Local artists Kate Vallaroy and Allyson Wilmowski know that two heads are better than one, and two people with creative minds are even better.
The entrepreneurs are opening a new store called Screaming Mimi at 2718 Sutton Boulevard—the former location for O'Malley's Irish Gift Shop—early next month, specializing in unique jewelry, accessories and flower arrangements.
Vallaroy currently owns and operates Red Anvil, a jewelry and flower arrangement company. She sells her wares at St. Louis-area craft shows and teaches jewelry-making workshops out of her home.
Wilmowski started her company, Buffalo Blue, after undergoing a surprise liver transplant in college. "I realized I should do what I really enjoy," said Wilmowski, who at one time planned on attending law school.
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Screaming Mimi will feature the collaborative efforts of both women, including neckties, jewelry, custom flower arrangements and handmade, vintage wedding accessories.
They draw inspiration from using upcycled materials for their work and enjoy the "treasures" they find. "I love to save things that other people might not find interesting from going into the trash," Vallaroy said.
Vallaroy and Wilmowski plan on hosting visiting artists from St. Louis, Chicago and Tennessee to teach workshops as part of an evolving business plan.
"We're really inspired right now to nurture other people's creativity," Vallaroy said. Both she and Wilmowski are excited to have new events and products at the Maplewood location on an ongoing basis, Vallaroy added.
The artists chose to open a storefront in Maplewood because of the "safe, comfortable, small-town feel," said Vallaroy, whose children attend Maplewood Richmond Heights schools.
But that's not the only reason they selected Maplewood.
"It's a vibrant, growing area with a lot of creative people and a lot of creative energy," Wilmowski said. "It's also an open-minded community, and definitely the right place for us."
When deciding on a name, the women chose one that matches their passion. "Screaming Mimi exemplifies what our store is about: being excited, happy and creative," Wilmowski said.
Wilmowski and Vallaroy work with clients individually to create custom items, and have the ability to work with enamel, clay, metal, fabric and more. They offer regional designs for men, women and children.
"There's nothing like this anywhere around, so we are bringing something different to Maplewood," Wilmowski said. "There will be such a variety in the store, it's hard to define. All I can say is people will just have to keep coming back."
Screaming Mimi is slated to open Feb. 4.