Thursday, April 10, 2014

High Finds at High Point Market

A Special Report By Marilyn Nason
Home furnishings, decorative accessories and special gifts featuring eye-popping solids and exciting patterns and textures were on display in both permanent showrooms and temporary booths at the semi-annual century-old High Point Market April 5-10 in North Carolina. The equally powerful mirrors, distinctive lamps, light fixtures and prints also made an impression.

A record-breaking number of national and international buyers converged at High Point armed with lists of specific styles in these categories, as well as in certain color, fabrics and embellishment treatments that their core customers will likely purchase in the coming months.

Weston Farms Regal Tapestry Southern Magnolia Wreath.

Thanks to having a better, more definitive understanding of what their core customers prefer, buyers indicated they were far from gloomy about their future business in home décor. Retailers emphasized that their buying focus should reflect what they know their customers want, not what they think they should want.

Exhibitors, both permanent and temporary, were on the same buyer customer preference page about what tomorrow's consumers want for their homes–both indoors and outdoors–and emphasized they were focused primarily on these requirements.

Lee Industries pairs luxurious leather with modern flair in this leather metallic

Because of the increased interest in outdoors from small backyards to extensive outdoor complete kitchens and entertainment areas, this year's High Point Market showed a very expanded selection of quality poufs and pillows. In recent years, exhibitors expanded on the category to a point where several buyers observed that poufs became a basic alongside pillows as a way to perk up every room and outdoor family area. This was proved by the spectacular solids and distinctive patterns from blazing firehouse red to Easter yellows, sea grass greens and shiny blacks.

An interesting leather and steel ottoman highlighted an almost limitless assortment of pillows and poufs shown through the market, while emphasizing how adding leather and steel to these bright textiles is a décor winner.

Growing in equal importance as a way to brighten every space were table lamps and wall sconces, especially in creatively-finished metals combined with shiny metallic highlights in lamp bases. Drum, rectangular and octagon-shaped linen shades in subtle hues of soft gold and deep ecru worked well to make these metal table lamps terrific eye-catchers.

Another decorative accessories standard–candles–was even stronger than usual at this market as part of an emphasis on creating eye-appeal against all backdrops including walls, window treatments and flooring in any color. A growing variety of candles in over-sized glass hurricane lantern styles were featured as centerpieces in a variety of dining room place settings, as pairs. or alone on end tables.

This table lamp by Bungalow Belt is appropriately titled "Oak Park" because it's reminiscent of resident and famed Frank Lloyd Wright's prairie style architecture. It features a brushed nickel finish on a high gloss black base with a coordinating shade.

As all indoor and outdoor aspects of the home assume increased individual home décor importance with today's consumers, both natural and artificial quality floral pieces are taking on a key role in accessorizing a room. Vases in hand-blown glass in vibrant strong colors in numerous shapes and sizes have become a major category, whether as standalone decorative pieces or when brimming with floral arrangements. Preserved magnolia leaves were among ways to make this all come together both for vases and containers as well as year-round wreaths and mirror drapes.

Indicative of growing importance in home décor are products made in America and products that are sustainable. High Point Market expanded its special Made in America section, as well as developed a new section, Pavilions, where an expanded number of exhibitors could show all kinds of items from distinctive Hungarian-made bread boards, unique versatile changeable narrow strips of under-cabinet LED lighting, and throw rugs following the market's predominating theme where color and style ruled buyer purchase order decisions.

After surveying countless buyers throughout the six-day market, as well as at other recent shows, Giftware News learned more consumers are turning to family-owned, local and regional retailing. This trend coincides with requests for products made in the U.S., a trend that was ignited a few years ago and has continued to expand in the industry. Several attendees remarked that their confidence and loyalty is often won when they speak to a family member, artist or designer at the show.

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