When I first started out in the interior design industry it wasn’t long before I began hearing about “High Point Market” over and over again. But what was it? As an industry newbie, I was totally confused. Was it a place? Was it an event? Was it some secret invite-only club reserved for the industry’s elite? It wasn’t until I was asked to speak at High Point Market right after Rue launched that I quickly learned the ropes. As it turns out, High Point is the design industry’s equivalent to Fashion Week and happens twice a year (also like Fashion Week), every April and October. As the largest home furnishings trade show in the world, it’s the must-be place for interior designers, editors, bloggers, buyers, and manufactures. And with more than a hand full of trips to High Points now under my belt, I’ve learned the tricks of the trade to making the most of your time at Market. Here are my top tips for working High Point like a pro!

1. Establish a plan for who you want to see: With more than 2,000 exhibitors showing products in every home furnishings category imaginable and spanning over 10 million square feet, a plan of attack at High Point is essential. Before you jet off to Market, take time to get acquainted with the Exhibitors Directory, making note of the showrooms on your must-see list. I always like to dedicate two full days to visiting the brands I love and support, like Baker, CR Laine, Duralee, Dwell Studio, Hickory Chair, MGBW, and Palecek (of course!) to name a few, and leave one day open at the end to check out new, more under the radar, but equally amazing lines. It’s important to get out of your comfort zone if you want to discover new resources. However you choose to organize your days, just be sure to come equipped with a plan!

2. Map out your schedule strategically: Because exhibitors are spread out over several buildings and city blocks, being strategic about your schedule will save you a lot of unnecessary back and forth. Download the High Point Market map before you book your appointments so you can plan accordingly. I recommend tackling certain buildings and blocks on designated days. Once you arrive, you’ll find maps at info booths and registration desks for the taking. Be sure to keep one in your purse at all times…it’ll become your most trusted companion during Market!

3. Stay organized with the ‘MyMarket’ App: I recently discovered High Point’s ‘MyMarket’ app and so wish I had this tool in the past. It’s a great way to simplify your planning, keep your schedule close at hand, access the High Point shuttle routes right from your phone, and more. As a girl who relies on her iPhone for everything, this is going to be my lifesaver this April at Market.

4. Attend Seminars and Events: Going to Market is such a professionally enriching experience and one way to make the most of it is by attending one of the many designer-focused seminars offered throughout the week. They’ll keep you up to date on the latest trends and offer great ideas for building your design business. If it’s your first time to Market, then I highly recommend investing 30 minutes of your time to attend one of the free orientation seminars to get you started on the right foot. Be sure to also squeeze in some time for social events too, because after all, High Point is not only where the industry works hard, but it’s where we network and mix and mingle, too!

5. Wear comfortable shoes: High Point Market is the best way to see everything the furnishings world has to offer and to meet some incredible people all in one place. The fully packed days can be exhausting though so it’s important to plan to your wardrobe carefully. What to pack for High Point? Well, the weather is typically mild in both April and October, but be sure to pack an umbrella, a sweater to layer with, and a your most comfortable shoes in your travel bag. You’ll be on your feet all day everyday so make sure you’re in footwear that can handle the long hours. If you’re a heels-only gal like me, then pack your favorite pair of wedges or stacked heel shoes (no stilettos!) for lift with comfort!

6. Get Social: We don’t need to remind you around these parts about how much Rue girls love social media. As an incredibly powerful marketing tool to connect with other industry people, it’s our daily way of staying connected and in touch with all of you. Be an active member of the online design community and use the hashtag #HPMkt to follow activity before, during, and after High Point Market on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook and get social!

Don’t forget to register for High Point Market for April 5-10. See you there!!