Tips & Insights

Pro Tips for a Most Productive Market

10 ways to maximize your High Point experience

by Donna Vining

High Point Market is like no other show in the world. I say this after traveling to events from across North America to just outside of Paris. In High Point, you’ll find more than 2,000 showrooms spanning 11.5 million square feet of exhibit space. And you’ll find them in one of the prettiest settings anywhere. In spring, the landscape is filled with blooming dogwoods, azaleas, and flowers of every kind. In fall, you’re greeted with beautiful trees in glorious shades of orange, amber, and red. And in both April and October, the weather is absolutely fabulous.

As wonderful as the scenery is, though, for us home fashion fans, the gorgeousness begins when we step inside one of Market’s 180 buildings. Let me repeat: That’s 180 buildings, 2,000 showrooms, and 11.5 million square feet. This is the world’s biggest home fashion show, and its size can be daunting. So here are 10 quick tips to help you have the best possible Market experience.

1. Book your flights, rental cars and hotel rooms EARLY.

As soon as I get back from one Market, I book for the next, and as soon as online registration opens (usually mid-July for Fall Market and mid-January for Spring), I’m signing up for my pass. Remember, more than 75,000 people visit this small city each Market. Flights and hotels tend to fill up early. You can find some great resources in the Plan Your Trip section or you can complete all of your travel planning with one phone call to Market’s Concierge Service, Travel Quest Inc. Just dial 336.434.3867 and ask for Lee.

2. Make appointments with all of the showrooms you want to visit.

This one is crucial to maximizing your Market productivity. All showrooms are open from Saturday through Thursday, but this is a very busy time for the staff and reps. Plus, some showrooms open a day early, on Friday, and some start closing down on Thursday morning. No matter when you stop by, the exhibitor wants to give you a good tour and answer all of your questions. PLEASE call 6-8 weeks in advance of Market and schedule an appointment! Everyone wants a win/win. Help yourself by planning prior to Market.

3. Group your showrooms together so that you stay in one area for a morning or a day.

Showrooms can be a mile or more apart (there are free High Point Market shuttles, so not to worry on that issue). Save yourself travel time by shopping one area at a time. Go to the Plan Your Trip section for a map showing the location of all Market venues, then group your appointments by building and shuttle stop.

4. Make sure your phone and/or camera have plenty of space and battery.

I find it easiest to take a picture of an item without the tag showing and then take a picture of the tag. That way I have all the information I need to show clients, including details of construction, sizes and prices. Be sure to charge each night, and don’t forget to bring your chargers and/or extra batteries with you each day (another item for that rolling tote).

5. Have a small spiral notebook with a hard cover.

I like something 5 x 7 so it is easy to carry. Plus, I carry a couple of pens and a highlighter or red pen so I can mark things with stars for certain clients. I keep these small notebooks for years. I also tab certain sections with client’s names, and sometimes I attach a paint swatch or a fabric swatch so I am prepared if I see something perfect for a particular client. And don’t forget your business cards, checks and company information – you never know what you might purchase on the spot!

6. Wear layers of clothes and be sure you have rain gear.

The weather is usually glorious, but no one can guarantee there won’t be a little shower, and temps do drop when the sun goes down. Another great reason for that rolling tote – mine always has a raincoat and an extra pair of shoes.

7. Bring a rolling tote.

Yes, many vendors today can give you a jump drive or a password to their website. But there are many new companies that have wonderful brochures, material samples, and catalogs – information you may need for a meeting the day after you get home from Market. Oh, and your tote can carry an extra pair of shoes so you can make a quick change, when needed.

8. Give yourself windows of extra time to explore new showrooms!

Each Market there are new companies and they all have exciting items to offer. Don’t miss the latest and the greatest; plan to discover.

9. You can eat and drink all day long for free!

Most showrooms have drinks and snacks or provide meals during the day and early evening. I love this because I don’t have to take valuable time to locate refreshments and I have time to rest my feet! And what harm can one little snack size Baby Ruth do?

10. Wear great comfortable walking shoes!

Some people might rank this number one. When I first started coming to Market, I usually ended the first day at shoe stores in the mall, searching for that perfect pair. Keep your feet happy so you can keep shopping without dropping!

High Point Market is a truly unique and amazing event. You will find so many great ideas and great resources here that I’m sure you’ll return home tired but inspired, excited, and reinvigorated. Just follow these tips to reduce the exhaustion, ramp up the inspiration – and have a great time at Market!

Donna Vining, NCIDQ, FASID, IIDA, RID, CAPS, REGREEN Trained™, Spring 2015 High Point Market Sponsored Blogger,