Tips & Insights

Michelle’s Market Must-Sees

By Michelle Jennings Wiebe, ASID

For interior designers, furniture retailers, and manufacturers, there really isn’t any place better to spend two weeks of your year than High Point Market twice a year. For me, this is the premier destination show for the furnishings industry! I’ve many times called it the equivalent of New York City’s Fashion Week, as High Point Market reigns supreme for launching new collections and inspirations while also providing the best southern hospitality for networking and just having fun!

So, here’s my top recommendations for what you don’t want to miss…

I typically travel to Market with three to seven members of our design team. It is our tradition to kick off Market with a celebratory dinner at Emerywood Fine Foods. My favorite is the Waffle-Crusted Ashley Farms Chicken Breast served over Smoked Bacon Gnocchi with Steamed Broccoli and Maple Cinnamon Béchamel. Of course, their dessert specials are also to die for; after all, we have to store up for the miles of walking ahead of us at Market!

Century Furniture and Bernhardt both top off my list of must see showrooms due to the overall creativity that goes into their new collections and color stories. The thought that goes into their showroom vignettes is awe inspiring! Ideas can be drawn from the gorgeous artwork, accessories, light fixtures, floral arrangements, bedding, and window treatments that are styled into their furnishing showrooms.

“Vanguard … great cake pops … Lexington … best lunch”

Other inspirational furniture destinations include CR Laine (always colorful and on trend), Vanguard (their wide variety of finishes is a designer’s dream – oh and they have great cake pops, too), Hickory White/Lillian August (Lillian’s color themes are legendary), Theodore Alexander (a showroom I consider up and coming), Hickory Chair (picking up steam and I hope returning to their glory days), Thibaut (cheery uses of fabrics and wallpaper too), Caracole (love their names for furniture pieces), Lexington (wide range of products and one of my go to accounts for two decades – plus, you’ll find the best lunch served here), Jonathan Charles (European and stately – and a great pub!), and Stanley (still in love with their new branding and new showroom – hands down the best building in High Point!). And I always love to visit Emporium Home (fresh modern looks) in Interhall in the IHFC building.

Sensational lighting vendors which I never miss are Currey & Company (great Market introductions each time), Arteriors (glam and whimsy mixed), Visual Comfort (the Kelly Wearstler Collection is my favorite), and Fine Arts Lighting (sculptural art in lighting). My favorite art showrooms include Natural Curiosities (many different price points and looks), Harold Charles (one of my favorite galleries based in my hometown of Tampa), and Kevin McPherrin Gallery (for exquisite original artwork).

“The Proximity Hotel … is THE place for running into the “Who’s Who” of Market”

Our firm typically rents a home to stay in, which has been perfect for our team. I’d highly recommend this to anyone attending Market with four or more people. It’s a great chance for building camaraderie and fun memories (including watching Jimmy Fallon in our pjs after evening parties!) We have SO many hilarious and legendary stories about our stays at Market. Maybe someday I will get to share them?! Otherwise, of course the Proximity Hotel is a great hotel, but it’s almost impossible to get reservations, especially for the first half of Market. We do enjoy dinner here at least once or twice during Market, as it’s always THE place for running into the “Who’s Who” of Market! And we also enjoy the historic JH Adams Inn, which is typically the spot for the invitation only Architectural Digest Party.

“Don’t miss the various educational seminars”

My favorite program is “Style Spotters LIVE!” sponsored by Crypton Home Fabric, which is traditionally held on Tuesday mornings. Here, the nine Style Spotters, during a full visual presentation, discuss their top picks, trends they are seeing, and what to expect to see the following Market. I have been honored to moderate this lively panel for two years now, and it is a must see for designers and vendors! Mark your calendar (you must RSVP at www.highpointmarket.org and a full breakfast is provided.)

I’d recommend attending furniture showroom parties, especially if it is for a special launch or anniversary. There are MANY of these going on, all during Market. At these, you will run into so many friends, or meet new ones. Our team usually heads to one (or two or three) of these almost every night during Market! The parties range from cocktail hour style to full blown dance party (best examples include Four Hands and Surya!)

Lastly, don’t miss the various educational seminars, CEUS, or the behind the scenes tours available at High Point Market. I have learned so much from other interior designers, furniture designers, and leading business people. I try to mix in at least two or three of these while at Market. Again I’ve left with invaluable information.

Well, I hope you are over the moon to go to High Point Market! I am! Remember your comfortable shoes and get ready to make some outrageous memories and walk many miles. I hope to see you at some of my favorite must-see places!

Michelle Jennings Wiebe is President and Founder of Studio M, a national award winning interior design firm based in Tampa, FL. Her design specialty is luxury residential new construction, and she is also well respected for her work in multi-family condominiums, corporate headquarters, medical offices, and small scale hospitality spaces. In addition to being a regular High Point Market attendee, she serves as Style Spotter Emeritus and as a member of the High Point Market Authority Board.