If you know me a bit, you know how much texture – in all forms – is just ME. Old, distressed paint on wood, chunky faux finishes, or simply crunchy fall leaves arranged in rustic bowl. You also may know that we live just 20 minutes from the famed High Point Furniture Market. And shopping at Blue Ocean Traders. Twice a year, usually in April and October, designers, independent shop owners, and huge furniture and accessory store buyers arrive from around the globe to shop like crazy for about a week. So many locals crave the chance to attend, however, it is wholesale only, meaning to the trade.
Probably 20 years ago I discovered Blue Ocean Traders in a huge warehouse outbuilding near the main market area. I walked inside, and as far as I could see, there was rusty, crusty, and peeling painted pieces, mixed with perfect accessories. At the time I owned a 15-year-old decorative painting business located in a zillion-square-foot, 100+year-old flannel mill, called Revolution Mill. My studio was like a giant spray booth, art studio, and display for my finishes and rustic painted furniture. I purchased many small Blue Ocean Traders pieces for décor, and to sell.
Fast forward a few short years and I changed the direction of my business and moved home to work from my home office and studio. Through wonderful contacts I made during time as a marketing director for a DIY paint brand I began working with small shops that sold the paint, offered workshops, and needed some assistance with the design and flow of their stores, and how to incorporate workshop areas. As well as how to buy accessories to sell.
So, I traveled to Washington, DC, Atlanta, and California to work with shop owners shopping the Las Vegas Furniture Market, the Atlanta Gift Market, and of course, High Point. At all of those markets, I found Blue Ocean Traders. Their ethnic accessories and textiles were the perfect items for a small shop to offer customers and workshop attendees. They complemented the painted furniture perfectly.
Who is the master behind the treasures at Blue Ocean Traders? Meet president and owner Jason Mulvene, below at left, with assistant TJ, short for Tall Jason. This market, Jason added a plethora of gorgeous rugs and pillows that coordinated perfectly.
Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, Jason, according to their website, “…is constantly traveling all corners of the globe in search of the most exotic, one-of-a-kind antiques and true-to-form reproductions. Blue Ocean Traders prides itself in its ability to source salvaged, reclaimed, and vintage items in quantity and produce true-to-form reproductions.”
I particularly love his company mantra that “there’s nothing more green than vintage.”
I am sort of a goofball when it comes to anything will lots of drawers. Yes, I actually stood there, contemplating how to incorporate a section of the blue lockers into our ranch home with 8-foot ceilings.
I swooned over these trays, beads, demi-johns, and fabric stamps just for our home.
During this market I was shopping not only for rugs, pillows, and small furniture pieces for an interior design client, I was on the lookout for treasures for our daughter Mia and hubby Paul’s new home.
OK, I know you are wondering about how I use Blue Ocean Traders goodies in our house. So, here you go…
In our very long, odd entry, I chose a tall and skinny natural wood cabinet with gilded lettering, a tiny cabinet that fits perfectly behind the front door, a ladder, and mudcloth textiles. All solutions to a big design dilemma for me.
Plus, kantha throws, black and white ethnic beads, demi-johns and my funky green cabinet that everyone loves everytime I share it.
If you are a designer or shop owner not familiar with Blue Ocean Traders, they are open between markets in High Point, NC Monday thru Friday for cash and carry shopping! (Check their website for more options.)
So spread your gilded wings and fly over there!
If you aren’t as fortunate as me, and live within driving distance, request this thick, gorgeously curated catalog on the Blue Ocean Traders website.
(This is not a sponsored post. I just love this place.)