Wednesday, February 4, 2015

6 Reasons Designers Should Attend High Point International Market


Yesterday, one of my designer pals asked me to give her three reasons I attend High Point Market twice a year.  If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I am a huge proponent of attending market.  As a designer, if you don't attend High Point Market, you miss out on an opportunity that can provide experiences to enrich your business.  
The first time I went to High Point Market was in the seventies when I was a college student.  I only went once with my interior design class then, but once I opened my practice in 1998, I have attended the market annually.  Things have changed a great deal since those early days in High Point.  I wouldn't think of missing High Point Market.  I have a home court advantage I know but even if I lived a plane flight away, I would be in High Point twice a year for the market.  It is imperative to a designer's business.  If you are a designer and asking yourself why I think it is so important, I'll share with you the top five reasons I consider High Point Market a "must attend" event for designers. 

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Kelly Wearstler for Visual Comforts

1. Be the first to know what is trending in the world of home furnishings!  A couple of laps around Interhall, Market Square and the other buildings at High Point provide insight to what colors, silhouettes, and styles are trending in home decor.  Why  wait to read about what's happening in your business world on someone's blog when you can be the first to know by attending yourself?  Our client's look for us to be "on top" of our game.  How can you be on top of your game if you are missing the market?  It is the equivalent of a professional golfer not studying the course before a big tournament.  If you retain a trendy client yet you don't know the trends, before you can design, you must spend time researching what's trending.  Often this means taking someone else's word for what's the next latest and greatest.  Why not spend time at market deciding that for yourself?  A trip to High Point Market will also prevent trend remorse.  Let's be clear, after spending 4 or 5 days at market, if you still like something that is trending, that's a telling thing!  If you become sick of seeing a trend over and over, most likely you won't make the mistake of using the overused trend in projects.  A little trend can go a long way!


2. See Product in Person!  This is a biggie for me.  Specifying product online is one way of working on projects, but often the online photographs don't show the scale or finish of a product.  I like to see my favorite lines up close and personal so I know I am choosing the right product for my clients.  I also like to see how the showroom designer puts the pieces together in vignettes.  There are great styling techniques. The showroom designers work diligently to design fresh, innovative designs for their companies.  I often see a fabric on a silhouette I really like.  It's a great place to gather inspiration to store for later use on client projects.  I also enjoy scouring the aisles for new product lines.  You never know what you might find.  I often file away new lines for future reference when the project presents itself.

3. Unique Opportunities to Shop for clients!  Not only do showrooms offer market promotions that are only available to market attendees, which save money for larger profit margins, but there are unique opportunities to shop for clients. Last market my buddies at Parker Kennedy had a pop up vintage sale in the Codarus showroom.  It was a feast for the eyes!  Designers could buy their fabulous pieces for projects!  Yep, that's right; you could purchase a gorgeous piece for your projects then and there! (Warning, this kind of sale, goes quickly, so go early!)

 Lance and David of Parker-Kennedy are so fabulously 
talented and great guys to boot.  I always love spending
 time with them.  A visit to the Codarus
showroom guaranteed a story about the pieces
they curated for the show.  Great stories
make great rooms!

Every market the Antique and Design Center is a place
 I shop to pick up interesting pieces for clients.

I love to buy from Antiques and Design because the
pieces I find from their vendors add a unique layered
touch to my projects.  I always go early to market so
I can take advantage of all the goodies
 before everything gets sold!

4.  Network with Designer Friends from across the country and Canada!  I love and adore my friend Denise McGaha!  Denise is a talented designer from Dallas known for "Designing on a Deadline".  She is a brand ambassador for one of my favorite lighting lines, "Currey and Co".  I always look forward to catching up with Denise and my other designer friends while at High Point Market.  Bethanne Matari, the PR Maven at Currey always hosts fun events in their showroom.  It's a place to meet up and network while viewing beautiful lighting.  

The networking extends into the night as well with cocktail parties and showroom events.   Often there are special events like book signings, anniversary parties or fun promotional events for designers.  It's fun to have time to be social and have a personal connection without work related

5.  Meeting the Creators of the Product Lines - Who better to introduce you to a new line than the designer who designed it?  At market, we can talk to the designers of the products and find out their inspirations, how to best use the goods and get energized by the passion of the minds who are responsible for creating the lines.  I loved meeting the ladies behind Hable Construction.  They create beautiful fabrics and art for the Hickory Chair line each market.  While I was in the Hickory Chair showroom, I talked with Suzanne Kasler and Alexa Hampton about the lines the new products they were introducing.  I would be remiss, not to mention, the added treat of being shown Hickory Chair by the Marketing and PR person for Hickory Chair, Laura Holland. This type of connection is a big reason I go to market.  You cannot get connections like this staring at a computer screen.

Of course, you may just run into your designer style icon like I did.  Kelly Wearstler is a favorite of mine.  She debuted a new line of lighting with Visual Comforts last market.  I met Kelly in Paris last September and delighted she remembered me when I saw her again at market in October. 

5. Educational Panels, Seminars, and Presentations are Tops!
The educational seminars with top industry's experts, celebrity designers, and magazine editors provides valuable information 
for forecasting the future of the home furnishing industry
as well as inspiration for client projects and sound 
business advice.

6.  High Point Market is Best Market in the World
I been to all the markets, and no one tops what High Point Market has to offer!  Call me prejudice because I'm North Carolina born and bred, but I think High Point is the best!

So there, you have it!  My top six reasons High Point Market is a "must attend" for designers!  If you need further convincing make sure to watch the video below produced by my friend, 
Gretchen Aubuchon. 

A big shout out to Gretchen Aubuchon for creating this fabulous video and including me!  Watch The Design on High Point video below to hear from top designers in our industry on why they shop at High Point Market!  

Hope to see you in April at High Point Market!!!

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  1. Lisa, I can't imagine a designer not attending High Point Market and I love the video Gretchen put together!!

    The Arts by Karena New Feature

    1. I agree Karena!! Gretchen did a fab job! Thanks!

  2. Great post Lisa, attending market takes your scope as a designer to a whole new level and is such a vital ingredient to building your business. Not attending market for a designer is like never going into a hospital if you were a doctor.

    1. Totally agree Jackie! Can't wait to see you there!!!

  3. This is a great post, we go every year and it is always worth while!

    1. Thanks so much! I appreciate you dropping by and commenting!

  4. Thanks for your tips for my post Lisa!! Great post! x Maria

    1. I know yours will be fab Maria! Can't wait to read it! We all have a different spin on what is important to us.

  5. Would love to catch up with you there, haven't seen you in a while !


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