Gift company + creative firm + product development While The Screaming Porch may be an unusual name for a business, the products inside this “Creative Factory” are equally as fascinating - and just as unforgettable. Many of the items – like the playful Mississippi Pickle Fork™ - are the brainchild of owner and designer Kelsey Rickenbaker-Bigelow.
The shop’s charm is even reflected in its location – a small historic gem that’s commonly referred to as the Cutest Little Building in Bay St. Louis. The weathered cypress siding is a perfect backdrop for the splashes of vibrant color that welcome visitors.
Shoppers will find lots of “Made by Hand with Love in Mississippi” creations like the signature Mississippi Pickle Fork™ and The Promised Land Church Fans™. The fan handles are repurposed silver-plated knives, while the fan itself is a vintage Mississippi map. The Pound Cake Lip Balm is another best seller, as are the vintage map egg ornaments. The shop is a gold mine for anyone looking for delightfully designed, locally made gifts.
The ideas for Bigelow’s light-hearted product line began to evolve while living in a North Carolina coastal town. She and her husband, architect Jason Bigelow, noticed that all the gift shops were filled with the same plastic imported items. When they traveled, they’d see the same items, simply stamped with a different town name. The couple began keeping a notebook of nifty ideas. When they moved back to Mississippi and settled in Bay St. Louis in 2010, the Bigelows realized the same vacuum for fun local products existed on the Mississippi Coast. But not for long.
Kelsey’s background in big league advertising and design served her well as she opened the Screaming Porch and began to produce her Made in Mississippi product line. Her products have proved to be hot commodities across the region as well and she now wholesales to shops in three states. Customers are snapping up the Unwined Candles (made in recycled wine bottles), the Hot Flash Purse Fan, and the Rocking Chair porch duster (large paint brushes with map covered handles). Brides sometimes order dozens of a single item to use as wedding party gifts.
Bigelow seemed to have hit all the right notes with her products. Not only are they locally made, they’re clever, well-designed and even environmentally-conscious. And some of them are just a wee bit naughty, like the Hot Flash fan, sure to make even the most straight-laced friend laugh.
“They’re fun to make and fun to sell,” says Bigelow. “And the person who receives the gift feels special knowing that these things are made by hand with love.”
The Screaming Porch also sells other hot designer lines like Dash & Albert’s pillows, rugs and bags. You’ll also find art produced right in the neighborhood. Photographs by Ann Madden line the walls and sterling jewelry by Sandy Maggio gleam from the cases.
But if you become one of the Screaming Porch’s many regular customers, prepare for surprises each time you visit.
“The Screaming Porch is always changing, so every time you walk in, you see something different,” says Bigelow. “If there’s one thing we strive for it’s to give people a fun experience. We want them to leave feeling more creative and inspired just from being here.”