From the October/November 2018 Home Design & Decor Magazine (DOWNLOAD PDF)

By Ashley Hotham Cox; Written by Christina Spratt Spencer

The world’s largest home furnishings show, High Point Market is the Mecca for the design community where designers, buyers, exhibitors, and more travel from near and far to make the biannual pilgrimage.

 Three local designers join us for a panel discussion to talk about all-things Market and what it means to them.

HPMKT 101

Break down Market for us. What is it? What does it mean to you? 

HP: High Point Market is everything to the design industry. It is the Super Bowl, the Olympics, and the presidential election all rolled into one! This is the premier furniture market in the world. It is a gift to have it in our state. This is the time to build relationships with vendors, find exciting new products for clients, and create camaraderie with industry colleagues.

EM: Market is a place for us to go to find new vendors, get inspiration, and just be in-the-know on design – the good, bad, and indifferent. It is a great place for us to connect face to face with vendors, dealers, and leave a mark.

HR and MV: In our industry, Market is an event where home furnishing companies showcase, share, and test their latest and greatest products. Market is where we go to shop for clients, get inspiration, and take in the creative energy swirling around High Point. It’s also the place where we get to see the products in person as opposed to viewing an image online, in a magazine, or in a catalog.

Spanning over a period of five days with more than 11.5 million square feet of show space, getting to see everything is a daunting task. What’s your strategy? 

HP: I am ninety percent strategy and planning and ten percent spontaneity. I plan my days and leave a little time to visit the unexpected. I will say I judge a book by its cover, so the showrooms with great entry/window displays draw me in. There is so much ground to cover; I highly suggest going with a friend or seasoned designer with a plan your first visit.

EM: We only go to the lower level where all the new vendors are, and then we do reach out to others but go at it with a specific plan as we drive up for the day and return home that evening. HR and MV: Well, neither of us suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out), so ours is to see as much as we can in the time we are there, knowing that it’s impossible to cover everything and still enjoy the experience. We definitely prefer a quality over quantity approach.

What do you look for while at Market?

HR and MV: We are, of course, shopping for clients, as well as for ourselves – the designer affliction! In a sense, it is a hunting and gathering mission, so to speak, in which we serve as style and design curators representing our clients at Market. We actually enjoy sifting through the massive amounts of goods to find those special, unique pieces to incorporate into the modern eclectic spaces we create for our clients. Big picture, we are looking to be inspired and enjoy the experience.

Name a few of your favorite, not-to-be-missed spots?

HR and MV: Oh no, you’re going to make us choose our favorites?! There are so many great Market vendors that we love! I can say that we always hit, without exception, Noir, Regina Andrews, Oly, Arteriors, Bobo, Natural Curiosities, and Selamat.

Do you schedule appointments ahead of time or do you just pop into showrooms?

EM: We move so quickly as sifting through that we do not tend to make appointments, as we rarely order at High Point Market. We gather information and bring it back to get a game plan together on what our needs are and map out our orders accordingly.

Are you multitasking in the sense of you have multiple projects underway and you’re looking for product for each one of them?  

EM: Yes, always. We tend to carry a minimum of fifteen active clients at once and design in both residential and hospitality arenas. Therefore, our radars are always up for the next up-and-coming products, especially lighting.

CHECKLIST What are some of the essential items you pack with you?

HP: I start with almost an empty bag. Less is more at market because you are often on your feet a good sixteen hours through dinner. I always have business cards, my phone, a charger, an extra external battery, lipstick, a tiny card wallet, glasses, and sunglasses. That is all. It is the only time I do not subscribe to my “more is more” philosophy. I also love a crossbody to keep my hands free for photos and a coffee then later a cocktail.

EM: Band-Aids, phone chargers, tax ID information, business cards, water, and snacks because we do not stop for lunch usually.

HR and MV: Well, we probably should pack Band-Aids for blisters, but we most often pack Rose and Kombucha. Go figure! We’ve even forgotten our water bottles but remembered the Rose!

LOVE IT OR HATE IT How do you feel about interior design trends? Are they fads or are they more than that?

HR and MV: We appreciate interior design trends and the creativity behind them, although we do not embrace them all. We believe that many trends are more than just mere fads, as even the classics were trends at some point. We gravitate towards the trends that have some longevity and more staying power. We may incorporate a couple of trendy pieces to keep it current; however, we typically shy away from spaces that are fully decked out in the “trend du jour.” We like to keep larger furniture pieces and case goods more classic and clean-lined, saving the client money in the long run.

What’s something that’s really hot right now that you love?

EM: Antique brass mixed with cool tones, navy blue in all variations it can come in, and blushy pinks and purples are on the rise. Industrial is on its way out. Lighter walls, typically all the same color, give a bright, uplifting space and leaves opportunity for neutrals to play a role and allows color to make a bold statement.

HP: I love the brass trend. I cannot seem to shake my love of warm metals. I love it on furniture, hardware, and lighting. Sadly, it can also be done poorly, too.

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD Market is more than just a show. There are educational conferences, as well as social gatherings taking place throughout the entire event. From cocktail parties and private dinners to panel discussions and seminars, there’s something going on at all times. Do you find yourself engaging in these events?

HR and MV: We sometimes pop into an event, but it really just depends on what’s left in the gas tank at the end of the day and how our feet are holding up.

HP: Yes, that is the challenge. You want to do it all! I selectively choose a few educational panels during the day.  I really try to knock out appointments and work and not start the events until evening. High Point Market can be like “Girls Gone Wild” for designers. You could go to a party from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. if you choose.

Which events are you going to and why? 

HP: The Style Spotters breakfast is always a great way to break down the trends. The keynotes sponsored by Market are usually the heavy hitters. Many showrooms have book signings that are fun, too.

What do you hope to get out of them?

HP: Inspiration. It is worth its weight in gold. I love what I do, but it can get overwhelming at times with tedious details galore. Hearing others’ perspectives and inspiration is rejuvenating.

HR and MV: We want to enjoy the company of other creative people and enjoy the Market experience.

FLASHBACK Were there any emerging designers or brands that really stood out to you?

HP: Selamat and their Florence Broadhurst pieces always delight. The new introductions from last Market were stellar, especially the clever Cockatoo chair. Consort Design also came in strong with their inaugural collection. I adored their Glouton Chair in sheepskin.

What about any oldies but goodies? 

HP: I use Barrie Benson for Highland House and the Mary Jane swivel chair over and over. Visual Comfort lighting and Hudson Valley are also lighting staples I could not do without. Addison Weeks cabinet hardware is jewelry for your home that I adore. I am also a sucker for any bone inlay furniture so Made Goods always fits that bill. The list goes on and on.

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