Is every minute on the ground in High Point during the October International Home Furnishings Market scheduled as tight as your jeans the day after Thanksgiving? Contacts to meet in real life, collections to preview, contracts to sign, and after-hours parties to let off steam make it tough to squeeze in anything more.
If you can find time to sneak away to learn the latest in industry trends and technology, there are definitely some highlights we want to point out. Consider it an investment in staying relevant and making your colleagues think you are smarter than them.
“The Retail Prophet” for Retail Profit
Keynote Speaker Doug Stephens, “The Future of Retail via the Customer Experience”
3:00–4:30pm, Sun. Oct. 14, High Point Theatre
Most of Market’s educational events focus on helping retailers and designers become better-informed buyers and sellers, so they do more of both. Doug Stephens, “The Retail Prophet,” is a renowned author and consumer futurist who advises major international companies on how to transform their businesses to compete as leaders.
He advocates creating shopping experiences that are “1-on-1 intelligent journeys,” connecting online engagement with in-store activity to create brand loyalty in future generations. Google, Walmart, Disney, and BMW have paid him handsomely for his advice, so if you want to get it for free, meet the Prophet, and score an autograph on his latest best-seller, put this seminar on your schedule.
If you aren’t ready to think that far into the future, other notable keynotes include:
- “20/20 Vision – Forecasting Color & Home Trends for 2019/20” with Sherwin-Williams & Fashion Snoops (Saturday, 3:00–4:00pm, High Point Theatre)
- “Materials Matter! The Resurgence of the Physical in Our Increasingly Digital Lives” with Dr. Andrew Dent (Monday, 3:00–4:00pm, High Point Theatre)
Get to The Point
Last April, the High Point Market erected an elegantly appointed tent at the teeming corner of Commerce and Main streets. The Point is a comfy place to chill, meet up with friends, have a nosh, and learn something illuminating while resting your tired feet.
A steady stream of classes, podcasts, and parties are featured every day. Some talks have more general appeal, with standouts like “Dominate the Digital,” “Become an Influencer,” and, on the last day, “What Now? Maximizing Your Market Momentum.”
Take a selfie against the live plant wall and neon #HPMKT sign with your new best friends Kathy Ireland, Erin & Ben Napier of HGTV Home Town Heroes, or the Crypton Pooches, “a peaceful pack of comfort dogs” who stop by for a snuggle (Sunday, 3:00–5:00pm).
If you are dazed and confused about where you should be, there are friendly Market Ambassadors to help you find your way. It’s a great place for a newbie to start their wild and crazy High Point adventure.
Next Generation Now
If you are under 40 or work with those lucky youngsters, you know they are always looking for an escape to transcend the influence and advice of their ancient colleagues. The Home Furnishings Association’s Next Generation Now (NGN) is their ready-made peer group, full of smart young things busting loose and taking over the industry, shaking up their businesses and skyrocketing them into the future.
NGN hosts several events designed for networking and learning. “Lunch with Leaders” involves a small group sharing their most significant challenges with (over 40!) industry leaders who offer solutions for success. While the October lunch is full, there are plenty of other inspiring activities to check out, including the Saturday BASH from 6:00–9:00pm at the Bienenstock Furniture Library.
If an appointment doesn’t show, or a much-anticipated product launch bores you silly, turn that found moment into a learning experience that can transform your business and reap untold benefits!
We'll be around at Market all week, so stay tuned for more...follow us on Twitter @KreberCreative to keep up!