The role, relevance—and registration rates of exhibitors, buyers and designers, alike—for home furnishings market events are on the rise again, post-pandemic. Even in today’s hyper-digital world, where it’s not just common but de rigueur to connect and conduct business remotely via screens, some exchanges and experiences are better left in person.

Count among these the home furnishings industry’s many biannual trade shows and events—High Point Market, in particular.

“We invest in markets because they are where we show our customers who we are and why they should buy from us.“ AUSTIN CRALEY, LOLOI RUGS

“We invest in markets because they are where we show our customers who we are and why they should buy from us—and this is especially true for us at High Point Market,” Austin Craley, vice president of sales, Loloi Inc., told Rug Insider.

The company’s High Point showroom, located at IHFC D-320, spans more than 30,000 square feet. This expansive presence makes it possible for  Loloi, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, to host during Market week a calendar-packed series of showroom festivities, new brand launches and a major sponsorship with High Point Market Authority (HPMA) for this season’s keynote panel presentation. Dubbed “ENCORE Keynote: Designing a Business that Endures,” this will be a follow-up conversation from last spring’s full-house event, featuring design stars Joanna Gaines of Magnolia Home with fellow designers Amber Lewis and Brigette Romanek—all of them Loloi license brand partners. The event is scheduled for the opening day of Market, April 13, at 11 a.m. in the High Point Theater.

Spring 2023 HPMKT Keynote event hosted by Loloi, featuring Joanna Gaines (center). 

Loloi’s High Point Market showroom event with Sax Celeb Kenny G for the company’s 20th anniversary.

“We are very excited to work with Loloi again for this encore presentation of Joanna Gaines after a successful keynote with her last year,” said Tammy Nagem, CEO of HPMA, a non-profit organization that coordinates High Point Market. “Any time we can get 900+ market guests to be part of an event we host is always positive for everyone.”

Another recent and rugs-related keynote speaker who drew a similarly-sized audience, “and was a huge success,” Nagem noted, was celebrity interior designer, author and Emmy-nominated host of Netflix’s “Queer Eye” reality TV show, Bobby Berk. His area rug licensing partner Karastan sponsored his presentation at the Fall 2023 High Point Market in conjunction with the launch of new design additions to their co-branded line (which originally debuted in Fall 2021).

Fall 2023 HPMKT presentation featuring Emmy-nominated host of Netflix’s “Queer Eye” reality TV show, Bobby Berk—area rug licensing partner of Karastan.

“While showing off new and exciting products across all our categories is our primary focus, we also view the Market as an opportunity to connect with our customers in a way that you just can’t replicate in an office or meeting setting,” said Bart Hill, senior vice president, Karastan/Mohawk Home. The company’s showroom is located in IHFC, D-443.

Hill continued: “Our customers are the lifeblood of our business and we want to make sure we fully understand both the challenges and the opportunities in their business so we can collectively work to ensure mutual success in this ever changing market. Plus, it’s always nice to see everyone in a more relaxed setting, which tends to include their favorite cocktail in hand—but after all business has been discussed, of course.”

As a category, area rugs is a proven traffic driver for High Point Market, which is organized by HPMA and AndMore (formerly International Market Centers), an omnichannel wholesale marketmaker that owns and operates more than 20 million square feet of event and showroom space collectively across High Point,  Las Vegas and New York City. 

“Rugs are a critical resource to both the design industry and retailers, not only giving interior designers the opportunity to design from the ground up but also for retailers to offer choices for consumers to update or redesign their spaces,” said Bob Maricich, CEO of AndMore. “We’re proud to have many of High Point’s leading brands within our properties.”

AndMore’s High Point Market component spans almost 1,100 home furnishings exhibitors, of which 60 carry area rugs. Among these are Rug Factory Plus and Well Woven, both of which are opening new showrooms in the International Home Furnishings Center (IHFC), and Orian Rugs, which is making its spring market debut after cutting the ribbon on its IHFC showroom in October during the most recent High Point Market.

On site, IHFC is home to one-third of AndMore’s rug showrooms, making it “the central, most-trafficked building at High Point and the second most rug-populated destination at High Point,” noted Maricich, adding that Suites at Market Square is the category lead with 40% of all AndMore rug resources.

Nagem echoed Maricich’s sentiments, citing that for HPMA, area rugs represent “a very important category for us —and becoming even more important as we’ve seen a boost in designer market presence.”

She said today, 60% of buyers who High Point Market registers categorize themselves as designers; the 40% balance register as retailers and/or product stocking businesses.

“60% of buyers who High Point Market registers categorize themselves as designers; the 40% balance register as retailers and/or product stocking businesses.“ Tammy Nagem, CEO of HPMA

By the numbers, more than 200 of HPMA’s 2,000 total exhibitors include area rugs in their assortments, she added.

“Designers come to High Point Market to find the resources they need not only in furniture but also rugs and home décor,” Nagem said. “Concentrating on the whole home model makes rugs a crucial part of what we do and a great component to the Market itself.

Consider the amount of space needed to properly showcase a full line of area rugs, she continued. “Our showrooms are uniquely equipped to handle large home furnishings like rugs and displays that present the product in inspiring settings. We have the square footage needed to present many SKUs and host showroom events for customers.”

Aside from the annual flooring show Surfaces, the only national biannual market on Kaleen’s trade show agenda is High Point. The carpet, broadloom and hand-crafted area rug house shuttered its other showrooms around the country by end of 2023—including Atlanta and Las Vegas—but opted to maintain its space at High Point as “a necessary investment,” explained Monty Rathi, chief operating officer of the Dalton, GA-based soft flooring supplier.

“High Point Market attracts the kind of audience of specialty designers, upscale retailers and industry trendsetters that we cater to with our tailor products and customization services,” Rathi explained. 

Kaleen designer Tamara Day at the company’s High Point showroom event.

“Since last year, we’ve shifted our focus as a company to concentrate on high-end rugs, broadloom, and custom offerings. The strategic decision allows us to channel our resources and expertise into areas where we can provide the most value, best quality, and sustainable innovation to our customers, many of whom we see at High Point. We want to be available to them where they want to be.” 

Based on registrations from designers and buyers, Spring 2024 High Point Market is poised to be “very strong,” Nagem said.

“Our traffic has been getting higher and higher with every passing season, post Covid, and that trend continues this spring. We’re seeing not just national but international shoppers coming back, and we’re expecting this Market to be especially strong,” she said. “It’s a simple fact that our industry needs to be experienced in person. Suppliers and manufacturers need to showcase their goods in the right setting to be able to tell their story in the right way, and buyers and designers need to be able to touch, feel and understand products to feel good about what they are bringing to their own clients. And all this can only be achieved at Market.”



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