When I covered the furniture market in High Point regularly, I’d often get asked, “How can I attend?” Alas, you can’t. The international market, which draws some 75,000 industry insiders twice a year, is closed to consumers.
All those stunning new designs are unveiled in April and October, and you can’t get a peek without credentials.
That’s still true – but social media are transforming the High Point Market and the furniture industry, just as they’re transforming the rest of the world. The fall market opens a week from today, on Oct. 13, and these days a digital peek is just a click away. If you love furniture, get ready.
Charlotte interior designer Wanda Horton has been part of the transformation.
A year ago, during the fall market, she was among the inaugural group of market Style Spotters who posted – or “pinned” – their favorite new accessories and furniture designs to Pinterest.
Horton said she realized a few years ago that the digital revolution would impact her profession, just as it has changed so many others. She knew the changes would be important; she just didn’t know exactly how.
Then, Cheminne Taylor-Smith, vice president of marketing for the High Point Market Authority, asked Horton to be a Style Spotter. The spotters would tour the market while the showrooms were buzzing and post their finds immediately. That would benefit market participants, who wouldn’t have to hike more than 11 million square feet of showroom to see the hot new introductions. (That’s not a typo, by the way: It’s 11 million.) And it would offer the rest of us new real-time access.
Of course, this also was new to lots of those showroom folks who guarded their doors zealously and prohibited pictures without permission. “I had to explain to showroom managers,” Horton said. “ ‘I’m going to take this picture ... Then it will be pinned to a virtual bulletin board.’ ”
I can only imagine the blank looks she must have received.
Visit www.highpointmarket.org, and you’ll meet this year’s nine Style Spotters, with the option to follow them through the coming market.
To get an idea of what to expect, check postings from Horton during her stint as a Style Spotter for the fall 2011 market.
You’ll also find links on the site to the manufacturers. Click on one, and you’re likely to find it employs Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or YouTube.
For instance, Horton will blog for Hooker, a Martinsville, Va., company during the coming market, and that company has links to all four on its home site.
Look and linger – and you won’t need that precious market badge.