This year was my first time to attend High Point Market and it was an incredible experience! I feel so lucky to live just a short distance away from the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world. Since there are 180 buildings, 11.5 Million square feet of show space, and 75,000 attendees at each Market, I was a little intimidated heading into this adventure. So the first thing I did was seek advice FROM EVERYONE! My wonderful design professor, Loyd Dillon, said it’s like a reunion, conference, expo, and fashion show all rolled into one, and boy was he right! My design friends helped me pull together a list of vendors I should check out, and I studied the Market website like I was preparing for the SAT’s (yes, I go a little overboard sometimes). But I do have to say, having a plan is the only way you can take full advantage of such a massive show. Even so, I didn’t get to see and do everything I had hoped, but that just makes me even more excited for the spring Market!
Here’s a summary of my first trip to Market and some things I learned along the way.
My Goals for Attending Market:
- Learn New Vendors (how can you not?)
- Network – meet other designers, meet vendors, connect IN PERSON with people I know through Instagram
- Learn things that will help my budding design business
- Share My Experience – through Instagram and this Blog (check!)
Top 10 New Vendors (To Me)
- The Detroit Wallpaper Co. – They are so nice and cool and creative – loved meeting them! And their custom wallpaper designs are pretty awesome too.
- Mirth Studio – These custom wood floor tiles are ridiculous! Owner Sally Bennett and her team are also super cool. Can’t wait to use these in a project!
- Eloquence – Very European, Shabby Chic, elegant.
- Sarreid Ltd. – I called this “affordable Restoration Hardware.” They have a really cool customizable Italian line of cabinets called Rhapsody in Color.
- Visual Comfort – Out of control lighting – and some of it had super reasonable prices.
- Oomph – Adorbs painted accent furniture. http://www.oomphonline.com/
- jdouglas – Great variety of accessories – loved their wall of Lacefield pillows.
- Peninsula – Beautiful, European vibe.
- Bungalow 5 – Super stylish furnishings, I wanted to buy the whole store.
- Thibaut – Had heard of it, but hadn’t seen any of their fabrics in person before. Now, officially obsessed.
People I Met
I was pretty bummed my partner-in-crime, Cheryl Luckett couldn’t attend with me, but I was very proud of myself for going alone. And, being alone forced me to work on my networking goals.
- JLV Creative – Jesse is my new bff – I saw her about 25 times at all the same events as me until finally I introduced myself. She is an awesome designer and beautiful person and we had so much fun together on the last day.
- Stacy Morgan – Very cool Raleigh girl – we totally hit it off and she was so nice and shared all kinds of good designer info with me.
- Dunes & Duchess – Michael and Stacy are so incredible and nice. We had a little photo shoot in the booth which made me feel very VIP.
- Antiques Diva (Toma Clark Haines) – Toma has THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD! She hosts European antique buying tours. Sign me up!
- The Decorating Diva (Carmen Natschke) – This girl knows her social media!
- Parker Kennedy Living – Was so excited to finally meet Lance and David. Love their style.
- Little Green Notebook – Jenny is a BIG DEAL. She writes for Domino, has a very popular design blog, and is sooooooo down to earth. Jesse and I felt really cool that we got to tell her about Mirth Studio.
As a lifelong learner (aka school nerd), one of my favorite parts of Market was the educational classes. I picked up some valuable tips that will help me with my business, and also got to meet some important people in the design world.
- iChannel: Building an Influential and Powerful Communications and Marketing Platform via Social Media with The Decorating Diva (Carmen Natschke) – this is one of my weak links, trying to beef up my social media presence.
- Antiques Diva Style Guide & Champagne Brunch – I can’t imagine a more perfect combo than antiques and champagne! We learned all about major French furniture antique periods.
- Getting Published in Print and Beyond – This was a great panel with Tobi Fairley, Antonia van der Meer, Editor-in-Chief of Coastal Living, and Jessica Thuston, Executive Editor of Southern Living.
- Untangling the Web: How Blogs and Social Media are Transforming Design. This was a star-studded panel featuring Mark D. Sikes, Paloma Contreras (La Dolce Vita), Jenny Komenda (Little Green Notebook), and Suzanne & Lauren McGrath (McGrath II), moderated by the hilarious Robert Leleux, Domino Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief. Wow. Again, feel lucky that I’m even in the same room as these incredible designers.
Favorite Buildings (not really fair, because these are the only ones I had time for haha)
- Market Square (Has Antique & Design Center)
- Suites at Market Square
- IHFC (International Home Furnishings Center) Building
- C&D (Commerce & Design) Building
Marisa’s Market Tips:
- Have a plan – Super critical, if you have things you need to accomplish.
- Attend Market 101 Orientation – I would have been lost without this
- Wear comfortable shoes – the only downfall to the fashion show at Market is that if you aren’t wearing comfortable shoes, you will die, and there just aren’t enough super cute, super comfy shoes out there.
- Pick up the (10 lb) directory at the END of the day – I was so eager to start collecting all my materials that I grabbed the giant directory of all vendors and info right off the bat. At the end of the day, I thought I might need shoulder surgery. There are plenty available, get it at the end.
- Print out your itinerary – as cool as the Market App is, mine malfunctioned halfway through Market and I was very glad I had brought an old school back up paper list of my vendors and events to attend.
All in all, it was one of the most profound experiences I have had as a designer. I keep referring to it as “design heaven” because it is a convergence of all beautiful design things and all beautiful design people (from all over the world) and there is nothing else like it. I feel extremely special that I am able to attend and I already can’t wait for the spring Market!