Twice a year the city I live in hosts a large market for furniture, High Point Market, for 80,000 people. Among those are 106 different countries, and 10% will be International Visitors. These people, will have available to them over 10 million square feet of showroom space spread over 180 buildings with over 2000 exhibitors and tens of thousands of products displayed. The people who attend own furniture stores, internet stores, import/export businesses, interior designers, furniture designers, and furniture sales reps.
I have a degree in Interior Design, so the Furniture Market has always been an exciting time for me. Over the years, I have worked doing everything from setting up showrooms, answering phones, serving ice cream and cookies, to what I do now...a sales rep assistant. I work, only during market weeks, for a wonderful couple that are from Chile. They have hired me to work for them for the last five years or so. The building above is their main showroom, Natuzzi, and I work for them in another showroom 2 blocks away.
It is an amazing site to see so many people, so many different things all in the stretch of one week. This is the biggest event every year for our city, so it is very important that we do our best to make everyone comfortable in our small city.
There are so many people that come, there is not even enough parking spots downtown. The city runs special buses out of the beautiful transportation center below to pick up people at the mall, where there is more parking.
At night, they have concerts in front of the building below. They are usually lame, one-hit wonders...but I guess the people like it because the tents are always packed with people.
Below is the inside lobby area of the building that is above. It is like a gigantic mall with every type of furniture, coverings, art, accessories that you could ever dream of.
Our city has hosted this event since 1909. Then, it was called the Southern Furniture Market. That was back when the majority of furniture shown was made here in North Carolina. At this point, most furniture is made overseas. Recently, a trend has started wanting more furniture made in the USA. The Made in America Pavillion opened several markets ago and is now up to 32,000 square feet.
There are even celebrity designers now that show up to sell their own line: Nate Berkus, Martha Stewart, Kathy Ireland, Paula Deen, just to name a few. This market, they have established their own High Point Market Style Spotters board on Pinterest. These style spotters will be "pinning" all the great, unique, and one-of-a kind items they see. Plus, they will be "pinning" current and new trends seen in the home furnishings/decorating industry.
I am so lucky to have the opportunity to hand over the mom job to MY mom for a week while I spend every day with real-grownups! Not to mention all the great furniture and people from all over the world. There is nothing like it!