Built in 1840 -- local art, unique décor, funky gifts, funny cards, open 7 days
Social Chair refuses to be pinned down.
The business in the historic building at the intersection of Main and Second streets might be called a gift shop. It’s certainly that, stuffed with all sorts of fun items for both kids and fun-loving adults.
But it’s also a boutique, offering trending fashion accessories, like jewelry, scarves and handbags. Home furnishings and décor? Yep. Social Chair is the headquarters for interior designer/owner Yuki Northington, so shoppers will find fanciful chandeliers, hip furniture and luxury bedding.
The synergy is palpable. And unforgettable. Social Chair has been tapped as Mississippi Magazine’s favorite shop in the state. Twice. And HGTV snagged Yuki for appearances on their Design Star series.
Yuki, who holds degrees in fine art and interior design, opened Social Chair shortly after Hurricane Katrina demolished the town ten years ago. Despite the devastation that surrounded her, she spotted a niche to be filled.
“People needed to have better local shopping options as they began to rebuild or restore their homes,” says Yuki. “At that point, they had to settle for whatever they could find in big box stores.”
Social Chair began by carrying mostly home furnishings, along with some fine antiques. As Bay St. Louis has recovered, the focus of the store changed.
“My business is evolving as the town is evolving,” says Yuki. “Now, our number one seller is jewelry.”
While the finer jewelry lines she carries make important gift-giving occasions easy, Yuki’s focusing more on trendy jewelry with accessible price points.
Locally-created Helen Marie Swarovski crystal pieces are especially popular now, sparking up everything from casual wear to formals. Prices range from $25 to $98, and since the pieces are made locally, custom orders can be picked up in just a few days. Accessories like hats, scarves and tote bags complement the jewelry lines.
Those shopping for their own homes will find furniture, tableware, and now, luxury bedding by Bella Notte. The bedding is all garment piece-dyed and made from linen, silk and velvet.
But when it comes to holiday home décor, Yuki’s built a coastal reputation for being the go-to place.
“We go over the top for the holidays at Social Chair,” she says. “People love being able to decorate for the season and make their houses even more interesting and beautiful. We’re after the “wow” factor.”
The “Red Hot” sign over Social Chair’s door would seem to confirm that. However Yuki says it’s a nod to a business that used to operate out of the same historic building, which is one of the oldest commercial structures on the coast.
“People can spend the same amount of money at Social Chair that they’d spend at a discount store,” she says, “and go out the door with a better gift that is wrapped and beautiful. And that’s a pretty hot concept.”