Seasoned Market-goers like Lisa Ferguson, principal designer and founder of Lisa Ferguson Design and StrengthsMentor, have their schedule down pat. “I plan appointments every hour with a two-hour window open every day for spontaneous conversations and to rejuvenate.” She makes the best use of her time by selecting social and educational events that are in the same building as her showroom appointments.
For a first-time visitor, appointments should be spaced further apart. “On average, a new designer will see approximately four to six showrooms a day if their Market trip is well planned,” said Mende.
Wading through thousands of exhibitor listings to determine which ones work with designers can be a Herculean task. But there’s a better way to locate those helpful showrooms, and it’s surprisingly simple.
“Ask your designer peers on social media to private message you their proven favorites,” said Ferguson. “Or ask your favorite designer-friendly reps what other lines they show at High Point Market.”
Jennings Wiebe relies on peer recommendations and also uses some specific Market resources. “Check out the Preview Guides that Market sends out,” said Jennings Wiebe. “You can thumb through these books, and get a good idea from the ads of some designer-friendly vendors to check out. High Point Market also has a great Twitter Chat before Market, so tune into this, as all of these vendors will be designer friendly!”
The High Point Market website offers another easy way to find exhibitors who want to work with designers. In the Find Exhibitors section, simply search by “Designer Friendly” under “Options” to see only those showrooms that identified themselves as designer friendly.
“You may not need an appointment for exhibitors in Interhall or Suites at Market Square, but for larger showrooms, an appointment is essential,” said Ferguson. She notes that many reps carry multiple lines, so you want to ensure they’ll be there to assist you.
Mende highly recommends appointments as well. “If an appointment is booked, there is a guaranteed time available to view the preferred lines,” said Mende. It’s a practice that benefits both the company and the designer. “Showrooms prefer appointments with first-time buyers for many reasons. It allows the company to explain their line, share new introductions, detail buying requirements and get to know the designer's business.”