Latest store in antique chain displays a flair for Southeast Asian design

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Latest store in antique chain displays a flair for Southeast Asian design

Even at first glimpse, it is not easy to resist the temptation to enter and explore Real Mayo, a shop specializing in foreign antiques. Real Mayo, which opened just two weeks ago, is the third shop by Lim Mi-yeon.
Ms. Lim has survived three years in Seoul’s competitive antique market. Her secret? “You have to keep abreast of the latest trends,” she says. “To do that, I read about 30 magazines, from pottery, to design, to architecture.”
Unlike her other two branches, which have a European flavor, Real Mayo is quintessentially Asian, especially South Asian, in character. Before she opened this shop, Ms. Lim traveled and stayed in various South Asian countries to study antiques and collect the precious pieces displayed in her shop.
An antique she is particularly proud of is the large Megawati table, named after the president of Indonesia, who possesses the same exact table. The table costs 6.5 million won ($5,485).
“We have a Chinese vase that is over 100 years old, a Thai closet with elaborate designs,” Ms. Lim says. “Sometimes I just don’t want to sell them, preferring to keep them with me.”
She is particular in what she selects for her shops. “The procedure for bringing in the antiques is simple,” she says. “Selecting a valuable antique is like looking for a pearl in thick mud. There are many times that I come back home empty-handed.”
The main customers are managers of fashion houses who are constantly looking for something original and exotic for their displays, and many individual collectors who can afford the expensive antique crafts. Her sophisticated client base is the main reason why her stores are proving to be so successful.


Real Mayo
Location: Gangnam district,
Sinsa-dong 546-5, across from Hyundai High School, about a 15-minute walk from Apgujeong Station
Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. everyday
Telephone: (02) 546-4835


by Kim Hae-young

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