Since owner Lynn Ritchie first opened A’Mano’s doors in 1998, Birmingham residents have looked to the art-forward boutique for distinct, handcrafted, high-quality items. Lynn calls it a “lifestyle gallery,” where there’s a little something for everyone. Whether you’re shopping for a holiday gift, home goods, dining ware, stylish accessories, hilarious cards, paper goods, kids’ items and clothing, coffee table books, bridal gifts or unique art, this gem in the heart of Mountain Brook is known as the go-to spot for charming, unique finds.
Until last year, locals could find this vibrant boutique nestled amongst the shops of the beloved Mountain Brook Shopping Center. Now, A’Mano has relocated to the new Lane Parke to a larger, gallery-like space, flooded in natural light that perfectly highlights their signature artisan pieces. It’s easy to spend hours browsing the intricate details of every piece in this store. And it’s nearly impossible to leave without a few hand-wrapped gifts — and perhaps a little treat for yourself — in tow.
Meaning “by hand” in Italian, the word “A’Mano” captures the essence of the store’s items — one-of-a-kind handmade goods and artisan-quality pieces. Whether you’re searching for contemporary styled ceramics or delicate gold jewelry, it’s all here. Much of the meaning behind these pieces are the stories of the artists who created them, and many pieces are accompanied by small cards telling those stories and making the customer feel more connected to the art. In curating the store’s selection of merchandise, Lynn ensures that she’s showcasing gifted artists, from both Alabama and across the nation. She visits art shows and markets across the country to curate her collection. “I am always trying to bring things to the store that are not in other shops around town,” she says. “This has set us apart.”
While she admits that juggling trips to national markets and art shows is challenging, the benefit of featuring great artists is worth it. For example, Lynn notes, “We are proud to be the Birmingham showcase for Orbix Hot Glass from Fort Payne, Alabama. The artist Cal Breed is very talented.” While serving as a platform for artists across the state, A’Mano also features local creations from artists just a few miles away, like Mary Lembke from Vestavia, who builds nativity sets from white clay — a perfect gift for the season!
This focus on quality artisan work has helped A’Mano develop a loyal customer base. Although the 20-year-old shop is now a Birmingham staple, there is nothing predictable about this store — other than its high-quality charm. A’Mano is dynamic and community-focused, changing based on the latest designs, seasons and featured artists. This energy keeps guests delighted, and even amused at times. Lynn says, “It is not unusual to see someone laughing for 15 minutes in our card department!”
After celebrating a year in the new space, A’Mano still has so much to look forward to. In fact, a motivating factor behind choosing this new location is to allow room for parties, book signings and private events. The store currently has two exciting book signings on the calendar for November and December. On December 19, A’Mano will host Elizabeth Heiskell’s signing of her new cookbook, What Can I Bring? A native of Oxford, Mississippi, she is a top food contributor on “The Today Show,” and her book has been named one of the top 10 cookbooks of the season. If you can’t make it to the signing, be sure to stop by the Holiday Open House on November 30 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Everything in the store will be on sale, just in time for holiday shopping. If you have trouble wrapping — no worries. A’mano offers complimentary gift wrap, shipping and delivery. Lynn adds, “We sell many things from our Instagram account and are always ready to take an order.”
In a time when mass-produced merchandise is overwhelming, stores like A’Mano that support distinctive craftsmanship and one-of-a-kind artistry are refreshing and necessary. Birmingham is lucky to have Lynn Ritchie at the helm of this community-focused treasure, bringing a thoughtfully curated collection of high art, handmade crafts, jewelry, clothing, decor and fun-loving finds to the Magic City.
A’Mano is located in the Park Lane development in Mountain Brook Village at 281 Rele St., Birmingham, AL 35223. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m to 5 p.m.; closed Sundays. For more information, call (205) 871-9093 or visit amanogifts.com.
This article is sponsored by A’Mano.