Why HPMKT is One of the Smartest Business Investments You can Make this Year

Business (okay, life in general!)  is all about juggling priorities, and the most successful ones make sure every expenditure-- in time and resource--will return a positive financial benefit.

Attending High Point Market definitely requires, at the very least, a travel investment for most of us, although probably not as much you think.  (More on that to come)

Designers who’ve been to HPMKT recently are vowing to return at least once a year, and here’s why:

 

Cozying Up to Vendors

“It’s all about relationships” is the thing you’ll hear every successful interior designer say when you ask them what truly makes their business hum.  Of course, you know how to cultivate and nurture your relationships with clients and potential clients, but what about your vendors?

Photo courtesy of High Point Market

Photo courtesy of High Point Market

Face-to-face, you have a better chance of negotiating the pricing and terms you want than you might have on the phone with a vendor’s sales department or a rep.  And exhibiting vendors are more likely to make you privy to their newest product introductions before they hit the catalogs, so you’re able to see the new stuff before anyone else.  This kind of sourcing intel is what distinguishes the pros from the online sources and keeps clients loyal. 

 

Discovering New Sources and Lines

While this might seem hard to believe in the digital age, there are still vendors and product lines that you can only see at Market.  Because they value and maintain their exclusive trade-only channels, these are brands your clients probably have never heard of, but are potentially some of your best sources for products you can’t get elsewhere.  Some are small, bench-made “best-kept secrets” of the trade; others might be larger white label manufacturers who’ve recently shifted to a more designer-centric distribution model.  While you can’t (by definition) plan serendipity, for most of us it does seem to happen at least once a Market...you stumble upon that life-changing gem of a supplier or personal connection that would never have gotten on your radar if you weren’t there in person.

Photo courtesy of High Point Market

Photo courtesy of High Point Market

Mingling with your Tribe

Speaking of serendipity, It’s hard to overstate the return--both psychologically and materially-- you’ll get from networking with colleagues in your own business sector.  This is something small firms and solopreneurs sometimes have a hard time doing in their own markets where they might be competing for the same set of clients.   High Point Market, on the other hand, attracts interior designers from literally around the globe, so it’s always a great place to exchange new ideas (and old war stories) with like-minded creatives and role models   (In the Steelyard Designer’s Lounge, for example, some of the liveliest conversations have arisen between designers with similar businesses in different cities.)

Photo: Universal To The Trade

Photo: Universal To The Trade

There's nothing like HPMKT designer events to remind you that we’re all in this together!

It’s Fashion Week For Furniture

Photo courtesy of HPMKT

Photo courtesy of HPMKT

All industries have their big gatherings and conventions; some are more centralized than others.  While there are plenty of other industry shows that you definitely need to attend (especially depending on the particular type of business you do), going to High Point Market is till the traditional “ground zero” for interior furnishings, and your attendance (which you will, of course, publicize in your social media!) signals to your clients that you’re keeping up with what’s new and that you take your industry and profession seriously.

 

...But It’s Not All About Trends

Style and trend forecasts are always an important and popular component of HPMKT, and it’s true that you have a responsibility to your clients to understand what the upcoming trends are and how long they’ll be around.  But even more important is educating yourself on the newest industry technologies and practices.  At every Market, we see amazing introductions like new stain- and wear-resistant materials and finishes, advances in green and low VOC manufacturing, wellness design and aging-in-place practices, etc.  

Photo courtesy of  Crypton

Photo courtesy of Crypton

In the long run, these are the things that will matter to clients more than --(can we be honest?) -- the Color of the Year and the best way to learn about them is to be where the industry gathers!

 

It Reminds You of Why You Became a Designer

Remember the feeling you had when you first went pro with your interior design work?  Whether you always knew this was what you wanted to do or came to it by way of another profession, you were overjoyed to be doing something that finally allowed you to actually get paid to hunt down and assemble beautiful components for a space.  For many designers, their yearly or semi-yearly trip to HPMKT is like getting a booster shot of that exhilarating feeling.

And let’s face it--interior designers are a joyous and inclusive bunch. Connecting with old friends and cultivating new ones is one of the top reasons designers return twice a year, year after year. Why would anyone want to miss out?

Photo: Sunny Norton for Steelyard

Photo: Sunny Norton for Steelyard

As Ruthie Staalsen says in her excellent blog post “6 reasons why Designers return to High Point Market”, it’s one of the best ways to build your business and take it to the next level!

Sandy Hughes