The biannual High Point Markets are among the interior design industry’s most influential events of the year, drawing designers, product makers, and major media outlets from around the world to what many call the furnishings capital of the world, High Point, North Carolina.
As we know, COVID-19 derailed the 2020 industry event calendar, and the Spring 2020 Market was cancelled altogether. The High Point Market Authority managed to pull off a remarkably successful Fall 2020 event, considering the serious limitations on how many people could attend at once, the lack of amenities that could be provided, and the overall strain of keeping the facilities safe and sterilized. In fact, the Fall 2020 High Point Market became an example of how to bring back interior design trade shows, which the industry relies on heavily to learn about new products and strengthen networks. After the Fall 2020 Market, the industry’s event calendar began to slowly pick up steam.
Fast forward to June 2021 and the Spring 2021 High Point Market raised the bar yet again, pulling off a five-day event (June 5-9, 2021) with impressive attendance, an increased focus on innovative product collaborations and creative work-arounds to provide amenities to its eager attendees.
Reunited, and it Feels so Good
Overall, attendance was at appromixately 80 percent of what it was in Spring 2019, pre-COVID. This marks a vast improvement from the Fall 2020 attendance, which was only at approximately 40 percent of its usual numbers. Even though attendance didn’t reach peak numbers, the enthusiasm of attendees was off the charts.
Jane Dagmi, Editor in Chief of Designers Today, says “Market felt like a family reunion and most everyone was feeling grateful to be gathering again. The most blatant highlight was being about to see complete faces and smiles. ‘Are you hugging?’ was the first question out of my mouth and the answer was 99 percent yes. Designers who came seemed to stay longer than usual and many of the vendors whom I spoke with said they were never busier and several remarked it was the best market so far.”
Laura Beck, Director of Brand Development at Thom Filicia Inc., says, “Overall I would say that Market was wonderful – a lot of excitement and energy around being back together as an industry and everybody really hopeful for the future.”
What Made Spring 2021 High Point Market Special
The High Point Market Authority went to great lengths to make sure its Spring 2021 event brought something fresh to the table. One of the standout exhibitions was the Design Oasis, an exterior pavilion dotted with the latest in outdoor furniture created and curated by Allen and James Interior Design, Dwell by Cheryl Interiors, Stacy Garcia, and Karen Elizabeth Designs, using outdoor furniture exclusively from fair exhibitors. The area was surrounded by food trucks, providing an essential element that was missing from the Fall 2020 market. This Spring’s Market also included a number of exciting collaborations, well covered by Elle Decor. One of our favorites here at Design Manager was the joining of creative minds of Thom Filicia and the team at Feizy Rugs.
(Thom Filicia’s collaboration with Feizy Rugs. Pic credit: Thom Filicia Inc.)
We were able to catch up with Thom himself, who added: “I’ve been going to High Point Market for about 12 years now and the energy at this market was unlike any other. We were all excited to be back together – to see new product, reconnect with friends and colleagues and support our industry. I was personally able to launch new furniture with Vanguard Furniture, Bedding with Eastern Accents, Artwork with Wendover Art Group and kicked off my newest partnership with the launch of the Thom Filicia Home Collection for Feizy Rugs."
What Spring 2021 High Point Market Reveals About Today’s Supply Chain
While Spring Market showed nothing but positive movement forward for the interior design industry, it also revealed some important facts about the current state of the supply chain, which was been at a tremendous bottleneck over the last year as demand for furnishings has been high, and supply has been limited due to production and logistical problems.
Katie Piper, Design Team Manager at Bria Hammel Interiors says, “While it was still a bit different than previous years, we were grateful to have in person conversations with brands and enjoyed getting back to touching and feeling product again. Generally, a big topic of conversation was lead times, supply chains and forecasting when we can expect to see changes.” While no one can provide anything more than a personal opinion on this matter, Business of Home did provide some helpful insight that may be an indicator of a smoother supply chain in coming months. According to their research, many vendors that would usually purchase product during the main Market did so in the Pre-Market, which took place from April 25-27. The Pre-Market happens before each main Market so that a select group of furniture retailers can have a first look at the product launches set to debut at the upcoming Market. If vendors took this opportunity to order product earlier than usual this cycle, which was already delayed due to the ongoing impact of COVID on the industry calendar, that should be a sign products will be more readily available to interior designers for their clients.
From all evidence gathered, The Spring 2021 High Point Market was a success and if history is any indication, a bellwether for what the industry can expect for future events as the world slowly continues to open up and business resumes as it did pre-pandmeic. We look forward to what the rest of the year brings – The Las Vegas Summer Market is scheduled to take place from August 22-26 – and we will continue to cover the interior design events calendar here at the Design Manager blog, so check in regularly or follow us on social media.