Market in the Making
Market in the Making
Market. A word that brings joy, fear, anticipation…and blood, sweat, and tears. For the uninitiated, “market” is a place that sells things, a place where you shop. But for those who’ve dealt with Market, it’s a source of pride, a source of anxiety, and most pragmatically, a source of income. At its very core, Market is about showcasing one’s goods and wares with the aim of having retail buyers buy products for their store. But like fashion’s Fashion Weeks’ evolution, High Point Furniture Market has become much more than a transactional event. What began as a humble endeavor to sell our manufactured goods, has now become an opportunity to make a statement, to be an expression of our identity, and to create an indelible experience, imprinted on the minds of our buyers.
Follow our teams’ journey through our Market experience. And check back often! This page will continue to be updated as we sprint to the finish line. The links below will go live as we add more content for each section.
Brainstorming & Trend Forecasting
As the jewel of the crown, product drives the process. Our Product Development team kicks off the season with trend research and brainstorming, six months out, right after the last market wraps up. Research includes utilizing a forecasting agency as well as getting out of the office for inspiration trips. Attending Showtime is an important part of this early stage, as Product Development gets to see new and upcoming fabric.
Story and Showroom Design
When Product Development finalizes the trends, Marketing creates an overarching theme or “story” to set a direction for showroom design, ensuring that the showroom set supports the trends expressed by the product. One part internal brainstorm, one part creative agency, the narrative is told in the “hot spots” (editor’s note: I thought we were talking about WiFi until someone clarified) throughout the showroom, small areas where product sometimes takes a backseat to entertainment. This time around, Marketing took an inspiration trip to Abbott Kinney (see if you can spot the influence in our showroom!) in advance of design. Marketing and Product Development communicate throughout design development to ensure that the showroom direction supports the product, and that the product needed to help tell the story in those “hot spots” is part of the overall sample request.
In the meantime, Product Development begins developing a product strategy to decide what styles to feature in the upcoming show. Reviewing our current catalog, the PD team identifies gaps in the assortment. The collections that go to market are composed of existing best-sellers, underperforming styles revamped, and brand new inspirations, and Product Development connects with the Sales team to get input on product performance and fabric and frame recommendations.
Once product selection is finalized, Engineering takes the baton to begin producing prototypes. This first round is scrutinized, critiqued, and sent back to Engineering with notes for changes. Initial rounds of review are held by Product Development only; later rounds include Marketing, Sales, and Management for input.
While Product Development and Engineering move forward with prototyping, Marketing is working towards telling the story on all channels. In addition to working closely with the agency to create designs and execute the build, the Marketing team also creates ancillary tools to support Sales in their efforts. Visual merchandising tools like swatch racks, informational table top displays, tags, photography of the new product, etc. are part of the standard kit-and-kaboodle needed for shows like these.
We’ve also expanded into digital representation of Market. The trends are now showcased on our blog, where reps, buyers, and other visitors can visit at their leisure. Additionally, this will be the third market in which we work with Otis College of Art & Design to create something for our market. The first market was an installation. The second market was our trend pages. This market, they’ve created an illustrated story to support the overarching theme, showcasing our Design Lab program.
A month out from market, the creative agency and fabricator (and artists, as we featured a couple of artists in our last market), as well as our interior design team, descend on our showroom and begin to wallpaper, paint, build, stage, and transform the showroom (which was rendered to a blank slate state shortly after the end of the previous market).
Kick Off, Walkthrough, Market
We’re almost there! One day before Market starts, we have a pre-kick-off meeting with the Sales team to go over the theme and trends, to lay the stage for the walkthrough at Market. Sales also receives pricing and other training materials, so they can be prepared to speak to and sell the product when meeting with their buyers at Market.
The day before Market starts, Product Development leads the Sales team on a walkthrough of the showroom, an opportunity to further explain and educate on the why and how of each product, what the target is, while opening up the floor to the reps to ask questions that can better help them pitch the product.
And Market officially begins!