What is the High Point Market? First Time Impressions

Lauren Leiss and Barbarar Rozgonyi at High Point Market

What is the High Point Market?

The High Point Market (formerly the International Home Furnishings Market and the Southern Furniture Market), held in High Point, North Carolina, is the largest home furnishings industry trade show in the world, with over 10 million square feet (1 km²) by roughly 2000 exhibitors throughout about 180 buildings. source: wikipedia

High Point Furniture Market

Have you ever been to High Point? My first show was Fall 2019.

Here’s my take . . .

Wow! What a show!

After leaving my house in Charlotte at 5:30am on Saturday and driving past misty lakes, mountain ranges, cotton fields, and stellar Halloween displays, I drove right into rush hour at High Point.

At first glance, High Point appears to be a rolled-up mix of established retail showrooms, event venues, office buildings, architectural jewels, transportation centers, outdoor plazas, and theaters.

It’s kind of like a major city in miniature – that expands to supersize twice a year at High Point Market. Did you know High Point is the ninth-largest city in North Carolina with 112,000 residents?

In my role as Athlone Agency’s PR Director, my job was to meet with our clients and the media reps who requested showroom tours.

Although I’d met our clients in September, and I’d even taken factory tours, I’d never seen their furniture pieces grouped in collections and on display. And, everyone in the media was a fresh face for me.

Interior Design IRL Nirvana

Did I mention I love working with designers? With 70,000 of them in attendance, I knew it would be a fun crowd.

And, I love showrooms. One of the more intriguing projects in my portfolio is contributing to and editing Drury Design’s home design guide – for 15 years and 30 editions. And, I’ve launched kitchen and bath design PR as well as managed many showroom events, each one a dazzling party, over the years.

Walking into High Point, you get a sense of the high energy that characterizes the design community. This business is about looks, yes, but also about portraying a room’s personality in style, approach and function.

High Point Showroom Media Tours

At each showroom, I met up with our client to go on a walk-through that covered new introductions, show highlights, and perennial best sellers.

Although I’d seen the room set drawings in September, I was astonished by the displays.

Each one conveyed a specific mood, feel and tone that carried a message about the theme. To be honest, I got lost a few times.

It’s incredible to think about how much goes into every High Point market: design, layout, fabric, leather, accessories, show flow, deliveries, photography, video, catering, and on, and on, and on.

As media guests arrived, it was my pleasure to give them a guided showroom tour. Some requested a quick 10-minute whirlwind tour, others were happy to look at everything.

The first questions I asked: What are you most interested in seeing? What future stories or features are you working on that you need ideas for?  Their answers set tour priorities.

SUPERSTARS? OF COURSE!!

Like most mega-events, High Point brought superstar talent to the stage. Watching Diane Keaton’s presentation was a trip. She’s incredibly funny and witty – and everyone loved her.

Erik Qualman, a keynote speaker who spoke on Socialnomics, and I go way back to when Erik spoke at a Social Media Club Chicago event. My LinkedIn post about Erik’s presentation is now up to 1300 views.

Meeting Hutton Wilkinson at Maitland-Smith was enthralling. Hearing Hutton’s inside edition of working with Tony Duquette was the kind of talk you can’t get anywhere else – especially when the speaker is wearing a pink suit with a bunny tail on wear pink day.

Last, but not least, was meeting James, my colleague and our talented Creative Director, in person. Although we’d seen each other on many video team calls, it was wonderful to connect IRL.

As we wrap up our post-High Point projects, we’re already looking ahead to Spring. If you need help with making the most of the Spring show, feel free to reach out to me for a complimentary consultation. Until then, here’s a tip: take the free shuttles to save time and steps.

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