24 Oct Diary of a #hpmkt Virgin
The thought of attending High Point Market to navigate 180 buildings, 11.5 million square feet of show space, along with 75,000 attendees to shop for furniture in just two and a half days was daunting, to say the least. So daunting, in fact, this past weekend was my first time ever, along with my friend and colleague, Meredith, another newbie. I had never made the trek because I was always too busy with clients, had my go-to lines that served me well, didn’t want to take time away from the family and had heard how overwhelming market is. Thankfully High Point has been doing this since 1909 and has gotten it down to a science with an online planning guide, shuttles that take you everywhere, information booths galore and the MyMarketApp for your mobile device.
As with everything, it’s all in the planning and I have to say for two market virgins, we did pretty well and saw almost everything we had on our lists. Very early Saturday morning we started out in Market Square, a former furniture factory that has been transformed into unique upscale showrooms and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places to peruse the incredible antiques and accessories. At 10 am we attended an educational event, The New Interior Design Business with Tobi Fairley who gave a very candid and enlightening talk about setting new business goals and a model to adapt to the ever changing business of interior design. As she told my story, I found her to be engaging and honest about her struggles and successes and I gained a very clear aha moment when she spoke of H.A.R.D. goals.
We spent the entire day at IHFC (International Home Furnishings Center), comprised of three-and-a-half million square feet of furniture and accessories that reflect every style, every category, every price point from every corner of the globe. Floor after floor of sigh worthy furniture and accessories, and hour after hour, we worked to find the best lines to add to our libraries and accommodate various budgets. Around 4 pm, happy hour could be found in every showroom, complete with great energy, live music, food, cocktails and,of course surrounded by beautiful product. That vibe continued until IHFC closed and we went back to our accommodations laden with bags and catalogs, tired and inspired.
The alarm clock went off at 5:30 am sharp Sunday morning and we were off again. This time to an educational breakfast hosted by WithIt and presented by Wendy Bellissimo, icon of baby and kids design. She told her heart warming story about her personal and professional life and how she rose to become a lifestyle expert and favorite of celebrity moms like Brooke Shields, Kelly Ripa and Denise Richards. We later went to the individual downtown furniture showrooms where we did a lot of upholstery sitting to compare cushion comfort and seat depth, and opening/closing drawers and doors on case goods to feel the mechanisms and glides. We looked at scale, construction, fabric selections, price points and styles and finished the evening back at IHFC. And finally, before our flight on Monday morning, we had specific showrooms we had not gotten to the day before and ran around to check them off our lists.
Among the amazing products and showrooms, the following 15 lines are just a sampling of my many favorites:
1. Global Views
6. CR Laine
10. Hickory White
15. Howard Elliott
High Point Market was an incredible learning experience and I look forward to taking my clients to soaring heights with new lines I have acquired and depth I obtained in product knowledge.