Well into its 106th year, the High Point Furniture Market is the largest trade show of its kind in the world, and according to a 2014 Duke University study, it brings approximately $5.5 million to North Carolina’s Piedmont annually.
It is housed in approximately 180 buildings throughout the area and delivers upwards of 70,000 warm bodies from more than 100 countries to town each April and October.
For a week each spring and fall, the 10,000 square foot-plus DMZ (Designer Mile Zone) is home to more than 2,000 exhibitors — celebrity-licensed collections, decorative-arts entrepreneurs, boutique accessory and furniture makers and established “big boy” furniture manufacturers. Joining them is a cadre of sales people, designers, executives, PR pros, journalists and students in the field. These are their stories. Cue the “Law and Order” bawmp, bawmp.
Bejing to Biscuitville
Waiter at steakhouse motioning to remaining chateaubriand: Would you like this to go?
Visiting Chinese Manufacturer (VCM) looking confused: How?
Me: You should have them slice the rest and take it to Biscuitville in the morning and slap it in a biscuit. It’s a local delicacy. It’s the chicken foot of the South.
VCM: Oh! I must visit this place Biscuitville. It is a city.
Me: No, but it should be.
Pop-up pop art
Me, upon seeing a trunk full of “gold” in a High Point parking lot: Dang girl, that is some serious Mr. T.
Mrs. T: What you looking for?
Me: I’m going to the Moschino opening at the Mint and I need something outrageous and pop-arty.
Mrs. T: I didn’t understand a single word you just said.
Me: I’ll take the lipstick-tube necklace.
Indian exhibitor yelling at her husband: I don’t care what the Weather Channel says, I need you to go find me an umbrella. I did not spend good money on straightening my hair to have it ruined in High Point.
Husband: I can’t find an IKEA anywhere!
Wife: How far is Charlotte? You can go there!
Me: Excuse me, but they have courtesy umbrellas available in front of many of the buildings. You can just go pick one up.
Wife: Oh, thank god. You are from here? Can you take my husband to IKEA?
Small-town designer (STD): OMG I think I just saw Jeff Lewis! He is even more handsome in person!
Her companion: Honey, he is gay.
STD: Well I don’t want to sleep with him; I just want a selfie. My husband will be so jealous.
Her companion: Again, he is gay?
STD: Do you really think my husband watches Bravo?
From Russia with love
Me: Is this your first visit to High Point.
Russian guy: No, I come here many times for tax evasion at shower time.
Russian guy: You know they have the tax evasion every year vid all de fabric.
Me: Oh, the textile viewing at Showtime.
German exhibitor talking to Mexican guy hanging art: It is akew!
Mexican guy: ¿Que?
German: No! Not okay! It is akew.
Me (to my designer friend watching this interaction): I’m tempted to yell, “Gesundheit!”
Florida-tagged designer with a Boca bob: Oy! How can there be humidity in October. Think I can get a blowout anywhere in town?
Her companion: Honey you’ll have better luck getting a blow job.
Boca bob: There has got to be a salon in this town that does more than wet sets.
Companion: There are plenty of wig stores.
The Italian job
Me, eyeballing a diaphanous tumbleweed in the parking lot: What is that?
Designer friend: Is that a fabric swatch?
Me, snaring the object: Holy crap, it’s an Armani scarf. I should take this to lost and found.
Designer friend: Nicole, when it’s lost in High Point, you keep it.