Why should interior designers attend High Point Market? I am so excited to answer this question. But first I want to give a little background on my attendance to market. I was fortunate to work for a high-end interior designer in Houston, Texas, when I first got out of college. She has been attending market for over 25+ years and knew the importance. She not only felt that she should go, but bring her lead designers as well. Hence my High Point introduction.
I remember my first trip; it was Spring 2008. Eek! I’m old!! I didn’t know what to expect, except for finicky weather (it often rains and can be hot or cold when it’s not supposed to be), and lots and lots of walking. It is now fall 2015, and I will tell you that the more you attend, you find your rhythm and what works for you. And if you are a young designer, it’s an amazing experience, and I believe it’s more important for you to attend because it’s so eye opening. It helps you understand the ‘back end’ process of our world. Also, it is so important to get to know your vendors and vice versa. You never know when they can help you out. Personal connections are key.
Here’s my answer for why. The most important reason for a designer to attend is to touch, feel, see, and test out the product(s) in person. For those of you who have local showrooms and order through them, this might not be as important, but for those of us who rely on their experiences at High Point, this is crucial! After all, our client(s) trust us to sell them a product that has quality and will last them for years. Also, seeing case good finishes and any furniture construction in person is key! You need to know the quality of items you sell your client. After all, at the end of the day these products represent you and your company.
What other important information do you need to know when attending market? Here’s my handy list that has truly helped me through the years and markets. You will learn what works for you the more you attend, but this is a great starting point. These are in no particular order.
Itinerary: Yes, make appointments ahead of time with your reps. This not only helps them; it helps you! I promise you won’t regret this. Suggestion: when making your appointments designate them to areas of High Point. High Point is rather large, and there are ‘areas’ where showrooms are and are not. You want to make sure your time management is done well. I cannot stress how this is the only way I think High Point works and it’s the best way to time manage. Trust me, you need all the time you can get!
Comfortable Shoes! This is so important as you will rely on your feet. Take good care of them. But remember they have to look cute too! I know, I know, this can be such a dilemma.
Fashion: We all know fashion is a top priority for us. It’s in our nature. Pants are generally the best bet, because when you are bending over or measuring a large piece, you don’t want to show everyone your knickers! I typically wear either pants or knee-length or just-above-the-knee dress, but I have worn skirts or dresses that are shorter and realize my dilemma (insert wink and smile).
Rolling bag: Yes, some designers hate it, but they can get over it. This is so so important for me! I use this bag to carry my life. Don’t burden your shoulders if you don’t have to. My rolling bag carries my wallet, my keys, extra chargers, catalogs or brochures I might pick up. Also, you never know if you need another pair of shoes! Sometimes you get invited to these nice parties and need an extra pair, or if your feet start to hurt change them out.
Notebook & Pen: This is so old school, but I suggest writing down the item you like and what it is you like about it–i.e. it’s comfortable, for a short person, for a tall person, etc. Also, if you blog (like me) it’s great note taking.
iPhone Camera: Essential! I take over 1,000 photos every market. I take a photo of the image and then the tag. I also take a photo of the vendor before going in so I remember where I am. This will help eliminate writing. One friend points to the items she thinks is comfortable instead of writing down.
Portable Chargers: Yes, no matter what, you will need a portable charger. I always bring 1-2 just in case. And bring your outlet charger because some showrooms now have charging stations. Also, on a side note, the IHFC building often has horrible signal, so turn your phone on Airplane mode. This will save some battery because it tends to just search for a signal.
High Point Market kit: I have a little makeup/pen bag that has some great essentials: makeup oil blotters, lotion, chapstick/lipgloss, bandaids, gum, mints. It also holds my extra battery chargers & wires so it doesn’t get lost in my rolling bag.
Social: It’s the best/largest social party in our industry. You meet and mingle with other talented designers across the nation and internationally as well as your vendors. This is where you can make some important contacts with the vendors and your fellow colleagues.