Creative Genius Podcast

Season 3 Episode 2

What’s Happening with High Point Market? (Tom Conley)

What’s Happening with High Point Market? (Tom Conley)

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the interior design industry, and that includes High Point Market.  This year, Spring Market, usually held in April, is moving to early June.  It won’t be quite the same as the Market you’re used to but more open than Fall Market was last October.  Here’s what you need to know to make the best use of your time at Spring Market.

In today’s podcast Gail interviews Tom Conley, president and CEO of High Point Market Authority (HPMA), a position he has held since 2011.  His previous experience includes having launched TPC & Associates in Chicago, a convention and trade show services business.  Before forming his own company, he was president of the Toy Industry Association in New York City and headed the annual International Toy Fair trade show.

Tom said HPMA had made some big shifts with Market due to COVID.  Although they were able to mount a successful Market last October, buyer attendance was down around 60 percent because of concerns about traveling as cases surged in various areas of the country.  That prompted the decision to re-schedule Spring Market for early June in anticipation that with more people getting vaccinations traveling conditions will be safer by then.  He said he was looking forward to people being able to meet face-to-face and network again.

Gail and Tom spoke about the problems designers are having with acquiring products for their projects.  Tom explained that a combination of the pandemic, trade tensions between the U.S. and China, and, more recently, severe winter weather has disrupted supply chains and shipping schedules at a time when demand has never been higher.  He said buyers should expect to see less new product at Spring Market because of current conditions.

Because of the competition for product, designers planning to attend Spring Market in order to buy need to come prepared to demonstrate to vendors that they are serious about making a purchase and that they have the financial wherewithal to do business, said Tom.  Designers need to demonstrate a high level of professionalism and show that they have been in business for a while.  Some vendors may require higher volumes than others, so shop around and talk with the representatives to find which are willing to work with you.

Gail asked Tom what advice he would have for designers who have never attended Market before.  “Plan, plan, plan,” replied Tom.  It’s important to know where vendors are located and to understand where you want to go in order to navigate Market efficiently.  Especially for those vendors you’re most interested in meeting with, let them know in advance when you’re coming and find out what is required to open an account with them.  Reach out to other designers to arrange to meet when on site, and check out what educational programming is available.

If you’re planning to attend Spring Market, you won’t want to miss this podcast.  Get insider tips from Tom and learn what to expect in order to prepare to get the most from your visit.

Mentioned in This Podcast

Spring Market 2021 will be held from June 5 – 9 at High Point Market in High Point, North Carolina.  For more information, registration and assistance with planning your visit, go to the High Point Market website at

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