Tips & Insights

Best Practices for Shopping Market

Four design leaders share strategies for finding what you want, quickly and efficiently

By Gail Doby, Business Transformation Coach

Presenting the world’s largest selection of home furnishings, spanning products in every category and style, at every price point, High Point Market is the one place where you’re sure to find that just-right item for your latest project. But when you’re shopping such an expansive event, to find what you want quickly, you have to prepare and organize.

Top designers make a point of coming to Market every year, and each has developed her or his own approach to maximizing their on-the-ground efficiency. I recently spoke with four design leaders about how they prepare, and have summarized their suggestions into a list of best practices that you can use to make your trip more productive and successful.

“We have a running internal list of our preferred vendors and then source antiques to give a more collected feel.”
- Kati Curtis, Kati Curtis Design, NYC, NY

“We, too, keep a master vendor list. We then layer with local custom sources for one-of-a-kind pieces.”
- Vicky Serany, Southern Studio Interior Design, Apex, NC

“Go with a plan to visit the vendors you have worked with historically, and with whom you have established relationships. And, be sure to build in some "wandering time" to see where your muse takes you. Be sure to visit IHFC Interhall, newly developing areas of High Point, and new vendors you don't know. That's how to leave yourself open to discovering new things. Some of your most interesting finds will come from wandering time.”
- Lisa Kahn-Allen, Lisa Kahn Designs, Naples, FL

“High Point Market is a great opportunity for interior designers to not only see the trends, connect with reps by pre-setting appointments, and visit their bread and butter lines but to also stock up on unique items and source new finds. After 14 consecutive visits to High Point Market, I finally implemented an impulse buying day to fill my storage with ‘cash and carry items’ (and of course a few little perks for me as well).

We take room pics and come with a list of client needs. We also have a specific goal each season. For example, we may need to update rugs and focus on a category or find a new upholstery line. Be sure to act fast and always go on opening day.

Start with Julian Chichester (now in the center of town) for sample items with a midcentury vibe. Gypsy Marketplace is a great source for organic, rustic, and ‘multiples’ for styling shelves. GJ Styles shows Timothy Oulten industrial chic items. Then, visit Taracea which is a fabulous resource for organic modern one-of-a-kind tables. From there, visit Theodore Alexander outlet (open all year round). For art, stop by Art and Frame Resource – they sell off the floor and have gorgeous framed limited edition prints. These go FAST. Need some color in your life? Design Legacy has a loaded emporium of amazing art by Kelly O’Neal, fabulous pillows, and a little jewelry for a ‘pick me up.’ Clubcu and Asian Imports are my favorite finds for interesting accessories and import items. Finally – a recent find – go to Texture for one of a kind imports from Indonesia. The thrill is in the hunt.”
- Karen Wolf, Karen B. Wolf Interiors, South Orange, NJ

About Gail Doby

Gail Doby, ASID, is Co-Founder of Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting & Design Success University, as well as business transformation consultant to savvy designers who want business breakthrough & profit-building advice. Download, Avoid Fee Mistakes.