Doing My Homework: Here’s Why I Go to High Point Market Every Year
From food to fashion and everything in between, we’ve evolved into a culture of online shoppers. It’s understandable – after all, it’s just so easy to shop from home whenever we like!
Of course, one downside to the growth of the online shopping industry is that it has actually forced many brick and mortar stores to close altogether (quite recently Toys R Us and Boston Store). Even the furnishings industry has been impacted, as a steep rise in retail sites offering all sorts of furniture and decor has caused local and national furniture store chains to close their doors for good.
And while the convenience of shopping online is undeniable, buying your home’s furniture this way requires a pretty big leap of faith.
Of course, selecting and purchasing quality, furnishings is never easy for the average homeowner – there are so many choices involved, and quality can be hard for the untrained eye to gauge. Unfortunately, shopping online actually adds more complications to that process: Is that table you’re eyeing online more ivory than white in person? What if the accent color in that rug looks orange-y in real life instead of pink, as it appears on the website? And are the cushions on that sofa firm and supportive or will they make you feel like you’re sinking into an abyss once it’s delivered and you sit on it for the first time?
While the appeal of direct access to products online is completely understandable, it’s these kinds of unknown factors that continue to fuel the popularity of High Point Market for interior designers like myself.
High Point Market is the world’s largest trade show drawing furniture industry professionals like designers, architects, and buyers from all over the globe to High Point, North Carolina, It’s a twice-annual event taking place each spring and fall to give interior design trade professionals an in-person, detailed look at the latest products created for the home furnishings industry.
For interior designers like me who believe it’s vital to be able to see and touch the furnishings, decor, lighting, rugs, fabrics, and wallcoverings we’re recommending to our clients, it’s an absolute must to go out of our way to attend High Point Market at least once a year.
That’s because, in addition to creating beautiful designs for my clients’ spaces, a huge part of being a designer is navigating the many thousands of furniture makers in the industry to find the best possible products for my clients. I not only vet these companies to find just the right styles – I’m also weeding out the good from the bad; the well-crafted pieces from the inferior ones.
By personally scouring the showrooms at High Point Market every year, I’m able to stay on top of trends (this last Market was full of emerald greens and gorgeous whitewashed woods, by the way!), and keep my finger on the pulse of which vendors are producing truly well-made pieces.
After all, I’m responsible for my clients’ investment. Making sure we spend it wisely is a part of my job description and I take that very seriously.
Case in point: I recently completely refurnished a client’s home with items I found at High Point Market. They’d originally furnished their home themselves from top to bottom using one of the most popular online home furnishings retailers, but much to their disappointment, the quality just wasn’t holding up after only a year. How disheartening to realize that the time they’d spent making selections and the money they’d believed was reasonable to spend on furniture had been wasted!
Even though they’d bought from one of the most well known online retail furniture companies, the quality standards of those kinds of products vary widely. The furniture is typically mass-produced, which keeps a lid on their operating costs but at the cost of good craftsmanship and high-quality materials. Furthermore, although these retailers often show their items as being made in the U.S., they’re in fact using many components that have been produced overseas to inferior standards of quality and then merely assembling those components domestically to earn the “Made in the U.S.” credential.
All of that adds up to shoppers like my clients flying blind when it comes to the true quality and longevity of the furniture they’re investing in when buying from these retailers.
On the other hand, because I attend High Point regularly, my clients are all able to rest assured the furnishings I recommend for them have been seen, touched, and sat on by me personally. I have evaluated their fabrics in person for qualities like thickness and softness and I’ve seen that the materials and finishes they’re getting are made to last.
That experience with their online furniture purchases allowed my recent clients to recognize the time- and money-saving value I brought to their project. Because I’m essentially a professional connoisseur of high-quality furnishings and decor (and because I don’t represent anyone brand or line of furnishings), I was able to act as their trustworthy, unbiased expert, advising them on the best products in which to invest their project’s budget.
Over a year later, these clients are still beyond thrilled with the quality, beauty, and comfort of the furnishings I selected for them.
As I work to exceed all of my clients’ expectations, going to High Point Market is about much more than just being among the first to see the industry’s latest beautiful offerings (though I’ll admit that’s a nice perk!). It’s actually about doing the heavy lifting for my clients, finding the best quality furnishings for them so they never have to worry about what they’re getting.
By doing my homework at High Point, the pieces they buy don’t disappoint on arrival. After all, I’ve already seen for myself that their table isn’t more ivory than white and that their sofa’s cushions feel perfect!
How about you? Have you ever been unpleasantly surprised by an online furniture purchase?