The Hottest Trends in Furniture and Accessories Start Here
Pittsburgh Magazine takes you inside the biannual trendsetting High Point Furniture Market in North Carolina.
prospect hill line/photo by lauren davidson
The High Point Furniture Market takes up more than 10 million square feet in the town of High Point, N.C.
Twice a year, hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world pour into the otherwise quiet city. They’re here to find the trendsetting furniture and accessories and bring them back to their corners of the globe.
Downtown is bustling with people who look as fashionable as the pieces they’re there to see. I see man buns. Women wearing booties I can’t imagine they’ll be able to tolerate all day as they navigate 180 buildings. One man wears white skinny pants and two different kinds of shoes — one sneaker is bright orange, the other bright yellow. Crossing guards use whistles to direct the streams of pedestrians.
photo by tom davidson
“If a furniture retailer is serious about their business, it starts here,” says Chris Pelcher, senior vice president of merchandising, marketing and sales at Levin Furniture. “It really allows us to bring back to Pittsburgh the latest, greatest product assortments.”
Pelcher says he and the other Levin representatives at High Point visit more than 100 showrooms over the length of the spring show, which is open to the public this year from April 15-20.
On Saturday morning, Pelcher and his team visit the Samuel Lawrence Furniture showrooms. They briefly view a few collections that have debuted at past markets, then Chris Rayle, Samuel Lawrence’s vice president of product development, leads us to a sliding steel door. Behind it is the signature collection spread out over 3,200 square feet: Urban Vintage.
The first story within the collection is Prospect Hill. The tables, chairs, bed and other surfaces have a grey wash on the wood — the reclaimed look is very “in.”
Fulton Street Line/photo by lauren davidson
“The inspiration is coming from Restoration Hardware,” Pelcher says.
Roland Maddrey, the vice president of sales for Samuel Lawrence, notes the industry has responded to the success of stores such as RH, West Elm and Pottery Barn. Companies such as Samuel Lawrence, he says, translate those types of styles to less-expensive products.
“We do it without sacrificing quality or finish,” he says. He gestures to a table. “This is not solid wood – it’s veneer, but there’s nothing wrong with quality veneer products. It translates to not only price point but finish that, again, will sell day in and day out.”
Maddrey says it takes two to three weeks to get the showroom ready for guests, but first it takes six weeks to build the rooms to accommodate the furniture. Brickwork is painted onto one wall. Lighting and flooring is installed.
“We spent a lot of money to make this collection shine,” he says.
Fulton Street is the next line, followed by Flatbush Avenue.
Flatbush Avenue line/photo by lauren davidson
Each Levin representative has a favorite, and the buyers spend a little time deciding which pieces they’ll want shipped to their stores.
“At the end of the day, the customer’s the judge,” Pelcher says.
To be continued tomorrow in Nest.