PHOTOS BY JONAH LESLIE, via http://ibiki.co
This is the word that represents the latest incarnation of the store formerly known as Héritage/Inheritance Shop, Montréal. Though the location on St. Laurent Blvd. remains the same, the look and feel of the store have changed.
But the change is a very good thing.
In fact, it is with this careful, curatorial mix-it-up that ibiki store owner Jonah Leslie has built his entrepreneurial and artistic career. The modular, clean look of ibiki betrays Leslie’s current style ethos, as does his careful selection of products.
So what is ibiki?
“I didn’t want a word with a meaning,” explains Leslie in a phone interview. “If you have a shop called ‘The Purple Banana,’ that is the only thing people will think about. I wanted a word that did not inspire any inceptive thought. When you have ibiki, you don’t have anything to go on. The only thing you have to go on is what I provide for you.
“I just like the sound of it,” he adds, explaining it was a happy mistake that slipped out of a friend’s mouth while they were traveling. “It sounds foreign and exotic. You can’t really place it.”
Concrete floors, high ceilings and big windows enhance the lofty, arty ambience that Leslie aims to create. Scandinavian, Japanese and Korean products also influence the overall sense of the shop’s style, as does a new section of objects for the home and books.
It’s a noticeable departure from the cozy, clever Old Gold Boutique on Mount Royal Ave. that Leslie opened at the age of 23. Even in the beginning though, Leslie says, he thought of operating a store “as an art project more than anything.”
At Old Gold, there was no sign on the door and the store was known as much for its wacky, surrealist window displays and street parties as it was for clothing and accessories. A different spin on retail (as well as total creative control) has enabled the young entrepreneur to express his eye for style and art in many ways. “This is a business and I love fashion, but it’s also [allowed me] to travel, create window displays, curate, install art, dabble in interior decoration and make a living while doing it,” he says.
After five years of buzz and business growth, Old Gold became too small for its burgeoning stock, and in June 2011, Leslie moved to St. Laurent Blvd. While the new space was larger than Leslie could afford, the owner of the building wanted to arrange a solution. Leslie eventually borrowed money from a friend and set up the second phase of his shop.
Without a business partner and with a space five times the size of his old haunt on Mount Royal Ave., Leslie stocked, renovated and operated Inheritance season by season, experimenting with brands and pieces of furniture, and renovating on the go.
A year ago, he says, he was ready to “turn a page and finally do an official opening. I had never done an opening [for Inheritance Shop], really. I just put a key in the door and was open that day. Now I feel like I’ve perfected more of the formula I want to work with in this space.”
The revamped interior of ibiki has been open since the end of November. Find ibiki at 4357 St. Laurent Blvd., corner Marie Anne or at ibiki.co