Recipe for a successful market trip
I prefer to feel, smell, and sit in everything that I recommend to my clients or bring into my shop. This helps me to make the best recommendation to you based on how you want your furniture to feel. Also...I love to get outside my comfort zone when sourcing furnishings for clients' varied homes and lifestyles.
1. What's my favorite market?
Hands down...without question...my favorite market is High Point, North Carolina! It has everything -- in the best and worst ways. I actually traveled to High Point before I took the plunge and opened the shop. Being a design junkie -- I wanted to see the trends before they hit mainstream. As a "worst case scenario" planner -- I wanted to know what on earth I was getting into opening a brick and mortar store. (P.S. I still don't know what I was thinking but loving every minute!). All of the market trips have their unique boutiques that I enjoy visiting and learning from. Knowing when to visit each one has been fun to figure out and getting a feel of when is the best time to visit for future market visits. Thankfully I've always found something from each that I was obsessed with and brought back to the shop!
2. What do I do at market?
Typically my market trips go like this -- earliest AM flight in the world because I'm eager and like to be resourceful of every minute away from my kids. I pick favorites and hit those vendors first. Take photos of what I love -- make sure I DO NOT photograph what I don't like. I bring lists of items needed for projects and dedicate a good portion of the trip to crossing off "must haves". I inspect quality, note actual color, and measure anything they don't make note of online (like distance between dining table legs so I know how many dining chairs I can fully tuck in). The last hours/days of the trip I block off for "discovery". I get to just wander and explore whatever catches my eye.
3. How do I stay comfortable?
It's not unusual for me to walk 7+ miles on a market shopping day...which I'm sure isn't as much as the diehard shoppers. No brainer -- comfortable shoes are KEY. I used to have this rule to pack a different pair of shoes for each day so that I'd get blisters in different spots. But, thankfully my shoe shopping has improved (Thanks to The Mix Shoes) the last year and now I can rock the same pair every day without trouble.
4. Why on earth do I go to so many markets?
Four letters: FOMO. I like to keep up in the design world and source pieces for the shop before they become mainstream. My clients love to get first dibs on new rug designs, fabrics, and art before anyone can order it online. It keeps me challenged to produce the absolute best design for my clients without trying to fit the mold of what's trending online.
5. What price points am I shopping for?
Focusing on bringing in original, high quality, memorable furnishings will lead to a better experience than focusing first on price point. I've been in luxury showrooms and thought "meh" -- I don't always feel the appeal compares to something else more approachable. Things I will pay extra for: oversized scale (you can buy pretty furniture from Target to West Elm, but if the scale of the piece is too small for the room -- it's nice to upgrade in price point for the size that will make the room feel larger and welcoming), craftsmanship that physically takes an investment of time (I'm a sucker for hand-knotted rugs that take 6+ months to construct), and originality (I crave to be different and have something one-of-a-kind).
6. What's next?
I'm kicking off 2019 with a market trip in Las Vegas and can't wait to show you what I have in store for that! Markets I want to cross off my list for 2019 include Round Top, Texas and a Boutique Hotel conference (my dream project!).
7. All text and no pics?
Verellen and Cisco have beautiful showrooms that I literally spend hours in. A lot of my photos are geared toward capturing a textile, profile, or unique feature for a project, client, the shop, or home (sorry Andy, not sorry, hah). But, I did find a few good pics from my market trips from 2018 below of different showrooms and looks!