Tips & Insights

Insider Insights: Education

How to plan to learn at Market

High Point Market is known for great furnishings, but did you know it’s a leader in trend and business education, too? Topics range from trends to business intelligence to sales, technology, and retail management. But how do you balance the need to see new products with a desire for educational enrichment? It’s all in the planning. A few long-time Market goers share their insights with us.

"There is a wonderful intimacy to presentations at High Point, where you can actually engage and speak with the lecturers."

World class insights into the world of design

Designers John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon, the peripatetic duo behind Madcap Cottage, have been coming to High Point for 15 years. “John and I always attend a lecture or two during Market,” says Nixon. “There is a wonderful intimacy to presentations at High Point, where you can actually engage and speak with the lecturers.”

Although Loecke and Nixon run design projects in several countries and find inspiration in their global travels, they make High Point a priority. “Market offers something for every style and taste,” says Nixon. “Where else can you interact with such a world-class cadre of experts? We have listened to everyone from Aerin Lauder and Tobi Fairley to the editorial team at Traditional Home magazine.”

So how do they fit it all in? Planning and discipline are key. “John and I are very organized, so we create a master list of everything we want to see and do at Market,” says Nixon. “And we are quite religious with the schedule.”

Expert industry analysis and business-building insights

Veteran retailer Dianne Ray, president of Garden City Furniture, first attended High Point Market as a child in 1947. With decades of experience under her belt, she has her routine down to a science. “I allow time for two seminars each Market, and try to plan those that are early morning, lunch or late afternoon,” says Ray.

As a businesswoman running a multi-faceted retail operation, she appreciates the variety of content available. “The scope of the HFA seminars allows me to focus on a particular area that’s important to my business at the moment.” One of her ‘don’t miss’ events is led by venerated industry analyst Jerry Epperson of Mann, Armistead and Epperson Ltd. Twice a year Epperson presents the most recent research on the state of the home furnishings industry, and how it will affect business. “I definitely try to schedule Epperson’s talk on Sunday,” says Ray. “It gives you a perspective on the retail climate.”

Your gateway to world of knowledge

Both Ray and Nixon recognize the progression in Market’s educational scope and content. For Ray, who’s seen the programs evolve over her lifetime, the improvements are clear. “The educational offerings are much better today,” says Ray. “I bring back concrete learnings that I can apply to my business.”

For Nixon, it’s not only the quality of information, but also the reach. “The lectures at Market are becoming more international in scope and are really speaking to a global audience,” says Nixon. “I feel like I have traveled the world without having left High Point.”

This Market, plan to learn

But don’t take our experts’ word for it; experience High Point’s educational opportunities for yourself. First, consider adding a day to your Market schedule to accommodate the addition of seminars, workshops and panels. Then, to find the topics that are best for you, go to our Events page, to explore your opportunities. We’re sure you’ll come home from Market with great new ideas to inspire, enlighten, and advance your business.