Across from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg sits the retro-logoed Mythic Paint international headquarters and lab. A spattering of Mini Coopers is in the parking lot among the regular cars; one two-toned orange Cooper bears the signature Mythic Paint logo. The cars are driven in locations around the country to advertise the Green Wise certified non-toxic, low order and zero VOC paint, developed at USM's School of Polymers and High Performance Materials after six years of research.
Southern Diversified Products, under President and Chief Science Officer Rocky Prior, owns subsidiaries American Pride and Mythic Paint. The latex-based paint is eco-friendly and safe, not just because of its Volatile Organic Compounds-free bases, but it is wholly VOC-free, including the color tints. Other "eco-friendly" paints don't come in as many colors.
In a 2007 performance-based "scrub" test, Mythic Paint outshined its leading-brand competitors, traditional and eco-friendly, by one-and-a-half to eight times the durability. It is "green" seal paint, so safe that company is not even required to place warning labels on its containers, and is part of the LEED green-building rating system.
"Two brands started out of USM; Mythic is more targeted to a national audience. Only a certain audience would buy American Pride," Marketing/Graphic Design Manager Jonathan Cascio said. As for the '50s retro look, the company "wanted something that makes it look like we've been there forever."
Since its inception, Mythic Paint has received a plethora of media attention and has advertisements in just about every nationally recognized popular magazines and newspapers. Its series of comedic Indiana Jones, explorer-themed commercials has lines like, "Mythic Paint, the legend goes on." It also features safety-based lines: "If you knew what their paint was doing to you, it'd take your breath away. Literally."
Customers used Mythic Paint in high-profile situations such as in the Pentagon after the 9/11 attacks.
Previously carried at another Hattiesburg paint retailer, Classic Concepts/Ace Home Center in the Oak Grove area of Hattiesburg is in the process of becoming the area's distribution center for Mythic Paint. Classic Concepts' manager Thomas Sellers demonstrated the paint's odorless factor by opening a can of unmixed white and mixed green Mythic Paint. "This can says low odor, but it's no odor. It smells like children's finger paint," Sellers said.
Sellers painted the walls two shades of Mythic Paint—orange and green—during store hours, and his coworkers testified no one knew he was doing it. "You could sit there and drink it and not have a problem with it. It's an incredible paint," Sellers said.
His hyperbole revealed a convert to Mythic Paint, which Sellers says dries within 25 to 30 minutes, is wipeable in 24 hours and washable in 30 days. Sellers says he will not go back to other paint.
And for mothers-to-be who want to paint their own nests, Sellers says it's safe for them, as well as hospitals, nurseries, veterinarians and museums.
Southern Diversified Products has a history of charitable giving going back to at least 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, when it donated 5,000 gallons of American Pride to First Baptist Church homeowners in Biloxi.
In addition, it has partnerships such as with children's store, Land of Nod in Illinois, and HGTV decorating star David Bromstad, who uses the paint.
A gallon of Mythic Paint can cost up to twice as much as regular competitors. But Mythic Paint has a financial rewards program for 5-gallon purchases, that is, if the paint's environmental benefits and durability aren't enough incentive to use this paint in the first place.
Buy Mythic Paint at Classic Concepts/Ace Home Center, 6610 U.S. Highway 98, Hattiesburg. Call 601-261-0912, or purchase the product online with free shipping at http://www.mythicpaint.com.
Hot Color Combos
A quick peek at the über-hip http://www.apartmenttherapy.com yields ideas about hot colors for home decor in 2010-11. Try: Black, white & mustard; gray, black and pale pink; orange and teal; charcoal, yellow and light blue; hot pink, orange and brown; red, white and navy; olive and white; orange and gray.
More ideas at http://www.jonathanadler.com.