High Point Furniture Market
It is sometimes difficult to believe that the largest home furnishings trade show in the world takes place twice a year just an hour away. The High Point market contributes an estimated $5 billion dollars to the state’s economy every year and brings people to North Carolina from all corners of the world. An event over 100 years old, our Alva has been attending since the early 2000s. She’s been part of the show as a student, a buyer, a designer, and even a couple of times as an exhibitor. Despite having attended similar shows in New York and London, High Point remains her favorite. The show is closed to the public so unless you’ve been fortunate enough to attend, it can be a bit of a mystery (or a huge intimidation to those going for the first time). That’s why we asked Alva to share with us a few of her favorite finds from this year’s show and tell us why she finds this particular market so compelling. Read on and be sure to reach out on our social media if you have any direct questions, you can always find her there!
The International Home Furnishings Market is open for 5 days in both April & October, when do you usually go?
Alva: The first day of the market is always hectic and the last day folks start packing up early so I try and go one of the days in between. When I was buying I would be there for the whole week because the market is SO HUGE you truly need that much time to shop. Now I typically visit for just a day in order to stay up-to-date with how manufacturers are merchandising and what the style trends are. The sheer volume of product still intimidates me but it is absolutely enthralling to see the variety of styles available.
We hear you usually try to attend the speaking engagements with celebrity designers. Who did you see this year?
Alva: This year I was front row at a talk by Justina Blakeny from the Jungalow. She has a big, beautiful personality and we have very similar approaches to social media so it was a joy to hear her speak about building her brand. Having that said, it is way more fun to run into the “who’s who” in actual showrooms where you can see what they’re digging in real life. This year I quite literally ran into Nina Campbell while she was buying rugs and admiring pillows from a Charlotte based textile artist.
What are the showrooms you try to visit every time?
I’m a sucker for SugarBoo. Their style is much more country or shabby chic than I would go for as a whole but their products are just so darn endearing and sweet, I have to stop by and see what’s new. This year they introduced notepads with Marie Antoinette sort of characters saying “Oy Vey”. I swooned.
Julian Chicester’s showroom is a particular favorite as I worked with him closely in a previous life|career in the UK. A supremely talented guy, he creates statement furniture that will outlive all the trends.
Mill Collective is an ever-growing exhibition space that features some of NC’s most talented craftspeople including friend Erica Gimson and Durhamite Elijah Leed. This year Erica curated a shop space with items from other North Carolinians like the hugely popular East Fork Pottery and the cheerfully colorful Grey Goods Studio. I definitely added a few items to my personal wish list while in their super cool former factory setting.
Did you see anything else cutting edge and exciting that we simply must know about?
Always! I had no idea that local company Nomadic Trading could actually manufacture custom rugs until I had a chat with the owner while lusting after some fuzzy ottomans in our favorite color.
San Francisco based furniture manufacturers Selamat have received the rights to collaborate on multiple designs using patterns and finishes by the originator of Art Nouveau, William Morris. They’ve managed to put a spin on Victoriana that incorporates history in a whimsical and casually comfortable way that I really adored.
We can’t wait to see what the furniture capital of the world introduces in October. Stay tuned!