5 Things You Might Have Wrong About HPMKT

Everyone talks about how attending High Point Market can boost your business, but what about the reasons NOT to go?   Turns out many of the common tropes surrounding the show these days tend to be outdated, exaggerated or just plain untrue...

1. It’s too overwhelming and a challenge to navigate  (Outdated)

Okay, we'll admit that HPMKT hasn't physically gotten much easier to navigate, but like many destinations and systems that have grown organically over time, (think the city of Rome, the NYC subway, Napa Valley....), modern technology has made the point almost moot.  Yes, it's a bit de-centralized and you need to have a plan, but onsite apps, tools, and assistance abound!  For general information on getting to High Point, start here .  For a schedule of not-to-miss events and offers specifically for designers, register here and we'll keep you in the know.

2. It’s not worth the expense (Depends)   

You don’t have to read many business books to know that trade shows/conventions/continuing education are an essential component of any business plan.  It’s part of the fuel you need to stay informed, updated, and relevant to your clients.  If you can only go to one trade show, High Point Market is still THE mecca for home furnishings, and, if done right, will be well worth the investment.   But if your business model relies solely on retail trade programs, or you serve a consumer clientele that doesn't find value in a longer-term view when it comes to purchases and trends, High Point Market might not bring the ROI you're looking for. 

3. It’s too much of a hassle to get and stay there during Market, especially if you’re traveling on a tight budget. (Outdated/Debatable)

Can we let you in on a little secret?  That “hassle” is --dare we say it?--actually of part of the fun and shared experience.  Ask anyone who’s been to High Point Market.  Figuring out the lay of the land--and making friends along the way--is a bit of a badge of honor.  If you’re a total newbie, make the most of it, because you’ll be pampered and guided to death, and then when you come back, you’ll be the one kindly tossing out the advice to those people on the shuttle or in the hotel lobby.

Yes, it is true the most conveniently-located hotels in downtown High Point are not only super-pricey during Market but also seem to be booked years in advance; and parking in or near the center of things is a challenge.

But because of this,  a wide range of lower-cost options for transportation and lodging have sprung up around the venue.  Value-priced hotels & motels in nearby hamlets and towns abound, with shuttles running into High Point from every direction.  And, of course, within the last two years, options have expanded exponentially thanks to those three magic words:  Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb.  (Those apps count as words, right?)

What some of these these accommodations may lack in terms of aesthetic style (yes, we get it, you’re a designer!) is--at least in our experience-- more than made up in genuine southern hospitality and above-and-beyond service.  We’ve experienced different types of accommodations over the last several markets from major chain hotels and budget hotels, to an Airbnb farmhouse (complete with its own rooster), and none have disappointed in terms of what we got for what we paid.  Greater High Point is all about supporting this Market and they make every effort to make us all feel at home.  (Shout out to Gwen at the front desk at Country Inn & Suites in Archdale--save a fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie for me!)

4. The really good events are all insider/invitation-only affairs. (Mostly False)

Social media streams and all the HPMKT reports you see in publications and blogs can sometimes make the high-profile designer circuit look like an exclusive club --all those selfies with celebrity designers, all the Vogue-posing and hamming it up in front of the step & repeat, all the A-list panel lineups--but the truth is, most of these events are free and open to everyone with a Buyer's or Designer's badge.

It's really just a matter of knowing when and where they are and planning ahead, since many do require or request an RSVP.  (Yes, there are always a few invitation-only events that take place within certain subsets of the industry, but not as many as you might think.  And in the near future we'll be sharing hints on how to get those invites!)

But you only have to glance at the events page on highpointmkt.org   to realize that there is no shortage of things going on every hour that all sound interesting and essential.  So how do you choose the ones most relevant to you and your Market goals?

A good first step is to sign up for the Steelyard Designer's Lounge (if you haven't already).  In the coming weeks we'll be publishing a Market calendar and updating you on the activities you won't want to miss, as well as let you in on some exclusive/invitation-only events and offers.   We know how daunting it can be to pick and choose where to go and what to do, which is why we've developed lots of ways to help you navigate and tailor your visit to extract every last drop of productivity and fun that you can.

5. One Market visit every couple of years is all you really need. (Untrue!)

HPMKT is like any recurring summit, conference, confab, powwow, or retreat -- the more often you go, the more you'll get out of it.  Like compound interest, the benefits of regular attendance and the relationships you forge and strengthen with each visit build on themselves to create incredible value over time.

Not to mention all of the new programs, features, advances, and renovations that are introduced each and every Market.  Thanks to an ever-growing public awareness created by HGTV, design bloggers, and social media (hello, Pinterest!) , the interior design industry is expanding more rapidly than ever.   Not keeping up with short-term developments on a consistent basis could truly be detrimental to your firm's long-term growth.  Each visit lays the foundation for the next; don't be left behind!

So if you're still on the fence about coming to High Point Market, don't let outdated preconceptions keep you away.  While there are some things about the Market that you can always rely on, it's never the same Market twice and it continues to evolve.
Hope to see you there!

Sandy Hughes