It’s no secret that downtown Dartmouth has been steadily evolving over the last few years with more creative options for shopping and dining popping up, keeping locals happy in their own hood. One of the latest offerings is Kept Gifts & Housewares, which opened in September on Portland Street. On a sun-drenched November afternoon, I took a trip across the harbour to check out the new boutique and stroll on the other side.
Business partners Alexandra Sims and Charlotte Jewer had been dreaming of opening their own shop for a while now and finally decided to take the plunge. I was impressed to see that Kept was bustling with customers on what I had assumed would be a quiet weekday afternoon and overheard a few ladies saying that this was their “favourite new shop” (no exaggeration). It didn’t take me long to figure out that I was in my type of place. The simple yet thoughtfully decorated boutique offers a mix of locally sourced and internationally selected pieces. Unique pillows, throws, prints, candles and furniture are sure to please discerning homeowners looking for finely-crafted, artistic pieces. There’s also a lovely selection of edgy jewellery (Dreamboat Lucy, Moonlight for Violet) and amazing knitted Kin headbands and infinity scarves, leather goods, quirky cards and handmade toys.
Jewer tells me that the name of the boutique has a simple meaning but one they hope will resonate with today’s consumers.
“We want to offer things that people will appreciate for a long time,” she says. “Everything in the boutique is carefully selected, well-made and beautiful. We hope to offer items that our customers will cherish.”
This theme is not lost on me as I end up shopping despite my plan just to browse. I have to say that Kept is a wonderful option for Christmas shopping as you can close in on a wide demographic (men, women, friends and children). I swoop up a lovely dark leather passport holder from local collection Drifter leather goods, which could actually be a sweet present for several men in my life. Since I have an affinity for stamps and making wrapping paper and cards, I can’t help but pick up a nautical themed hand-carved anchor stamp locally made by Union Studio Stamp Co. I also snap up a simple purple feathers printed card by Halifax artist Kate Mitchell, with an old friend’s upcoming birthday in mind.
It’s always fantastic to discover a new shop brimming with creative and one-of-a-kind gift ideas, especially in a burgeoning, hip neighborhood. They’ve got the right idea in the right location and if the steady stream of customers is any indication, Kept won’t be a well-kept secret for long.