For as long as she can remember, Michaela Flatley’s big-picture dream was opening up a space where local artists and the community could support each other.
From studying fine arts and painting in school to graphic design freelancing for the last seven years, Flatley has always had a passion for art and creating. Her latest creation? The Local Hand.
The gift shop is her dream turned reality – which she feels like happened overnight despite the months and months of planning. The storefront also doubles as a gallery space where every eight weeks, a new local artist gets to showcase their work and introduce themselves through an opening reception.
“The more artists I can support, the better,” Flatley said. “The more orders I can place [allows artists] to keep making their work.”
And for the last six months since opening up her brick-and-mortar on Dorchester Avenue, she has been doing just that in more ways than one.
The Local Hand sells locally made goods (hence the name of the store) like soaps, candles, pottery, and stationery. The shop also hosts workshops and classes for everyone to learn how to get their hands dirty and crafty.
Flatley hopes to expand the classes as well as the gallery program in the new year through things like kids’ art classes, student shows, or partnering with curators.
Community engagement and feedback have been crucial to her learning how to run her business. While it was scary to start this new chapter, it helped that it was happening right in her backyard. Being part of the Dorchester community is not something she takes for granted, and is so grateful for all the support her neighbors have shown her.
“I’ve been very overwhelmed by the support from the community in general and I just get so excited every time someone walks through the door,” Flatley said. “I still feel like I’m pinching myself a bit.”
And despite being a resident of Dorchester for three years, this is her first holiday season as a business owner in the area, and is seeing it from a different point of view.
If there was one thing Flatley could tell all of you, it’s this: shop local and shop early! Not only does it help small business owners figure out how much product they are going to have to reorder, but it helps spread revenue throughout the season as well.
With that being said…Be sure to stop by the shop at 1912-B, Dorchester Avenue, Wednesday and Sunday from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM and Thursday-Saturday 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM. Can’t make it in person? Click here to shop online (Plus, if you live within 3 miles of the store, you get free next-day delivery!)
So, go get your hands on some Local Hand pieces!