High Point Market, the largest home furnishings trade show in North America, is a must-attend event for interior designers looking to stay ahead of the latest trends and connect with industry professionals. Whether you’re a seasoned designer or just starting out, navigating the bustling market can be overwhelming. But fear not! We spoke with award-winning designers Rachel Moriarty and Jaclyn Isaac of Doni Douglas Designs to provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to make the most of Market.
Step 1 Plan Ahead:
Before diving into the world of High Point Market, it’s crucial to plan your visit strategically. Research the exhibitors and showrooms that align with your design style and goals. Think about attending a tour. Create a schedule and map out the locations you want to visit, ensuring you make the most of your time. One way to do this? Use the app.
“I definitely think the app was really helpful with planning my entire trip,” says Jaclyn. “All the sessions are linked up to the app, so I was able to go into that and be really strategic with what little design neighborhoods I wanted to visit, but more specifically, what talks I absolutely had to attend.”
Jaclyn used the app to prioritize the talks and the panels that were really customized to her business and goals to maximize her time.
“There’s so much to do at High Point,” she says. “Download the app, go through all the sessions, make a schedule for a day where you’re just doing all panels, and then you know how to coordinate showrooms or anything like that around where you’re actually hearing a talk.”
“It was just such a good choice and such a good use of my time.”
Step 2 Get Your Credentials:
To gain access to the trade show, make sure to register and obtain the necessary credentials. Registration for Fall 2023 Market, October 14 – 18, is currently closed but will open in late July. High Point Market offers various registration options, including passes for designers, buyers, and industry professionals. Take advantage of early bird discounts and secure your spot in advance.
Step 3 Connect with Industry Professionals:
High Point Market is not just about discovering the latest products; it’s also an excellent opportunity to network. Attend tours, seminars, panel discussions, and social events to connect with like-minded designers, manufacturers, and influencers. Engage in meaningful conversations, exchange ideas, and forge valuable connections that can elevate your design career.
One way to do that is to attend a tour. Rachel is a huge fan of tours, so much that after attending Market for many years, she now leads one. She most recently was a Spring 2023 Insiders Tour Guide, leading a full-day tour that leverages her Market expertise through the lens of her colorfully coastal aesthetic.
“I have been attending so many years and I have so many relationships,” she says. “I always feel like if someone’s going to sign up for a Rachel Moriarty tour, they’re going to expect a certain side of things. Like I’m not going to show them a lot of neutrals.”
“I just want them to have the High Point experience through my perspective.”
There are several guided tours designed to enhance your Market experience:
- The Insiders Tour is exclusively for first-time Buyers at HPMKT
- Style Spotters Hot Spot Tours are for all Buyers and Media
- Suite Spot Tours are one-hour journeys through the Suites at Market Square
- Diversity Advocacy Alliance Tours are for Buyers interested in investing in the diversity, equity, and inclusion of Market
- TrendWatch Tours offer in-depth looks at specially selected product displays
Jaclyn never thought about tours before this year because she was busy with the showrooms. But after having been to market a couple of times with a focus on finding vendors, she was ready to branch out and was one of ten design influencers who were part of the two-day Design Influencers Tour program. Designers on the tour received an in-depth look at the sponsoring showrooms’ company history, brand positioning, and products.
“The Design Influencers Tour was just a really great mix of getting to know brands that I don’t use very often and getting to know senior-level leadership of these brands,” she says. “And getting to ask those questions about manufacturing and pricing and getting to know the people that stand behind the product, because a lot of times you’re walking to the showroom, you take a couple of pictures of things that are interesting to you, but you don’t really have a chance to fully immerse yourself in the brand.”
Rachel fully agrees.
“When you’re on a tour, you’re meeting the owner of that brand, you’re meeting the head of marketing, you’re meeting the designer who’s giving the tour, you’re finding out the inside scoop,” she says. “It’s not just products anymore, it is so much more than that.”
Another perk of attending a tour? A built-in Market friend group.
“These potentially are your new besties,” says Rachel. “You get to spend a whole day with people that you would have never met and a lot of the time, I will see my tour group together through the rest of Market. I thought I wore them out already, but no, they’re together and they’re dancing at an evening event.”
Jaclyn also valued seeing how other people on the tour – a mix of designers, bloggers, content creators, and influencers — reacted to the different showrooms.
“It’s just really cool to see everybody’s perspective every time we entered a showroom,” Jaclyn says. “Seeing who was really into particular colors or particular styles, and what was driving everybody’s excitement was very different every time we went somewhere new. Seeing the showrooms and the brands through everybody else’s eyes in the group was just cool.”
You can see what they all said on social with #designinfluencerstour.
Step 4 Explore Showrooms and Exhibits:
The heart of High Point lies in the countless showrooms and exhibits spread across the expansive market district. Take your time to explore these spaces, immerse yourself in the curated displays, and interact with the products. From furniture and lighting to textiles and accessories, you’ll find a wealth of inspiration and discover new suppliers for your design projects.
Step 5 Attend Educational Events:
High Point Market offers a range of educational events and seminars presented by industry experts. Take advantage of these learning opportunities to enhance your design knowledge, gain insights into emerging trends, and expand your skill set. From design principles and color theory to marketing strategies and business development, there’s something for everyone.
Rather than going to showrooms Jaclyn wanted to focus on networking and bettering her business this year. She believes that attending panels allows you to connect with like-minded designers who are eager to engage in meaningful discussions.
“The panels gave me like an all-access pass to people who I had pointed questions for,” says Jaclyn. “So, I would attend their talks and then really spend the time getting to know them, getting to know their business, and being able to ask questions specifically around how they’re running their business or how they’re running their particular offering that I’m interested in setting up for myself.”
“I mean honestly, you really have to show up to events,” adds Rachel. “There’s no way around it.”
Step 6 Embrace the Market Experience:
Beyond the trade show itself, High Point Market provides a vibrant atmosphere filled with creativity, innovation, and design inspiration. Immerse yourself in the energy of the market, be open to unexpected discoveries, and embrace the unique experience it offers. Engage with fellow designers, attend parties and social gatherings, and let yourself be inspired by the collective passion for design.
Attending High Point Market is an unparalleled opportunity to stay at the forefront of the industry, connect with industry professionals, and discover the latest trends and products. By following this Insider’s Guide, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the market, make valuable connections, and return home with fresh ideas and inspiration for your design projects. Get ready to elevate your design game and immerse yourself in the exciting world of High Point Market!