As the saying goes – “build it and they will come” – High Point Market may be its very definition. Nestled just outside Greensboro, the sleepy town of High Point, North Carolina (population 107,741), nearly doubles in size (and electricity) as it twice annually welcomes one of the world’s largest furnishings industry trade shows, aptly named: High Point Market.
Interior designers, wholesalers, retailers and plenty of associated vendors, gather together for a week of trade, education and commerce. The stats don’t lie regarding the power of “Market”: 100+ countries, 2,000 exhibitors, 11.5 million square feet of showcase space and over 180 buildings are all transformed into a world of vision, color and vibrancy.
I caught up with one of this year’s High Point Market 2014 “Style Spotters,” Jeanne Chung, to get the low-down on industry trends, and what Market means to small business attendees like her.
Q: How many Markets have you been to?
A: This is my fourth time attending High Point Market.
Q: How did you become a 2014 High Point Market Style Spotter?
A: I have a blog called Cozy Stylish Chic, and am the Color and Trends Moderator for the Google+ interior design community of nearly 30,000 members worldwide, so I’ve been able to heavily network my brand, my influence, my affiliation with the Google+ interior design community, the blog, and my core interior design business as vehicles. The panel that chose the Style Spotter team looked for influencers with a sharp eye for design, a social media presence and geographically spread out around the United States and Canada. I happened to fit the bill.
Q: What is the allure of Market for a West Coast designer?
A: Attending market is great for both expanding your network and meeting people in person—people whom you’ve been networking with online and are finally meeting in person! It is also the only place you can see so many great lines in one place, attend a wealth of seminars in both design and business, and socialize at after-market parties with friends.
Q: What are some trends you are seeing this year?
A: Deep, rich colors are in, especially colors with substance such as ruby red, saffron yellow and teal. A mixing of design periods and styles also seems to be important as well as fusing classic shapes with modern materials.
Q: What trends are on the way out, or need to be?
A: I think we’ve hit our peak on “reclaimed wood” and that whole Restoration Hardware look. It’s been too prescribed and replicated now. Also—no more big, chunky, oversized sofas!
Q: You spent twenty years of a former life as a fashion designer. Does that give you an advantage as an interior design professional, and blogger?
A: Absolutely. And it does so in both. Collaboration, trend recognition and an understanding of color are critical components to both fashion and interior design. The trends in both also parallel one another, with fashion preceding interiors by about a season. Being able to analyze the trends coming down the runway gives me a better understanding of what to expect from furniture and home décor manufacturers several months in the future.
Q: What is the difference between High Point Market and other shows on the West / East Coasts?
A: High Point has a distinctly “American” vibe. Meaning, you will see trends on the West / East Coast maybe a year earlier, but High Point is where the meat and potatoes of design happens in North America. The most marketable ideas from shows in Miami, New York and Los Angeles get translated here into business plans that require scale, and mass appeal, across the 50 United States and Canada. But there are still plenty of innovative designs and trends going on here at Market, too.
Q: We’re seeing a lot of “influencer” collaborations between big retail brands and individual influencers this year. What does the Jeanne Chung Collection look like in a couple of years, when you’re asked to spruce up a national brand?
A: Bold pops of colors, and a respectful, albeit risky, blend of old and new. I’m often challenged by international clients to blend historical and modern elements that span borders and geographies. It’s a fun challenge—and that’s the direction we’re seeing design going anyway…The ability to combine styles and looks in a fresh, cohesive and lasting way. It’s a challenge, but I love it!!
High Point Market runs twice annually in High Point, NC. The next High Point Market is April 18-23, 2015. Jeanne Chung is the mother of two stylish young men, and an interior designer in Pasadena, CA.
Check out more of Jeanne’s work and musings at:
Learn more about High Point Market at: