High Point University

Students gain real-world experience working furniture market

By Ann Shelley//Opinion Editor

Twice a year, the city of High Point comes to life for High Point Furniture Market. The High Point Market is the largest furnishing industry trade show in the world. This is why High Point is known as the Silicon Valley of furniture. Each year there are tens of thousands of new product introductions, and if you can’t find it at the market, you can’t find it anywhere else. High Point Market benefits both the High Point and HPU communities, and this year’s spring market was no exception.

During the months of April and October, more than 75,000 people from all over the world fill the streets of downtown High Point. There are over 180 buildings and 11.5 million square feet of show space for these events. More than 100 countries are represented during the week with approximately 2,000 exhibitors.

Out of the 75,000 attendees at each market, many High Point University students are able to get involved and help out at this incredible event. Buyers, shop owners and designers will come through market to view and purchase each year’s new products, and trend experts come through to see the newest and greatest products.

Senior Lauren Abbott has worked for Vanguard in recent years, and was able to work directly on the floor with the buyers and learn about the trends of the year.

“The trends this year are more contemporary and modern with pops of color in grey and white,” Abbott said. “One of the designers said that cobalt blue is the color this year.”

Junior Grant Cunningham was very impressed with this year’s market.

“On any other day, the downtown streets of High Point appear to be empty, but during High Point Market, it’s a completely different story,” said Cunningham. “The streets are filled with traffic, both on foot and in vehicles, and the city of High Point buzzes with overwhelming excitement about the industry.”

HPU students have the opportunity to participate in this event starting their freshman year. Many interior design majors are able to use market to start networking with designers and buyers within the industry.

Interior design major Bridget Anderson said, “The fact that I’m able to start working in the industry I want to be in after school is incredible. I have access to incredible networking opportunities and resources that can help me better prepare for life after graduation.”

Many students also have the opportunity to work directly on the floor as sales representatives for a company and get hands-on experience. Junior Francesca Callahan has worked for J. Douglas for the past couple of markets. Through this, she was able to network with the company Bungalow 5, which she worked for this past year.

“I love working for such incredible companies like Bungalow 5 in the furniture industry,” Callahan said. “I was able to see right off the bat what type of work I would want to do in public relations. This whole furniture industry is so exciting, and I would love to be part of that world after school.”