Beyond World Market: Global Shops You Might Not Know

Shopper's Guide

When you think of the global-import aesthetic, you might automatically imagine bamboo windchimes at World Market or faux Kuba cloth pillows at Pier 1, but not all import stores are mega-chains. There are plenty of small, independently owned shops that specialize in vintage and contemporary pieces from foreign countries, often collected during the shopkeeper's own travels.

  1. South of Market: Based out of Atlanta, this online and in-person shop was founded by interior designer Kay Douglass, who travels regularly and stocks her store with unique finds from France and Belgium.
  2. Plumo: Located in London, Plumo is a 14-year-old company (and webshop) that specializes in eclectic decor from global excursions to artisan co-ops in Europe, Africa, and Asia.
  3. Lost and Found: Former stylist Jamie Rosenthal runs this shop out of Los Angeles. A world traveler, Rosenthal sells striped towels from Tunisia, Irish linen napkins, Liberty of London fabrics, and hand-blown glassware from Mexico.
  4. Merchant_4: Cheri Caso's online shop represents independent designers, craftsmen and artisans from around the world. The aesthetic is modern, and pieces are crafted from durable, high-quality materials.
  5. The Loaded Trunk: Founded by global shopper Roni Jaco, the Loaded Trunk is an online source for textiles, artwork, and housewares. There's a really nice selection of Suzanis, Mexican bedspreads, and Herki rugs from Turkey.
  6. Tortoise: Husband and wife team Keiko and Taku Shinomoto run this Los Angeles store, which specializes in Japanese imports. Shop here for kettles, bowls, cookware, and Tenugi cloth.
  7. Nadeau: Not exactly a little-known-secret, Nadeau is still an often-overlooked shop in comparison to import giants like World Market and Pier 1. With stores in several different cities and states, they're accessible and affordable.
  8. Bali West Imports: Based in Austin, Texas, this is a family-owned and operated business that works in partnership with local artisans — including internationally known brand Jenggala Keramik — to sell ceramics and tabletop to the American market.
  9. Pagoda Red: Betsy Nathan runs this Chicago shop, and everything in the store is hand-picked by her on trips to China. Her inventory is composed of high-end, upscale Chinese antiques — you won't find any junk in the store.
  10. Diseño: Located in Boston's South End neighborhood, this shop carries a blend of vintage and flea market finds alongside imports from South American countries like Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Chile.

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