Come To Shop, Stay Around To Connect

For many design pros, Market is as much about people and ideas as products, by Sandy Hughes, Partner, Steelyard Access

There was a time when High Point Market was all about shopping and placing orders. For today’s interior designers, though, it has become ground zero for gaining new insights on how to build your business, forging important industry bonds, and forming lifelong peer friendships. Chatting with design pros the last time I was at Market, I found a few reasons why.

Exclusive Educational Opportunities

One of the best-kept secrets of High Point Market is how much you can really expand your design business intelligence. Whatever business challenge is keeping you awake at night, chances are there’s a presentation or panel that will give you brain food and insights you won’t find anywhere else.

“Yes, we source at Market, but the real value is in the educational components.”

Yaron and Laura Linett, owners of Formal Traditional in northern Virginia, make a point of attending every High Point Market they can. Yaron echoes what we hear from so many designers when he says, “Meeting designers and industry partners from every facet of our industry provides depth and insight that cannot be garnered in any other way or place. Every time we look at our workload and ask if we can really afford the time off to go to Market, we end up confirming that we made the correct choice as we drive home on Wednesday.”

You Might Just Meet Your Professional Doppelgänger

Let’s face it, at home where your activity is known and visible, it’s not easy to kvetch with your local peers about project issues without betraying client privacy or professional confidences. And while online groups and messaging can be a great outlet, we all know that no digital communication is truly private.

When you’re at a Market that attracts interior designers from literally around the globe, you can enjoy the liberating experience of candidly brainstorming with like-minded creatives and role models. Far away from close competitors and potential prospects, you don’t have to worry about inadvertently “spilling the tea” on your projects, clients, or yourself! “When I first started attending Market,” said Michelle Jennings Wiebe, HPMKT Style Spotter Emeritus and owner of Studio M, “it was a true revelation to discover – and learn from – my professional counterparts in the luxury new-construction niche.”

You Can Practice & Harness the Power of Networking

Designer Laura Thurman has experienced this firsthand. In just three short years after hanging out her Thurman Design Studio shingle in Nashville, she’s already established herself as a rising star and authoritative voice in the industry. She credits her cultivation of High Point Market relationships for launching that trajectory. “Since my visit to High Point, I have had doors open for me,” she said. “Opportunities have emerged that I just could never have foreseen, even in the last six months. I wish that, as a young designer, I had cultivated the skill and tact of networking and marketing myself, and building professional relationships within our industry.”

To learn more about how to optimize your HPMKT experience, Become a Steelyard Insider. We’ll keep you up to date on all the latest info and tips! And when you’re at Market, be sure to drop by the Steelyard Designer’s Lounge at Universal Furniture. We’re always happy to share our favorite showrooms and seminars – and meet new friends!

About Steelyard

Steelyard (f.k.a. TODL Trade Only Design Library) is a product specification platform catering exclusively to the professional design community, and co-hosts of The Steelyard Designer’s Lounge at Universal.