Picture this: Smartly dressed men and women racing frantically through the streets, sporting their most comfortable footwear, roller luggage in tow, cell phones in hand, and bright orange lanyards twisting in the breeze. Food-trucks lining the streets, live music playing on every corner, and tens of thousands of people trying to squeeze through tiny revolving doors. The scene described above is not an average day in NYC. Rather, it’s the beginning of a 5-day furniture extravaganza for interior designers known as High Point Market.
Twice a year, interior designers and buyers from around the world descend upon High Point, North Carolina, located outside of Greensboro, to visit meticulously designed showrooms, source fabulous new products, stay on top of trends, and attend seminars hosted by the industry’s most sought-after and influential leaders. It is a magnetic mecca where networking, marketing, and resourcing happen harmoniously. Where else can one see and learn from Hollywood icon Diane Keaton, Trading Spaces superstar Mikel Welch, and HGTV’s leading lady Hilary Farr? Each market draws over 75,000 professionals, making it one party I was not about to miss!
Prior to our departure, Kelly and I planned our every move. We scheduled meetings with our trusted vendors, registered for seminars, and carefully marked our route to and from each showroom. 12.2 million square feet of showrooms is nothing me and my Dr. Martens can’t handle! To be fair, I attended High Point last fall with nary an appointment or schedule of any sort, only loads of enthusiasm, a smile on my face, and a backpack. “No plan, no worries,” was my motto. Spoiler alert – I was completely overwhelmed! So this year, we made sure we were planned and prepared. Due to our extremely tight schedule, I anticipated an anticlimactic trip; there would be no room for wandering or surprises. In reality, our trip was full of unexpected encounters, an audible here and there, and delicious mini-cupcakes. I was finally able to meet and have lunch with an out-of-state fellow design friend too. Magic!
The biggest reason we go to High Point Market is to strengthen our relationship with our beloved vendors, talk shop, and see new products and material launches. Secondly, it is our job to ensure we are specifying beautiful, high quality, well made, long lasting furniture and accessories for our clients. With strict criteria, we sat in over 500 sofas and chairs, tested the mechanisms of every armoire, side table, and credenza, and heard all about the fine art of crafting the most authentic handmade wool rugs. It is through this process that we are able to discern with which vendors Liz Walton Home will align itself. Exhausting and exhilarating!
The third and final reason we attend High Point Market is to learn. I am a firm believer in lifelong learning, and the seminars and education offered at market are critical in helping us stay on top of industry trends, debate hot topics, and discover new ways to enhance our customer experience.
We had a chance to visit with the incredibly talented Tom Filica (he makes a mean margarita), thank my favorite interior design Podcaster and speaker LuAnn Nigara, and chat with the beautiful and business savvy Sarah Lynn Brennan. It was in these moments I felt incredibly blessed to be a part of this crazy and colorful world of interior design.
During our 7 hour road trip down and back (you know I love a good road trip!) I thought about the menagerie of people, products, and vendors we saw at High Point and how there is room for everyone. Whatever your design aesthetic, there is an interior designer out there who can help bring your space to life. To my fellow interior designers, I support you and wish you well. And to my wonderful clients, I am working hard to bring you the best products and services the market has to offer.
Unlike many trips, I came back from High Point Market feeling energized and excited. I look forward to riding this high straight through the upcoming holiday season!