Best of the Bricks: Hello Bluebird

We’re headed to Reading, PA and the stomping grounds of so many indie artists and crafters including Daisy Janie, Megan Auman, and of course Tara Gentile!  Let’s swing by Hello Bluebird and find out why owner Alex McCarty is passionate about all things handmade, the brick and mortar experience, and laying a foundation for life.

hello bluebird

Customers often ask me, “Did you always want to have a store?”  It’s a funny question for a Gemini like me, because there have been so many things I have “always” wanted to do.  I think opening this store is a wonderful realization of the many talents and inclinations I have adopted over the years.

The common theme of all of my pursuits has been a passion for cultivating relationships, helping others, inspiring meaningful living, and spreading beauty.  On the “Policies” page of our site, I outline some of the specific guidelines that I apply when jurying artists, and sum it up that we are looking for “lovely things made by good people.”  Hello Bluebird only sells items that are handmade by individuals, and products that are artist-driven, eco-friendly, or socially-responsible.

There are SO MANY beautiful things out there for shops to choose from, made in a variety of ways, but it is important to me to build my business on what I perceive to be a sustainable way of living.  No mass-produced stuff made at the expense of other peoples’ well-being, the environment, or our children’s’ future.

The greatest part of owning a shop like mine is watching my customers respond to the unique nature of handmade goods.  Not all of my customers are as keenly aware of the indie movement as many of us in this online community, but they can sense something different and special in the items they pick up in the shop.  I get to watch them connect with these products in a totally personal way, like you would react to a gift from a friend, or your grandmother.

There is just something so much more intentional and human about a handmade object.  These customers don’t always know why they feel so giddy about the pretty things in my shop–but I do!

Luckily, I have been blessed with patient vendors, a loving family, and new customers every day who seem to truly love the shop.  The best part is that each long day of hard work belongs to ME, and I am building the life I have always wanted.

Hello Bluebird is launching a dedicated workshop and class space in April!  Look for info on “NEST at Hello Bluebird” soon.  Owner Alex is encouraging her community to “Go Out on a Limb and Make Something.”

featured vendors:

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Hello Bluebird Boutique and Gallery
609 Penn Avenue
West Reading, PA 19611

11 thoughts on “Best of the Bricks: Hello Bluebird

  1. What a great shop! It sounds like Alex and I have very similar ideas… I hope to one day bring handmade to the masses with a brick & mortar boutique myself. I like the way she explains herself, her mission and her aesthetic.

  2. Gorgeous shop! I admire Alex’s vision. It shows that she is a responsible business owner and that is so respectable. She also has great taste :)

  3. What a nice little shop! I admire Alex for making the big jump of committing to a brick and mortar shop in this era of online businesses. I like how she promotes the handmade and ecofriendly. I have been toying with the idea of eventually opening my own shop and it’s stories like this one that inspire me! Thanks for sharing 😉

  4. Thanks to Khristian and Tara for featuring the shop this week! Mallory: your shop and vision have long been an inspiration to me! Gina: Thank you for “getting it.” Judit: Someday, my friend! Until then, I adore having your gorgeous jewelry in the shop! Naomi: Thank you for your compliments. It was a huge, crazy risk to open a shop, and many “wiser” folks suggested that I take the less-risky route of having an online boutique–but, truly, there is no substitute for the hands-on, real-life experience of shopping on “Main Street.” I appreciate all the that internet has done for so many artists and designers who would not have been able to take the plunge of selling otherwise, but our communities desperately need to return to small, local economies. I recommend visiting the 350 Project site ( to learn how much even the smallest efforts can pay off in keeping our unique downtown businesses alive and thriving!
    Thanks again for this feature–I hope you will all visit the site and subscribe to our updates, as we will be launching our online site for out-of-towners and our Nest class and event schedules very soon! The most exciting part of all of this is that it is truly just the beginning.

    1. Alex – You’re work and you passion is infectious and an inspiration for all artists and lovers of life. I am honored to salute what you do, your philosophy on life, your ambition, and above all your passion. Best to you on all your new endeavors and of course keep us posted!

    1. Stephanie – awww, now I’m blushing! This project is really important to me. We have to work to protect our “real” lives! It takes brave creatives like Alex to make sure we still get to use all of our senses, and experience life to the fullest!

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