02 November 2011

high on high point (a market primer)

my girls, ashlina and crystal, capturing a high point moment...
as a lover of all things decorative, what's your favorite type of place? shops and showrooms, right? nothing better than going somewhere where a bunch of pretty things are all gathered together for your visual (and shopping) delight. now imagine an entire city, devoted to furniture, lighting and decorative accessories. that's right- not a shop, not a showroom- but an entire CITY full of pretty things! too good to be true, right? well, such a city exists, and that city would be high point, north carolina, where maison21 had the privilege of spending a few days last week during the bi-annual extravaganza known as the high point  international home furnishings market (every october and every april), and lets just say we were OVERWHELMED with furniture fabulousity.

the hub of high point, the IHFC bldg, 3.5 million sq feet of furniture.  the place to start exploring during market- i spent over a full day here alone, and still didn't see everything- maybe because half my time was spent being lost ;-)
according to wikipedia, there are are over 3000 exhibitors in 188 separate buildings with over 11 million square feet of showroom space at high point. i think i managed to take in about 1 percent of that while i was there- seriously- but luckily, what i didn't get around to visiting, other people did... approximately 70- 80 thousand people attend market each fall and spring, and let me tell you there is something incredibly synergistic to have that many people gathered in one spot for the same purpose.  think the energy of a stadium rock concert, but focused on furniture. i'm still riding on a contact high! incroyable!
220 elm, one of the 188 showroom buildings in high point, and one of the sponsors of my trip- everyone here was so fabulous and hospitable; more to come in a dedicated post!

besides all the amazing home furnishings, one of the highlights of market was how welcoming everyone was. i don't know whether it was just good southern manners, or if everyone was just in as good a mood as i was, but virtually every person we came into contact with couldn't have been nicer, or more accommodating.  from cab and shuttle drivers, to waiters to showroom employees, and especially the organizers of the market, the high point market authority,  everyone, was faultlessly friendly and delightful! truly the best of southern hospitality!
wait- is that north carolina whizzing by outside my taxicab window?
the authority has set things up well, so even though this market is in the middle of nowhere (no offense to the locals ;-), it couldn't be easier to navigate, as well as have any questions a newcomer may ask readily answered.  there are shuttle buses directly to market from the two major airports serving the city, charlotte and greensboro/triad, as well as shuttles from all the major hotels in the region (we stayed in greensboro, 15-20 mins outside HP proper).  once in high point, there are shuttles running all over downtown to take you anywhere you need to go, and lots of information kiosks scattered about to answer questions and provide maps. easy peasy...  except for that big IFHC building- you need to be born with an internal GPS unit to navigate that place!
where do we want to go today? doesn't matter- the peeps at high point will get you there
it wouldn't be possible to talk about the nice people of high point, without talking about the fabulous people flew in to market from places far and near... so many friends from the world of interiors,  it was kinda of nutty at times. it really seemed that every single blogger, decorator, twitterer, PR person, manufacturer, retailer, and editor was there. it was power networking to the ten thousandth degree!   i couldn't be more grateful for the wonderful friends i got to meet for the first time (like erin from elements of style and michelle from my notting hill), as well as to be able to spend time with old friends whom i'm lucky enough to occasionally see at design events,  like stefan from architect design, marissa from stylebeat, and julia from the editor at large (there are way too many friends both old and new to list here, so pardon me if i didn't list you all- it doesn't mean i don't love you!)
my #HPmkt crew: (l-r) moi, Julieann of Create Girl, Jill of Material Girls, Cassandra of Coco + Kelley, Ashlina of The Decorista, Crystal of Plush Palate & Rue Magazine, and Katie of The Neo Traditionalist & Matchbook Magazine.
i have to give a special shout out to my group of homegirls, with whom i spent virtually every waking moment, and who made this adventure so much freaking fun- by day two i was hoarse and almost lost my voice just from laughing so much. a nicer, prettier, funnier, more intelligent, group of women i can't imagine, and it is a privilege to call each of you my friend- you ladies rock!
with my girls in the high point market authority media center- we are actually all waiting for our phones to recharge before stepping out to the next event. can't live our lives offline, can we?  and how would we tweet, facebook and blog without our phones? this was a common theme of high point- i don't think i've ever asked so many strangers if they had somewhere where i could plug in my phone!
from the minute i got into high point, until the minute i left, it was one big rollicking party- and i mean that literally- there is good food and drink available everywhere at the market, and parties galore. once again, these folks really know how to take care of you, and make you feel special!
my literal first stop at high point was a b-52's concert, where i kept it klassy, southern style, with a bud light in a can (love that the b-52's still rock after all these years- i first saw them over 30 years ago as a teen in san diego)
the architectural digest party, where it seemed every single name in the world of decor was in attendance (via The Decorista)
you never know who you'll run into at high point- like meeting up with eddie and jaithan at the ka-ray-zee four hands party (also via the decorista)
so have we whet your whistle, and made you want to attend the next high point market this spring? yes? but we haven't even got to the really good part yet- all the goodness of a city devoted to pretty things!

like this:
color at palacek
and this:
chromey and brassy goodness in c. jere reissues at artisan house

and this:
hable construction vignette at hickory chair
so y'all come back for more posts dedicated to all the furniture-y goodness of high point- we have lots of amazing things to share, so if you aren't already convinced to book a flight for spring market, you soon will be!



looks like an amazing party, I mean buying trip! can't wait to see more!

Teresa at Splendid Sass said...

Thanks for sharing, Christian. I hope to make the next one!
Love the images of all of the blogging world. Looks like y'all had a real good time!

My Notting Hill said...

I was so happy to finally get to meet you in person!! High Point was huge, wasn't it? Now that I'm reading everyone's post I'm realizing how much I missed.

Mademoiselle Poirot said...

Seriously? 3.5million sq feet full of interiors and furniture? That sounds like heaven... And I envy you for meeting lots of friendly people (taxi drivers? waiters?) as that would be a rare find round here ;-) A great post! Love from London xo

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Was so good seeing you there! I'm just bummed I missed the B52s!

Jessica@The Aestate said...

What a fabulous posse! Looks like you guys had a blast. And geez, I knew it was big but I didn't THAT big. Thanks for all the great pics!


PS-Don't forget to enter 'The Perfectly Imperfect Home' book giveaway on my blog!

MJH Design Arts said...

Yes, more details!! Mary

5th and State said...

i missed it this year and love all these posts. and i missed another opportunity to meet YOU!