Admittedly, this wasn’t actually my first High Point Market. I first went to Market when I was 22 and working at an interior design firm in Charlottesville, but, at the time, it was my first post-college job, my work trip, and it was all a blur.
So when one of the publications I write for asked if I wanted a media pass, I jumped at the excuse to go. I was already headed to Edenton, NC for the weekend for a blog trip, so popping over to High Point, NC afterwards seemed like a no-brainer. And I’m so incredibly glad I went. But I have a few things I learned navigating my first High Point Market as an adult (a real adult, not a 22-year-old adult) and going on my own, rather than with a veteran designer leading the way.
What to Know Before Your First High Point Market
Since this definitely won’t be my last Market, I’m keeping a running list of things I want to remember for next year. I’ll probably add a few more as I think things through, but here’s what I’d do differently next time.
- Dress appropriately. Comfortable footwear is a must. Pack as little in your bag as possible. I had to bring my laptop to get work done in the Press Room between exploring and sessions, and, whew, that was weighing me down.
- Go for the weekend and at least two more days. I was only there late Sunday afternoon through Tuesday afternoon, and I wish I’d been there for Saturday. Then, leaving Tuesday seemed like too soon. Because I went to so many sessions, I felt like I was cut short on time to wander. And you’ll want to wander.
- Take advantage of the sessions. Speaking of sessions, take advantage of all the incredible knowledge there is and all the amazing people you can hear from! I attended a number of sessions on everything from art commissions to textile trends, and they were all so fascinating.
- Use the app. The app is so useful for planning out your schedule. Download it and live by it.
- Familiarize yourself with where buildings are on day one. You don’t want to get caught trying to find the Codarus Building or Odette with five minutes until an event. Figure out where it all is on the first day. And know that everything is walkable.
- Make a plan ahead of time. It didn’t even occur to me to set up meetings with anyone until I got there. I’d basically ignored all the email invites in my inbox because I had been slammed with work, and, next time, I would try to fit a few meetings and coffees in, beyond just seeing friends and people I know.
- Stay in Winston-Salem or Greensboro. There are incredibly easy buses to figure out from both towns and it’s far less expensive. Skip the High Point hotels.
- Not a designer? Tag along with a friend who is. I got a few, “You’re here alone?” from people…which I thought was odd. Until I realized a lot of designers bring a friend with them. Heck, even my dentist today told me that he has gone several times with his mom and aunt, who both work in the furniture and antique business.
Trends I Noticed at 2023 High Point Market
I won’t go too deep into this since the entire point of going to Market was to scout trends to write about later, so you’ll see this all somewhere, at some point. But I noticed one common theme: what’s old is new again. It seemed like the same trends were recirculating yet again—and not even decades old trends. I’m talking things we’ve seen in the past ten years. Curvy boucle sofas. Palm everything. Hollywood Regency influence. Rattan scallops. Black and white. It’s all back, or perhaps it never left.
One of the sessions I went to discussed how trends may not be a thing anymore. I wish we’d say this is because we’re all just doing what we love, focusing on timeless decor, and decorating for ourselves, not others. But, in reality, they said it’s because of TikTok. Yes, TikTok.
Apparently everything is circulating on TikTok at a moment’s notice and all it takes is one person picking up on something, making it a video, and it going viral for everyone to think it’s cool all of a sudden. That’s happening over and over again all day. It’s just micro-trend after micro-trend. Because of that, it’s becoming harder to forecast (think Devil Wears Prada turquoise style). And, that, my friends is why looking at High Point Market 2023 is kind of like looking at 2013 or maybe 2019. I have no idea. It all feels like a time warp to me.