The BOBO Story + the Round Top Antique Fair

Mark Sage is the man behind the brand BOBO Intriguing Objects.

The story of how BOBO came to be spans two decades and multiple continents. His middle-class upbringing in Nebraska was very typical, very stationary. The intriguing part of his life – traveling the world as an antiques dealer – would await him. 
Mark earned an MBA with an emphasis in franchising and was brought on by a hair salon company. Climbing the corporate ladder, he rose to VP of International Development and split his time in Moscow and Paris opening hair salons and selling hair products and cosmetics. The Nebraska boy was living the dream, working in his field of study and seeing the world. Then the company was bought out, and his position was eliminated. He was given a severance and kept his apartment in Paris.  
Now unemployed, Mark began running around the city with his antiques dealer friends. BOBO was what they called him, “bourgeoisie bohemian,” Mark says. “They know you have some money and lead an artistic and self-employed life, so you’re bourgeois, but when they see you, you’re like a bohemian.”  
While in Moscow and Paris, Mark always enjoyed the flea markets. He would buy trinkets, bring them back to the states and sell them to friends in Atlanta where he had maintained a home base for three years before his promotion and big move to Europe. It occurred to him that he could explore doing this on a larger scale. Living in Paris, buying antiques, shipping them to the U.S., selling them in Atlanta. 
Over the years, as the Atlanta-based BOBO Intriguing Objects has evolved into mostly reproductions (about 80% of his business), the thrill of the chase is still as exciting to Mark as it was 20 years ago.

“It’s that ‘magic pill’ vocation for me,” Mark says. “What would you do if you could swallow a magic pill and do anything you wanted? Being an antiques dealer takes me to small towns in exotic places. I

 “It’s that ‘magic pill’ vocation for me,” Mark says. “What would you do if you could swallow a magic pill and do anything you wanted? Being an antiques dealer takes me to small towns in exotic places. I buy antiques each year in France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, India, Asia, Brazil, Nicaragua and Argentina – 22 containers last year alone. You are always finding something that you’ve never seen before. The people you are in contact with overseas who are selling antiques run the gamut from gypsies to royalty and everything in between. It’s simply a blast to rummage through barns and castles, to meet these people and learn their stories.”

    BOBO has been at Round Top for the last two shows, both at Market Hill. 
“For us, what sets Round Top apart from other shows is the energy, and the diversity of the people who attend the show. BOBO is primarily a wholesaler, we sell most of our antiques to businesses that resell the product. At Round Top, you’re dealing with a much more diverse crowd. It’s a party. It’s a pilgrimage,” he says. 
“It really does have a unique vibe unlike any other antiques show in the world. Plus, the area is simply beautiful.” 
Mark has spent a lot of time over the years doing just about every show, and he says Market Hill is the easiest for him as a vendor. “Level floors, wide doors, HVAC, being out of the elements. It’s all been well thought out and planned. The assortment of dealers at Market Hill is also very well curated. Paul has really chosen very nice dealers with great antiques.” 
As for special finds he’s bringing to Market Hill, he says, “I just returned last night from a two-week buying trip to Europe. I bought three containers that are going directly from Belgium to Round Top. I really don’t ‘edit’ the pieces I bring to Round Top. Cool, beautiful finds at a great price will sell in any market.” 

For more info on Round Top Market dates, click here.

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