High Point Market Day One: What We Learned

Panels, keynotes and more from Saturday's High Point Market.

10/20/2019
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Surya panel High Point Market
Left to right: Cheryl Luckett, Marisa Wilson, David Santiago, Debbie Auer, Diane Falvey, Jill Erwin

The fall 2019 High Point Market is packed with new product introductions and best sellers, but it also has a wealth of learning opportunities. The Furniture, Lighting & Decor team is moderating eight panels throughout market, and we’ll be making our way to other events as well. Below are our takeaways from some of Saturday's events. For more from the experts on our panels, watch for full recaps on furniturelightingdecor.com

Panel: Libby Tells All: Product Design

Libby Langdon
Editor-in-Chief Diane Falvey and Libby Langdon.

Our Editor-in-Chief Diane Falvey sat down with designer Libby Langdon in the Fairfield Chair showroom—where she’s launching a new collection this market—to chat about finding success with product licensing. 

When breaking into licensing collections as a designer, Langdon said a good place to start is going to people and vendors that you already buy from and have a good relationship with where you know you could bring something unique to the table for the brand.

Langdon, who has licensed lines with manufacturers including Paragon and Crystorama, said the key with licensing is feeling confident in the sensibility of your brand and being able to boil it down to 3-4 words. For Langdon, that concise tagline is “easy, elegant and every day style.” When you know who you are, know how you want to be perceived and know who your ideal client is, you’ll be better equipped to make your product licensing goals happen.

No stranger to self-promotion, Langdon also emphasized the importance of putting yourself out there, both with industry networking and marketing yourself to your ideal audience. Part of this is having a killer website, photography, social media and content that articulates your brand and personality.

When asked how she measures success with a licensed collection, Langdon said it’s pretty simple: sales. 

“I hate to say it, that is what it boils down to. There are a lot of people that talk about licensing and they’ll say ‘oh don’t get in it for the money,’” she said. “That’s a load of bull. Get in it for the money.”

Product licensing is ultimately a business venture, and you shouldn’t shy away from wanting to make sales, Langdon said.

As for myths when it comes to licensing, Langdon said one is the idea is your name is enough to sell the product. Another, she said, is the idea that a company will simply bring you product to slap your name on without any real involvement. While Langdon doesn’t profess to know everything about the engineering side of things, her collections are a true collaboration: she brings her design expertise to the table and lets the product manufacturing experts do their thing.

Langdon’s new line with Fairfield is on display at their showroom at 200 N. Hamilton St.
 

Panel: Trends: Timely & Timeless 

Surya trends panel High Point Market
Left to right: Furniture, Lighting & Decor Editor-in-Chief Diane Falvey, Cheryl Luckett of Dwell by Cheryl, Marisa Wilson of Artful Interiors and the Cool Girl’s Guide to Market, David Santiago of Casa Santi Interior Design, Debbie Auer of Auer Design, and Jill Erwin of Jill Erwin Interiors.

In the Surya showroom, Falvey talked trends with a panel of interior designers: Cheryl Luckett of Dwell by Cheryl, Marisa Wilson of Artful Interiors and the Cool Girl’s Guide to Market, David Santiago of Casa Santi Interior Design, Debbie Auer of Auer Design, and Jill Erwin of Jill Erwin Interiors.

When asked where they discover the latest trends and get inspiration for their work, a few of the designers pointed to industry sources, such as High Point Market, and other designers. “It’s not competitive. It’s a lot of camaraderie,” Wilson said. 

Per the panel title, panelists talked current trends. Some takeaways: Traditional is back, sustainability is more important now than ever before, and saturated colors and bold patterns are in. 

When working with clients, the panelists agreed that it’s not wise to run with all the trends of the moment. Instead, learn about your clients and their personalities, how they live, their intentions for their homes, and their fashion sense. Because many clients have trouble verbalizing the styles they like, Wilson makes Pinterest boards for style inspiration, while Auer asks clients to make their own mood boards and explain to her their choices. Santiago likes to shop with couples to see how they interact and where their tastes lie. 

Luckett summed it up best. “Trends come and go, but at the end of the day, the home is about them,” she said. They’re designing homes to be lived in, not Instagrammed, so trends can inform the design, but shouldn’t drive it.

 

Panel: What Price Fame? Defining Your Brand, Securing Your Niche and Saving Your Sanity in the Era of Self-Promotion and Cult Of Celebrity

Alden Parkes Panel High Point Market
Seated left to right: Shannon Ggem, Keita Turner, Patti Johnson, Hannah Toney, Philip Gulotta, Andre Hilton.

Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and more... At this High Point Market’s Alden Parkes seminar focused on building your brand and self-promotion as an interior designer. “Showhouse in a Showroom” designers Shannon Ggem, Keita Turner, Patti Johnson, Philip Gulotta, Hannah Toney and Andre Hilton, discussed their experiences with moderator Kimberley Wray, Senior Contributing Editor for Furniture, Lighting & Decor. From how to maintain a private life and get some sleep to best practices for photography and posting on social media, these designers opened up about their experiences and what they’ve learned along the way. 

To stay safe, for example, Ggem said that she no longer shares her location when she’s there. If she sees something Instagram-worthy at a location, she saves that post for the next day. Designers shared that while social media is a good way for your clients to get to know you, it’s best to take some caution when sharing life’s more personal details. “At the end of the day, social media is about work,” shared Keita Turner.

As for how to make social media effective for your business, Patti Johnson said, “Know your goals and have a finger on the pulse of the business.” 

All of the designers on the panel agreed that content is king on your social media feeds, and sharing something unique to your aesthetic and business will help connect with clients. “Find a mix that works for you. It’s about a curated point of view,” said Philip Gulotta. For Andre Hilton, before and after pictures of his design projects increase engagement. 

And as designers, social media is all about the visuals. “Take good pictures” was a resounding sentiment from the entire panel, a skill that all have worked to elevate. 

 

Diane Keaton Keynote Presentation

Diane Keaton High Point keynote
Left to right: Randal Weeks, Diane Keaton, Derrick Ricketts

Speaking to a packed house Saturday afternoon, Academy Award-winning actress Diane Keaton took to the stage speaking about the many houses she has lived in, built, renovated and sold over the years, ending on her dream house that is the subject of her book: an all-brick home with a white tile bathroom. 

Aidan Gray Home Founder Randal Weeks and Derrick Ricketts, National Sales Manager for Ann Gish, joined Keaton onstage to talk about her new collaboration with Aidan Gray — Keaton Industries — as well as the inspiration behind the design of her dream home. 

Weeks talked about how the line came to be. While Keaton was signing books at the January 2018 Dallas Market, Weeks was off to the side chatting with her manager about what it would take to do a line with Keaton. Almost two years later, the line is debuting at High Point Market. When asked to describe the lighting line in three words, Keaton, eschewing the premise of the question, said, “punchy, lively, highly unique and worth buying.” 

The shades in the line are in Keaton’s signature black and white color scheme, which is also reflected in the design of her home. Ricketts asked Keaton how she warms up the black, white and gray color palette, and she responded, “I don’t. I like it,” adding later that just because she gravitates toward black and white, doesn’t mean colors should be off limits for everyone. She believes people should live in an environment that they enjoy and are comfortable in. 

Other Saturday High Point Market Events

Diane Keaton  Aidan GrayHigh Point Market
At a press event Saturday morning, Furniture, Lighting & Decor editors were able to see Keaton Industries' new line in the Aidan Gray Home showroom, with Founder Randal Weeks and actress Diane Keaton nearby to talk about the new pieces. Pictured left to right: Weeks; Furniture, Lighting & Decor Associate Editor Katie Caron; Keaton; Furniture, Lighting & Decor Managing Editor Amy McIntosh.
Thom Filicia Vanguard High Point Market
Thom Filicia celebrated 10 years of product with Vanguard at a party Saturday night.
Libby Langdon Fairfield launch party High Point Market
Libby Langdon launched her new collection with Fairfield chair and celebrated with a launch party on Saturday.
Libby Langdon Fairfield launch party High Point Market
Left to right: Furniture, Lighting & Decor Editor-in-Chief Diane Falvey; Libby Langdon; Furniture, Lighting & Decor Associate Editor Katie Caron
Eichholtz showroom opening High Point Market
Eichholtz held a ribbon cutting ceremony for its new 20,000-square-foot showroom at 129 S. Hamilton St. 
Norwalk High Point Market
In the Norwalk Furniture showroom, a “Puppies, Palm Trees and Performance Fabrics,” networking event was hosted by performance fabric supplier Crypton and designer Kim Salmela. Pictured here, Caroline Hipple, President of Norwalk and Jack Eger, Senior Vice President of Crypton Fabrics.