When I was growing up, my mother often shopped at a Co-op. We were pretty poor but she always believed in the value of wholesome foods. If it was all we could afford, we would eat pb&j for dinner nightly- heavy, like rock heavy, wheat bread with homemade jam and that thick natural peanut butter that you could never really get blended again once it separated. When you bought from the co-op you knew it was natural and local.
Now that I buy my own groceries, I try to buy natural/organic/local when I can. It kills me that there is nowhere in Houston you can buy your whole grocery list and have it be inexpensive, local and natural. So, I often spend my food money at Whole Foods but I find this happening less and less these days as they bring in more and more “conventional” products- especially produce. I used to like that I could buy groceries without thinking about it. This is going to be natural, I knew. This won’t have HFCS, I was certain. Now, it’s just too much work for the price. You have to sort organic fruits from conventional ones; pay a premium for conventional foods found elsewhere cheaper; read labels to see how much science has made it in to food. I miss the small town Co-op and the ease of having a sort of no-brainer, principle based shopping experience.
Good thing Hello, Lucky is just down the street from me. I can satisfy my need (yes, need) to buy something cute- all the while knowing I am supporting artists, non profits and my neighborhood all at once.
Teresa O’Connor is an artist. Not a small artist. I mean she is small in stature, yes, but her art has always been big. She does installations, fun to watch/look at/enjoy but not so easy to take home. But people enjoy what she does and at one point she realized she did want to offer them something to take with them to remember their experience. Teresa did this by making tshirts and selling them at her installations. The tshirts were a hit and soon other artists were doing the same. It snowballed in to Teresa curating a shop she called Art Star during exhibitions in Houston and around the country. Other artists she knew who did “multiples” (i.e. things that can be recreated) would give pieces to Teresa for sale at her Art Star shop.
It was so successful that Teresa found a semi-permanent home in Retropolis on 19th Street. During the time Art Star lived and breathed at Retropolis, Teresa found selling her own multiples becoming more of a focus. She was taking her own designs and offering them at other places. She was also meeting more and more artists who were doing similar things- they were artists but also “consistent and business minded” and she thought she could work these other artists in to a more focused space.
In 2007, the time seemed just right for Teresa to make her move. “Eco-friendly” was becoming a trend, even a boom. More than ever, Joe Q Public was aware of the concepts of green, recycling, up-cycling and caring about how and where things were made. Teresa found a space for her focus in an adorable little house facing Studewood and in December ’07, The Heights was blessed with Hello, Lucky.
Currently Teresa has ~25 artists selling everything from tshirts and jewelry to home accessories and bath products in her shop. It’s a delightful hodge-podge of art and funk with a “primary focus” on being eco-friendly. Many of the artists she works with up-cycle, or re-purpose. It’s important for her that they use as many American made pieces and parts as they can find- from fasteners to ear wires. Sadly, not everything can be found from US based factories these days, but the artists are always sure that overseas suppliers are sweatshop free.
Super fun, funky handbag made from reclaimed fabrics
In addition to an eco-friendly focus, Hello, Lucky gives back to the community. The obvious is supporting artists and giving them (the majority are Texas based and several live here in our neighborhood) an outlet. The not-so-obvious is a portion of the store’s sales are donated to a local non-profit. Currently, Teresa is supporting Friends 4 Life Animal Rescue. Past organizations include our friends at Aurora Picture Show, Lawndale Art Center and Glasstire.
On top of the donations based on store sales, there is even more giving to be done. Hello, Lucky sells several items that are permanently tied to a cause. Teresa’s own “You Are Amazing” tshirts are the “official” Friends 4 Life item. Proceeds from sales will go to the organization for the life of the shirts. She is also selling a Hurricane Ike book with proceeds going to Galveston Art Center and It’s OK To Love Houston tshirts by Dean Haddock that support Spacetaker.
Top left corner, Teresa made some felt feather earrings for her vegan friends who like the look of the trend but don't wear animal. I'm not vegan, but I couldn't resist the purple/green combo and brought them home!
Teresa is open to all kinds of art and items in her shop, but she says “the individual’s attitude matters.” Your designs can be great, but to sell through her shop you have to be charity minded and compassionate as well. People like me can thank Teresa for doing all the leg work. All I have to do is buy something fun and feel good about my purchases!
Teresa, holding a candleholder her husband, also an artist, made from reclaimed wood.