Does High Point Market Live Up to the Hype?
- By Sara Brennan
- March 10, 2020
As we approach April, it seems the buzz is all around High Point Market.
Should you go? Is it worth the cost, investment and, let’s be real, hassle?
I’m here to set you straight by sharing five major takeaways I have from attending High Point Market over the past few years and I hope this will help make your decision easier.
Takeaway #1: The Education & Panel Discussions
Yes, education is the very first takeaway I want to highlight about High Point Market because, quite frankly, it’s been the most impactful to me personally.
I’ve attended two Power Talk Friday sessions with LuAnn and her crew and they have been absolute game changers for my business. Also, the very first panel discussion I EVER attended was one with Sandra Funk, Kelli Ellis, Veronica Solomon, and a few other rockstars and my mind was totally blown.
As a #BabyDesigner, I was literally taken back at the fact that these amazing, talented and incredibly successful people were willing to sit up there and share their experiences with an entire room of people.
Being in this room listening to this panel discussion, writing notes like crazy, feeling the inspiring energy was worth its weight in gold.
Since this moment, I’ve attended every educational opportunity and/or panel discussion possible in my visits to High Point and will continue to do so, but beware, this takes some careful planning because there are truly SO MANY amazing discussions.
Ironically, less than two years after attending my first Power Talk Friday and panel discussion, I am now sitting in the seat sharing my knowledge and experience with the room. I could have never dreamed this would happen so quickly, but I am so grateful for the opportunity to ignite someone else’s fire like that first experience did for me.
Keep an eye out for details to come on where I’ll be and when!
Takeaway #2: The Vendors
Of course, we all attend the market to see our vendors, sit our butts in the furnishings we are sourcing for our clients, establish scale for specific pieces we’ve had our eye on online, and touch fabrics, textiles and anything else we can get our hands on.
It is incredibly important that we pay visits to our vendor showrooms and sales representatives so that we can build a strong relationship and partnership with them as we build our businesses together.
It’s very valuable to put a face to a name and sit down and discuss your goals for the year, their buying minimums, shipping costs, etc.
Don’t forget, we are our vendor’s client, so just as we want to be of great service to our design clients, our vendors want the opportunity to serve us too. Let them show you around, offer you a drink and provide you with opportunities to help you grow your business and make your life easier.
You also want to block off some time to browse around and find new vendors that are in alignment with your style, price point, location, etc.
I always set aside a few hours to explore and really enjoy the time I spend doing this. I’ve found some of my favorite little gems this way and probably would not have if I didn’t set time to explore.
Takeaway #3: The Networking
Similar to the panels and education opportunities, it’s important to attend some of the many parties, book signings, tours, etc. so that you can meet other designers and build your professional network.
I’ve literally bumped into Carson Kressley, Candice Olson‘s Buyer, Marie Flanagan and Kathy Kuo at these events (and totally held back from being a crazy fan-girl), but I’ve also met some of my close friends such as Natasa Jones, Darla Powell, and LuAnn herself this way!
You will find that you will be offered champagne or a cocktail at any time of day at High Point Market. However, it’s not really THAT kind of party (unless you want it to be).
These gatherings are primarily fantastic ways to mingle and interact with other designers who you can connect with and learn from. As I mentioned above, you can take tours in small groups, you can attend cocktail parties, and you can even get loose on the dance floor, if that’s your jam.
The opportunities to meet and connect with others are there and you should absolutely take advantage of them while you’re in High Point!
Takeaway #4: The Inside Scoop
When you attend market, you have the opportunity to be on the cutting edge to your clients, showing them the hottest, newest things in the design world along with what trends to expect for the coming season.
This is a GREAT opportunity to assert yourself as an authority to your clients and colleagues as you post your High Point experience online and on social media.
When you walk the beautiful showrooms, every designer will have a different perspective or take on what they see and I see this as a powerful opportunity to share your unique design thoughts with your clients in the form of blog posts, Instagram and Facebook posts, videos and stories.
To prepare for this, I would highly recommend you bring a notebook and a rechargeable battery for your phone. You will want to document so much of your trip that I am guessing you will last longer than your phone’s battery will— so be prepared.
Also, you will want to look nice for your videos, but keep in mind that you will be walking A LOT at market, so you may want to put your “pretty and stylish” shoes in your bag and wear something comfy for the times you are not capturing yourself on camera.
Too nervous to photograph or video yourself at market? No problem, come back and create a blog post about what you saw and post your photos that way. The point is that we are sharing what we’re seeing to create High Point Market buzz!
Takeaway #5: The Mindset
Attending High Point Market may be a HUGE step outside of your comfort zone, but do it anyway.
Taking this leap of faith and traveling somewhere like this on your own may cost a lot of money and feel extremely overwhelming, and in some ways, it is.
However, the rewards from the connections you will make, the people you will meet and the confidence you will gain from what you learn while attending market will far exceed any hesitations you may feel early on.
Staying home and playing it safe will keep you in the position you are currently in. You may be content with where you are right now, but I am guessing you are reading this blog and listening to A Well-Designed Business® because you are looking to grow, both personally and professionally and I am living proof that High Point Market can push you forward if you let it.
When you learn something and know it to be a fact, you immediately carry yourself differently and appear more confident about it.
If a client says to you, “Are you saying I won’t be able to sit in any of the furnishings I’m buying from you before I buy?” you can respond, “No, but I just came back from market and sat in the exact furnishings you are considering and they sit beautifully. They’re exactly what you’re looking for. Also, I spoke with the manufacturer and they just improved the production process to be even better than it was before, you have nothing to worry about.”
You’ll find your clients will trust you because you are casually confident about your response because you know it to be true. There’s no “maybe” or “well, I guess I could go shopping with you…”
That confidence will serve you very well on many levels and most likely save you a lot of time and back and forth conversation.
When you attend the panels and seminars I mentioned before, you will gain so much perspective and knowledge that you didn’t have before you attended market.
You will make lifelong friends and find your “people” who you can stay connected with on social media for years to come, supporting each other all along the way, and I love that part.
Those are my five major takeaways from attending High Point Market.
So yes, if you’ve heard the hype about it, it’s true – it can be a magical experience if you let it!
If you are attending or considering attending, reach out and let me know and I’ll be happy to let you know my schedule of events and we can meet up!
I’d love to say hello and learn more about you and your business, so don’t be afraid to come up and say hi, especially if it’s your first time. I’m here to welcome you to my tribe with open arms, just like so many did for me, especially LuAnn.
Show up and be excellent, friends. See you at High Point Market this April!