Entrepreneurs Providing A Splash Of Colour To The Online World
Oriental Arts is an initiative showcasing Islamic art and Arabic calligraphy and its delivery to new generations living in the West.
After arriving in Canada, brothers Abdulrhman and Abdullah Tammor started working in the automotive industry. However, there was always a deep nostalgia for their job back home: printing. They knew that they wanted to introduce Arabic calligraphy and canvas printing to the Canadian market by creating their own store. So, after saving money for a couple years they were able to obtain the necessities: a printer, rolls of canvas, and framing lumber. With that, Oriental Arts began. “We’ve always felt that these products are overpriced. We wanted to produce something well-made, while remaining reasonably priced.”
Abdulrhman and Abdullah aim to provide a meld of digital and handmade arts. Making all of their products by hand, and only using the best raw materials and the finest inks in order to keep their paintings as authentic as possible.
Once COVID-19 hit and lockdowns started, Abdulrhman and Abdullah knew they had to do something to keep their store afloat. The first step? Getting their store online. “It brought on mixed feelings; a challenge and excitement.” But ultimately they knew that having a web presence would bring them more opportunities.
“The ShopHERE Program is immensely helpful. The timing was right: everyone has suffered in some way or another because of COVID-19. But it’s the small, local businesses that were hit the hardest. Giving us the chance to move from brick-and-mortar to an online platform gave us the chance to continue serving and providing for our community. It also now allows us to have a future proof business model that will allow us to thrive now and in the coming years.”
Through the ShopHERE Powered By Google Program, Abdulrhman and Abdullah were able to easily and seamlessly get their store online, with the assistance of their Coordinator. “She walked us through the entire process with explanations and motivation. [She] was so helpful. Whenever I had a question she was here to help. She helped me through the entire process.”
Abdulrhman and Abdullah created their site on Shopify for its user friendly format that allows for easy modification to their products and company information. “Having a website adds more value to your brand, and hopefully, increases sales.”
The website has helped Abdulrhman and Abdullah put all of their products into one place. “No more lengthy chats with customers on Facebook Messenger. We just send the product link and everything else is taken care of by the website.” The brothers agree that the biggest opportunity of having an online store is the fact that they can now have customers from all over Canada, and beyond its borders. They give this advice to other store owners affected by the COVID-19 pandemic:
“In these uncertain times, whether we like it or not, we have to adapt to the new situation. My advice is: build an online presence, engage with your customers, encourage them to shop local.”
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Microsoft, Facebook, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Yellow Pages and Lightspeed.
A $42.5-million investment from FedDev Ontario brought together the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Communitech, Invest Ottawa and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association to expand the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital as a response to the impacts of COVID-19 in Southern Ontario.