There are a few different furniture markets during the year that everyone in the business attends to find the latest and greatest but I still prefer the High Point Market. It’s the original furniture market, primarily because of its geographic location to where most of the furniture in the United States used to be made. Even though a lot of our goods are now imported, the big companies still maintain their major presence at this market.
High Point market begins in one week. I’ll be there scouring the showrooms for some of the best design finds and values. In my next blog I’ll bring you some of my favorite purchases but I thought I’d give you a little background on the market before I go.
During market week, any manufacturer who has the means puts out their best displays and products to lure buyers and designers into their spaces. It’s a fast paced week and to explain it as “sensory overload” is a huge understatement. It covers 180 buildings and 10 million square feet of display. It represents over 2000 manufacturers from 106 countries. Attendance is usually in the area of about 800,000 plus buyers.
Buses, transports, taxis, rental cars, shuttles, and streets filled wall to wall with people rushing from one space to another, make for long days. Food is fairly scarce except for light snacks and possibly a sandwich stand. No one is eating much or enjoying the beautiful scenery outside. Everyone is fighting the clock and trying to cover as much territory as their feet will allow.
So why do we put ourselves through this torture? Because hidden away in a remote new showroom, lays the promise of an amazing new discovery. And that one item can lead to an entire market trend over the next few years. It also gives us a chance to see the new products that everyone is introducing and gives us a chance to put in our orders and become the first showrooms to have the products for sale.
In High Point you see everything. From Indonesian imports to Christmas trees, from loungers with built-in sound systems to tables made from petrified wood. There is no shortage of originality and it all depends on the buyer’s taste if it’s the right thing for them.
The market is only open to the trade and if you think you want to try to sneak in, you better have some pretty impressive credentials. Most people are pre-qualified with entry passes before the week starts. Security is everywhere and people are turned away all day long. And if that isn’t enough, most quality showroom spaces have added another layer of security at their front doors to screen buyer’s qualifications. Yes, there is that much business.
High Point is only open two weeks a year. Buyers from every store in the country need to make their purchases for the next 6-12 months during that single week and the results can often determine the future of a manufacturer. Everyone is under pressure and it’s sort of like Wall Street at 8AM on a Monday morning. Every elevator is packed 100% of the time. Hotels are booked up to 30 miles away and everyone is getting a premium for everything from rental cars to food. Advertising is everywhere…the sides of buildings, buses, windows, street poles, shirts, you name it. Companies are determined to get your attention and your dollars. Basically, it’s insane.
Every market is a little different. But each one brings styles, new products, and new trends. Some people find what they’re hoping to find, some go home disappointed. And even though everyone leaves with really sore, aching feet, there’s that feeling of satisfaction knowing that once again you’ve conquered the beast and you’re heading home.