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What to Know About Attending High Point's Furniture Market

If you are an interior designer, I strongly encourage you to visit the High Point Furniture Market (HPMKT) in North Carolina at least once in your design career. The market happens twice a year in April and October and is a week-long affair where designers from around the world come to see what's new in the world of interior design. That's right: just like fashion designers, furniture brands also introduce new items, fabrics, designer collaborations, and more every season.


This year was my third year going to the market with my sister, who is the founder of Melissa Hart Interiors. Following are some of the tips I've learned from our past visits.


Plan your travel early

HPMKT is not a trade show you can plan last minute, or even two months out. I joke with my sister that we really need to begin booking our hotel for the next market as soon as each one ends (e.g., 6 months out, since we only go once a year). If you wait too long to book, all the hotels will be full and you'll be faced with sketchy Airbnbs and rooms at Red Roof Inns.


My advice for travel plans:

  • Register in advance (it's free!), but remember, this show is only open to the trade (e.g., designers or resellers).

  • For flights, you can fly into Charlotte or Raleigh, which are both about one hour from High Point. Or, if you are okay paying a little more, you can fly into Greensboro which is just 30 minutes away from the show.

  • Book your hotel or Airbnb early to ensure you can book a place you like and at a reasonable price point.

  • Staying in High Point is easy because it's right in the middle of everything, but we like to stay 30-minutes away in Winston-Salem because frankly, it's much cuter. We stayed in Winston-Salem's historic district in 2022 and loved it.

  • If you're traveling with a group, consider renting a house like many of the design teams and reps do.

  • HPMKT has an excellent bus route available to get around town since the vendors are spread out everywhere, however my sister and I always rent a car because for us it's easier. Plus, one of her reps has been kind enough to give us a free parking pass the last two years. If you rent a car, just be aware that most parking in High Point is paid during market (anywhere from $10-$25 for the day). I would also book any rental cars early to ensure you have a reservation.

  • For food, my sister and I like to book a couple dinners in advance, but most nights you'll probably be so exhausted that you'll be happy to just grab something fast before going to bed. On that point, many of the showrooms offer meals, snacks, and cocktails throughout market, although you can buy lunch at the food trucks, food stands, and restaurants around town like Penny Path Cafe if you need.

  • Regarding the duration of your trip, five nights is a good amount of time. My sister and I like to get in on Thursday night (the day before market opens) and depart on Tuesday late afternoon. This gives us four full days of visiting showrooms, plus a half day before we head back to the airport. It's a ton of walking and you will definitely be exhausted by the end of it, so I'd think hard about going for longer unless you have a good reason to!


Make an itinerary

Having a game plan of which vendors to see, which days to see them, and in which order is critical in my opinion. There are close to 2,000 vendors registered at market, so it won't be possible to see them all. My recommendation is to scrub the list of registered vendors on HPMKT's website to determine which ones you want to see, map out their locations, and then come up with an itinerary that will enable you to see as many of them as possible.


NOTE: some vendors require appointments to see their showrooms, including Verellen and Lee Industries, so it's also important to know which showrooms to book tours with in advance and which reps you should book appointments with from a relationship-building or relationship-maintaining standpoint.


For my sister and I, we prioritize antiques first since they go quickly. Honestly, it would probably be better to go one day earlier, since many of the antiques are already sold by the time we start on Friday (although we still find good ones!). I try to keep the same itinerary year-over-year, but also find that I need to shift things based on appointment availability and based on whether vendors have changed locations.


Here is what our itinerary looked like this year:

  • Day 1

    • Antiques, incl. Schwung Home, Golden Oldies, and Circa

    • Vendors that require driving, incl. Cisco Home, Verellen, and O'Henry House

    • Standalone vendors around East Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, incl. Made Goods, brands in the Codarus building, Julian Chichester, and others

  • Day 2

    • Market Square, incl. the Antique & Design Center, Dovetail, Hudson Valley Lighting, and many others; many rug vendors are also located in this building

    • Standalone vendors on South Lindsay St., incl. Lee Industries and EJ Victor (the latter sells Ellen Degeneres' line)

  • Day 3

    • IHFC, incl. Left Bank, Moe's, Loloi, Celadon, Global Views, One for Victory, Regina Andrew, Noir, and many others

    • Showplace, incl. Four Hands, Rowe, Classic Home, and others

  • Day 4

    • Commerce & Design, incl. Visual Comfort, Arteriors, and Jaipur

    • 200 Steele, incl. Highland House, Taylor King, Kravet, and others

    • Standalone vendors on North Hamilton St., incl. Baker & McGuire, Vanguard, the MT Company, Gabby/Summer Classics, Interlude, Sochier Marin, etc.

  • Day 5

    • Appointments with Universal and Theodore Alexander before heading to the airport

If you have any questions or would like more information on how we plan our trips to market, let me know in the comments.


Happy nesting,

Christine



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