Getting Through High Point Market: Sneakers Rule and Other Tips

Some days/most days: Bobby Berk, Kelly Wearstler and Niya Bascom of ishka Designs all wear kicks. (photos from their Instagrams)

Some days/most days: Bobby Berk, Kelly Wearstler and Niya Bascom of ishka Designs all wear kicks. (photos from their Instagrams)

When we polled a dozen interior designers and asked them to share tips for High Point Market newbies, almost everyone urged,  “Wear comfortable shoes!” Perhaps years ago when comfortable and fashionable were mutually exclusive footwear descriptives, this advice was either heeded or scoffed. But now thanks to athleisure, you can have your cake and eat it too.  If the fashion editors at T Magazine approve wearing a simple pair of white sneakers with a floor-length gown, and call the pairing “ultra-modern,” comfortable footwear is no longer an issue in our industry.

Organizing, planning, and focusing, however, are still top of mind when it comes to preparing for High Point Market. These three words came up repeatedly with designers. Here are their tried and true tips.

  1. Make a list and do your must-see showrooms first -- don’t get sidetracked especially in the big building or you’ll never get done what you NEED to accomplish.

  2. Focus on the things that will work in your interior design business.

  3. Peruse each building’s floor plan and highlight the showrooms you want to visit. Then lay out a walking plan

  4. Learn the bus routes ahead of time; create scenarios that will keep you moving.

  5. Bring your tax id info if you plan on placing orders.

  6. If you like antiques, don’t miss the Antique & Design Center in Market Square.

  7. Bring a bag you can roll so your arm doesn’t fall off!

  8. Take a photo of the showroom name before you start taking pictures there, so you remember where to get this product when you get home and go through the 1000s of photos you took!

  9. Stow cards in plastic biz card or photo holder and use a notebook for corresponding notes.

  10. Bring layers of clothing, an umbrella, and don’t forget your sense of humor.

  11. The parties are a must. Making friends wasn’t hard at all with the ambiance the social events provided.

Bianca and Matt from DiFi Design  (above and leading image ) are returning for their 2nd HPMKT. (photo DiFi Design)

Bianca and Matt from DiFi Design (above and leading image) are returning for their 2nd HPMKT. (photo DiFi Design)

I met Bianca Lafleur and Matthew Culbreth from DiFi Design in the Steelyard Designer’s Lounge back in April. They were HPMKT newbies. We talked; they were inspired and overwhelmed, breathless yet smiling. With one Market under their belts, they offer this bit of hindsight.  “The first few days you’re almost stumbling around aimlessly, just trying to see as much of everything as possible. The best moment for us was on our last day. It kind of felt like all the pieces of the market puzzle started to come together in that we felt we could go home and maximize our new contacts for sourcing and purchasing. “ This time Bianca and Matthew are staying four days rather than three. With focus and intention on a new home project that they are currently working on, they want to make so that they can fit more in, and get to all of the small independent showrooms around town. I can’t wait to see them again.


Who Said What: Thank you to the interior designers who gave tips.

1 Debbie Basnet, Vintage Scout, Jane Hahn, Interiors by the Sea; 2 Jeanette Loretz, JL Designs & Interiors; 3 Nancy Reams, N. Reams Design and Beth Bowerman, Home Front Interiors; 4 Joanne Jakab, Joanne Jakab Interior Design; 5 Beth Bowerman, Home Front Interiors; 6 Deborah Shaffer, D. Shaffer Interiors; 7 + 8 Kelly Knebel, Kelly Knebel Design; 9 Joyce Bradshaw, Pineapple Interiors; 10 Victoria Vandamm, Vandamm Interiors; 11 Bianca Lafleur, Difi Design


The Steelyard Designer’s Lounge at the Universal Showroom is a great place to start your Market. Whether seasoned or green, it is a welcoming space with friendly people, pretty places to hang out, and excellent refreshments.

Sandy Hughes