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Good on paper doesn't always mean good in person — or good online, for that matter. But it only takes one visit to Scriptura's Web site to get a clear sense of the paper-based elegance and style that is at the heart of the business opened by sisters Margaret Jones and Sallie Arata in 1996. A boutique that sells "essential papers for artful living" and creates its own designs with in-house graphic capabilities, Scriptura makes its collection of couture invitations, fine stationery and handmade papers from around the world available online for customers across the country and internationally.

Jones acknowledges that it was very challenging to translate the ambience and classic, Old World feel of the store and its products to the Web site in a visually charismatic way.

"We found we had to do color studies. We had to put like with like and tell a story, so you can see some movement," says Jones. "You can't have just one paper. It has to work together cohesively. You'll see four items in the same color vein, each one telling a different story."

Scriptura's Web site — which is about four years old — has played a dynamic role in the sisters' business.

With an earnest desire to take part in the city's rebuilding after reopening their doors post-Katrina, Jones and Arata created a product line based on iconic New Orleans imagery. "And we did a monthly donation to local charities we were excited about," says Jones. Selling these new products online not only gave Scriptura a way to give back to New Orleans, it gave customers around the country the opportunity to do so as well.

Through it all, Jones says that couture invitations — especially wedding invitations designed by Scriptura — have been the mainstay of the business.

"[It's] what we do best," she explains, pointing out that on the Web site, "you can see all the different couture stationery for customers, reaching out to brides around the country." Scriptura, 5423 Magazine St., 897-1555; Lakeside Shopping Center, 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 219-1113.

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