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8 Things I Prep for High Point Market Every Year

Nancy Lane Interiors: 8 Things I Prep for High Point Market Every Year

It's that time of year again! High Point Market will be returning full force this October, and dare I say showrooms will be back at capacity baby and I have a funny feeling they will be pulling out all the pre-COVID stops this time next month, y'all! That means evening concerts are back, more food readily available while you're walking miles daily through showrooms...just more of all things design fest than we've had for a few years now and I am ready for it!

I go into a lot of detail here for introverts going to High Point for the first time, but today I'm sharing 8 Things I Prep for High Point Market Every Year plus some quick tips for both new and seasoned HPMKT travelers! Read through to prep for your trip, and let me know if you'll be there too.

Nancy Lane Interiors: 8 Things I Prep for High Point Market Every Year

8 Things I Prep for High Point Market Every Year

What to Wear at HPMKT

Business casual but comfortable clothes and extra cushy comfy shoes are a must!! Wear comfortable clothes you would wear to a client meeting and the most comfortable shoes befitting your outfit. Extra cushy are best, and blister band-aids will always be a good idea to stow away in a corner of your bag! Personally I love cute and comfy but if you can only do one while at HPMKT, choose comfy. You'll thank yourself (and me) later.

Use a Crossbody Phone Case

Join me in using a crossbody phone case like this one from Bandolier. This keeps your phone out, you hands free until you need it, and ready at a moment's notice to take a photo of a product, vs. digging it out of your purse or pocket every time (I just learned this after a few years, so no judgment there). Get the one with a place for your lipstick and your cards, and you truly have everything you need right there!

Bring a Tote Bag

Bring a thin cotton or recyclable bag for your inevitable collection of papers, cards, catalogs, etc. Most of the bags you get free from a lot of the vendors are typically made from jute, and may have been sitting in a box for awhile, so they do have a particular wet grass scent and are quite coarse. My own bag always gets used, when I remember to bring it with me, and there are always catalogs, flyers, cards and little trinket freebies like measuring tapes or lip balm that you'll find yourself collecting throughout your days in High Point.

Nancy Lane Interiors: 8 Things I Prep for High Point Market Every Year

Watch the Weather, and Bring it All Anyway

Bring a small umbrella in your suitcase, even if there's no rain in the forecast. And a water resistant jacket if that's how you roll. You may not take it every day but at least you'll have it at your hotel. You really don't want to be walking or standing around in the rain if you can help it! Planning is key for High Point and that includes watching the weather reports for HP prior to leaving for NC. When we say High Point Market, it really means the whole city of High Point, not just one or two buildings like in Dallas or Vegas markets. Translation: you're going to be walking all over to visit showrooms, hence the comfy shoes and weather appropriate gear. In the past I've switched up a day's itinerary based on the forecast, switching to larger buildings like Showplace or the IHFC where there are multiple floors to peruse rather than walking or catching buses outside between showrooms.

Designer Tip: most people will also change their plans accordingly so deep breath and lean in, if you're like me and hate crowds. In this case, my expert advice is to start at the top floor of said building and work your way down.

Nancy Lane Interiors: 8 Things I Prep for High Point Market Every Year
Rain jacket, packable tote, phone and charger, check!

You Can Never Have Enough Chargers

Take two portable chargers for your phone, or more if you have room. You will run down the battery very quickly, and you will use both in the course of a day (I've done it many a time). And on that note, BIG TIP HERE, make sure to turn your phone to airplane mode when you're actually in the showrooms, especially the larger buildings, so it's not searching for a signal for hours.

If you need to keep in touch with your people, you can always turn it back on for texts or calls, especially if you are taking a shuttle to your next stop, but just remember to turn it back over to airplane mode.

Nancy Lane of Nancy Lane Interiors and her gorgeous designer pals.
Two of my favorite friends in life...Lauren of Lauren Louise Designs, ME, and Madi of Madison Nicole Designs

Check Restaurant Hours for Closed Nights

If you're not renting a car and plan to walk to dinner once you take the shuttle back to your hotel, trust me, this is a good thing to know! Ask the front desk in the morning where to walk to dinner nearby, and then look up their hours, because these restaurants just don't have the staff to be open every night. Pick your restaurants by those nights/hours to avoid missing a place to try simply because you decided to try it the one night a week they are closed! Ask me how I know. You can look over the menu during the shuttle rides too.

There's plenty of food at market to try as well, so if you're more extroverted, you have a huge amount to choose from, as well as many after parties to attend! Showrooms will typically have signs or flyers announcing any after hours dinners, dances or parties. I'll admit I'm usually so tired at the end of the working day, because let me tell you going to High Point is work, that by six every day I'm ready to find the nearest restaurant with a comfy seat and a glass of wine. Although I can usually be persuaded by my designer girlfriends and if I hear disco music any time of day, introverted or not, I'm hitting that dance floor y'all, or moving furniture to make room for one. #notsoallegedly

Connect with Other Designers

Plan to go out with designer friends you can't see in person very often! This is my favorite part of market every year :) One of the greatest gifts of my life has been following my passion into the business of design and with that, getting to know other incredibly talented designers and tradespeople from all over the world, including this special group of ladies below and their spouses like Brian...

Nancy Lane Interiors: 8 Things I Prep for High Point Market Every Year

We use markets as an excuse to get together and have annual reunions but we also gathered together last year for instance for the wedding of Blair at Mat (see that post here in case you missed it). The relationships with this particular group of ladies and a couple of other design besties are my lifeline in all things but definitely in this crazy life of being a designer and running a business.

Besides seeing people you already know, High Point is definitely a key place to meet new connections. If you know me in real life, you'll probably have heard me say "the bashful go hungry" and believe me, it's true. So if I see someone I've admired from far away, I will usually dig down deep and approach them to introduce myself and tell them how much I love their product, how much I admire them or what an influence they've been to me in this business.

That's how I met LuAnn Nigara the first time at HP years ago. I saw her in a showroom and was determined to say hello. The only reason I didn't burst into tears when I did was because the girl in front of me was already crying while talking to her and I was in my head saying "keep it together Nance so she understands what you're saying." ha! She's divine by the way. I recognized Stephanie Kraus on a shuttle bus and she was more stunning in person than in photos and very sweet. Then there was the time my peep April had a conniption when we sat down for a quick coffee and Ashley Gilbreath and her husband sat down next to us. It was kind of Seinfeld like because April was texting me across the table swooning about Ashley and I kept kicking her under the table to say hello until finally I turned to Ashley, apologized for interrupting their lunch and said "my friend April here is your biggest fan and is too shy to say hello but I gotta make this happen for her." She was divine by the way. I think you get my drift.

Bottom line: If you can name them in the design world, chances are they'll be at High Point in the fall. Say hello! Chances are you'll meet a new friend and they'll appreciate your love for them.

Know Your Own Limits, and Time Your Trip

My sweet spot for timing is traveling there on Friday and returning home on Tuesday, even though they are open until Wednesday. 12 hour days on your feet and trying out furniture, talking to vendors, and mentally working through your projects is exhausting, and based on my experience, I am ready to head home by Tuesday! I definitely need time at home to decompress after each trip to market too!

Designer Tip: I block days on my schedule to cushion both sides of my High Point trips. Days prior to pack and get organized as well as afterwards to recover - organize catalogs and data we bring back so that we can update vendor lists and follow up on products or new collections and new vendors.

Make sure to look over my more detailed guide here, and by all means, enjoy your time at High Point! If you see me, please be sure and shout hello!

Nancy Lane Interiors: 8 Things I Prep for High Point Market Every Year


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