emma Inns, owner of Adorit Boutique, says that travelling to India after high school “changed my life.” Deeply affected by the plight of the Tibetans, she decided to use her own good fortune to bring kindness and compassion to others.

Emma came back to Canada to earn a degree in tourism and then returned to Tibet as a tour guide, saving her money to set up microfinance programs in Tibetan communities. “The concept was to take traditional crafts and tweak them to make them marketable to the Western eye,” she explains.

Returning to Canada once again, Emma opened a stall in the ByWard market where she could selling the Tibetans’ crafts. These items, including puppets and handbags, were made with the same felting process used to make traditional aprons for Tibetan women on their wedding day. “It was great,” Emma says, “but I realized that if I only sold Tibetan stuff I would be hungry.”

In 2007, Emma decided to expand her business and moved to a converted row house close to her original stall. She named her new boutique Adorit. “I had a vintage scarf from the ’40s with a tag: ‘Made exclusively for Adorit,’” she says. “I thought that’s such a cool name. I never want people to buy something they don’t love and won’t wear.”

Emma encourages a “less is more” sustainable mindset, selling sustainable and fair trade clothing, jewellery and handicrafts. She wants to sell only things that make customers say, “I adore it.”

I never want people to buy something they don’t love and won’t wear. - Emma Inns, owner
Adorit Boutique owner Emma Inns sells sustainable and ethically made merchandise that is fashionable and fun.
Owner Emma Inns sells sustainable and ethically made merchandise that is fashionable and fun.

Sustainable fashion

Adorit attracts locals, tourists and out-of-town professionals. “I love the mix of people we get in a day,” says Emma. While the target market is working women, Adorit also carries men’s basics like organic T-shirts and bamboo boxers. “We have a really cool line of men’s vests that are different,” she adds.
 
The store sells Canadian goods that are upcycled, recycled and made with eco fabrics such as bamboo, hemp or soy, as well as vintage pieces and clothes designed by Emma and her friends. Goods from her Tibetan communities are fair trade and ethically produced. Emma insists, “The goal of Adorit is that nothing is made by slave labour.”

Adorit’s goods are not only ethically made and sustainable, they are also fashion-forward and fun. “We have a lot of lines that are business casual but a little bit different,” says Emma. A pencil skirt dress silk-screened with a full periodic table is popular. “We sold a lot to science teachers,” Emma laughs.

Beyond the great merchandise, Adorit’s customers love the positive vibe and service. “Shopping here is like therapy for people,” Emma says. She gets many emails from grateful customers. “I just got one from someone who was having a rough day,” she recalls. “She said that our conversation changed her whole day.”

Adorit Boutique in ByWard Market sells sustainable and ethically made merchandise that is fashionable and fun.
Adorit Boutique in ByWard Market sells sustainable and ethically made merchandise that is fashionable and fun.
Photo courtesy of Adorit Boutique

Helping people at home too

Emma’s social conscience helps people in her local community too: Adorit participates in an employment program for formerly incarcerated women. The women design sweaters for dogs, made from previously sweaters for people.

“It’s really positive for the women to have interaction with animals,” says Emma. One woman tearfully told her that if they had met 30 years ago, her life would have been completely different because she never believed she could lead a happy life until now.

Emma loves running Adorit. “I just feel so lucky to wake up every day and be happy to go to work,” she says. “I think it’s because I get to be true to my values and true to my heart but also have a comfortable life.”

[Header image courtesy of Adorit Boutique]

Adorit Boutique in ByWard Market sells sustainable and ethically made merchandise that is fashionable and fun.
Adorit Boutique in ByWard Market sells sustainable and ethically made merchandise that is fashionable and fun.
Close menu
Subscribe to YP Newsletter