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How Model55 Finds the Latest and Greatest Trends

Being in the Interior Design industry means we always need to stay on top of current trends. One way to do this is to visit furniture markets. These markets are not only great for trendspotting, but they also allow us to find new vendor partners so we can continue to source the best products for all of our projects. Twice a year, our buyer and a few members of the Interior Design team will fly down to North Carolina to attend High Point Market.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with High Point, it’s the world’s largest furnishings industry trade show. I have been told it’s so large that it feels more like exploring a small town rather than an exhibition. There are 2,000+ manufacturers that will set up individual showrooms in order to display their latest and greatest product for attendees. For reference, according to their website, there’s 12 million (!) square feet for exhibitors.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the spring market was entirely online this year. Our buyer, Jaclyn Lowe, and our VP of Interior Design, Emily Dennison, were tasked with “attending” together. This was the first virtual trade show Model55 has attended so I decided to interview Jaclyn on how it went.

THE INTERVIEW

 

High Point Market went digital this year. How did you and Emily navigate it together?

Jaclyn: High Point Market offered 3 weeks of Virtual Market.  Emily and I blocked off 2 days to attend virtual market.  We spent time looking through current vendor catalogs online for new items and also spent time searching for new vendors. We are compiling our findings and plan to meet as a group next week to discuss and make changes to our 2020 catalog. We also had the opportunity to watch webinars about the industry online. 

The virtual market seems like it had a lot of resources for attendees. What was your favorite part of this new digital experience?

Jaclyn: I really enjoyed parts of the digital experience this year.  HPMKT offered webinars and discussion panels from keynote speakers that we usually do not get to experience while we are physically at market.  The webinars covered an array of topics and it was great to pick and choose which ones to listen in on. 

What is one trend that you were excited to see at market? Are there any new ones that you are excited about?

Jaclyn: There has been a lot of discussion about how product and design trends will be reshaped by the pandemic.  Balancing fashion with function is definitely a trend on a large scale.  I think the trend that I am personally excited about is outdoor living which is being referred to as “escapism” within your own space.  As the summer approaches and travel might not be as attainable in the near future, vendors are offering a way to create an oasis in your back yard or in your own home. I also appreciate how light neutral colorations and natural fibers are on trend this season.  

 

How has COVID-19 impacted buying when it comes to our day-to-day projects? What are some new challenges you’ve had to deal with?

Jaclyn: COVID-19 has certainly impacted our buying in many ways. Globally, supply chains have been delayed so we have seen out-of-stock and delayed shipments. Domestically, I have also seen our vendor partners struggle with personnel.  I have had some experiences where companies are unfortunately located in “hot spots” and are totally understaffed.  To keep up with our projects, we have had to adapt and think outside of the box. 

Lastly, what did you miss most about going to High Point in person?

Jaclyn: High Point is always something I look forward to.  I didn’t think I would say it, but I do miss the hustle and bustle and being on my feet for four days straight.  I really miss viewing new product and design in person and meeting with our vendor partners – it is a nice opportunity to put faces to the people I work with behind my computer screen. 

Lauren Ebstein
lauren@model55.com

Lauren Ebstein is Model55's Multifamily Sales Coordinator. With a background in property management, Lauren is passionate about how leasing teams work together and build relationships with their residents.

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