How to Organize for Furniture Market

Filed under Education, Quick Reference Guides

How to Organize for (and Get the Most Out of!) Furniture Market

With High Point Furniture Market around the corner and other local furniture markets happening, I want to give you some tools to see the “right” things- AND remember and organize what you saw!

Trust me, there are some really great blog posts out there what to bring to the show, and I will give you links to my favs, but I think the biggest problem people have is remembering and organizing everything after the show!

You know me and my organization obsession!! So, here is how I tackle the shows. I break it out into phases that I can handle. Before, during and after the show.

Before the Show:

One-Two Months Before the Show:

  • Go to the show’s website
  • Make Sure you have signed up to attend. Even if you are on the fence, it is better to sign up early. This way, you get your pass early and, if you do attend, you won’t have to wait in any lines to get a pass!
  • The websites will have exhibitors, events, planning help and tips (Check out High Point Furniture Market’s Website- pretty great, right?)
High PointFurniture Market

Two Weeks Before the Show:

  •  Vendors
    • See if any of your favorite vendors will be attending (via the show’s website)
    • Peruse the list to see if there are any you want to visit- new and old. Don’t worry, if you cannot take the overwhelm, you can generally filter your desires by category.
    • Schedule your vendor visits BEFORE you get to the show. If you really want to chat with someone, or order some special items, be sure to do this now. Nothing is more depressing than getting there and they don’t have time for you!
      • Another hint: Group your visits by vendor location. Then you won’t waste time running from place to place.
  • People to talk to:
    • Fellow Designers?
    • Product Designers?
    • Showroom Managers?
    • Marketing Peeps?
  • Parties/Dinners to attend:
    • Have you heard about any great parties or dinners you want to attend? Now’s the time to see if you can get an invite!
    • Do you want to organize a great dinner- large or small?
    • Where are the dinners located? Maybe you can party hop?
  •  Workshop/Talks/Education:
    • My favorite part! You have the ability to meet and get to know some great people before/during/after a talk or seminar!
    • AND you get to take advantage of educating yourself on a wide range of topics
  • List of items needed for clients:
    • Do you have specific items you need for a client?
    • Do you need anything from specific categories like lighting or accessories?
    • Do you want to be inspired before you specify for a new project?
  • Prep the items you want to bring:
    • Business cards
      • As my friend, Denise McGaha taught me, bring about 100 cards- the good ones and the OK ones. What? Well, bring those letterpress cards, you know, the ones you keep for special people, and separately, get some extras that you don’t want to cry about every time you give them away!
    • Extra phone batteries
      • Always carry extras. Especially now that we use our phone for EVERYTHING!!
    • I will give you some links to some great posts about what to bring, but to me, these are the most important!

During the Show:

  • Morning time, first thing, evaluate/re-evaluate your plan for the day.
    • Who are you visiting and what are you doing for the day? Make sure you start the day with a plan.
    • I say morning, because I used to think I would do it every night, but DUH! Too exhausted!
    • Keep your checklist with you (See Download) and refer to it often! You don’t want to be stuck in a show room too far away from your next appointment!
  • Visiting vendors
    • Always come with a smile. They are exhausted too!
    • If there are any specific reasons for your visit, bring out the list!
  • Like something?
    • As my friend Traci Zeller taught me…Take a picture of the showroom name FIRST (name and location/number), then take pictures of items you like/want to remember
    • Even if you are too tired to take a pic of the showroom name, don’t get lazy! You will kick yourself later!
  • Schedule free time.
    • What?! I want to make the most out of it!! Well, it doesn’t work that way. You will be over scheduled and you will need that time- especially after your do your morning re-evaluation and want to visit this killer show room that everyone is talking about!

After the Show:

  •  Yes, you want to cry with exhaustion, but while your brain is still swirling with information, now is the time to take more notes!
  • I use the plane time to go through pictures and organize them by Client, Vendor or Project inspiration.
  • Organize those business cards.
    • Confession. I hate business cards. I look at the card and put them in a box for a later that never comes. Instead, I take that time to enter into my phone any new contacts I want to remember and star them.
  • Yep! Those people I want to follow up with…I SCHEDULE that in my calendar. Right then! I know to give myself time to re-group, but schedule it for 2-3 weeks from that day. You should have your mojo back by then!

Now, this may seem like a lot to do, so I have a great Excel document that you can use as a template for your next furniture market! If you are going to High Point Furniture Market, be sure to down load this now!!

Also, for those blog posts about what to do to prepare yourself for High Point, check these out!

Ten Tips for Conquering High Point by Denise McGaha

High Point Furniture Market Tips by Lisa Mende

Pro Tips for a Most Productive Market by Donna Vining

Remember to download the Furniture Market Checklist here!!