A.mano Brooklyn, a ceramics and home decor shop near Atlantic Terminal, celebrated its one-year anniversary earlier this month with an open house reception where guests were treated to cupcakes, drinks and custom bag orders amongst an array of locally-made ceramics and other dazzling holiday gifts.
On Nov. 17, Katherine Wells, who opened A.mano’s brick and mortar shop in 2021 after first entering the commerce world online, whirled around her colorful shop in a shimmering gold and silver jacket chatting with employees and guests as they shopped.
“This has been a multi-year-long journey despite only opening one year ago,” Wells said before diving into A.mano’s origin story.
As a member of Brooklyn Clay, the ceramics studio next door, Wells would regularly pass the then-empty storefront on her way home after pottery classes.
“I would walk past and think, ‘Somebody should open a store in there and sell all that beautiful stuff they make in Brooklyn Clay.'”
Little did Wells know, she would eventually become that somebody.
After setting up her LLC in February of 2020, Wells hit a wall, as almost all small businesses did, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. But it wasn’t all bad, she admitted.
“It was like we were moving in slow motion,” said Wells. “Everyone wasn’t racing to get things installed or demanding things, which was nice.”
Wells now features multiple Brooklyn-based ceramics artists in her shop who she either met through Brooklyn Clay or other pottery ventures, as well as a few out-of-town best sellers.
“I’ve always wanted to keep it as local as possible,” said Wells.
And while local ceramics artists are A.mano’s focus, Wells collaborates with and features artists of different mediums, too, like Julie Mollo, a handbag maker.
Mollo said she began her eponymous accessory brand in her Pratt dorm room 14 years ago.
“I was making stage-wear at Pratt for clients like Katy Perry,” she said.
After Mollo shifted her focus to handbags, she saw her business boom.
“I’ve sold 60,000 clutches in six years.”
In collaboration with A.mano, Mollo offered special custom orders to clients shopping during the anniversary party.
With the holiday spirit palpable in the air, customers giggled as they perused goofy gifts like a “Die Mad About It” mug and an eggplant emoji clutch purse, while others admired more understated holiday tableware made especially for A.mano.
Wells’ personal connection to the community and clear passion for ceramics were obvious as she chatted with repeat customers and friends she hadn’t seen in months.
“My goal has always been to support local, working artists,” said Wells.