Lighting and Furniture Markets

I could write several posts on the numerous furniture and lighting wholesale markets that are the mainstay of our industry.   These markets are huge gatherings of manufacturers, dealers, manufacturer representatives, and buyers.  The true objective of these shows is to generate orders, or at least the interest, of the buyers who are spending money. Carolina Rustica goes as a buyer.  These shows are sometimes in a single huge venue, like the Dallas Market which is primarily for lighting, or they are spread out over miles and miles of showrooms, like our own venerable and economically-challenged High Point Market

However they are organized, they truly are incredibly impressive affairs.  The showrooms are full of wonderful merchandise (I want it ALL) and you can feel the buzz of products, new showrooms, and the pleasure of meeting industry friends that you have known for years.  They are social gatherings as well, with far too many tempting lunches and happy hours.  I usually avoid the latter, having learned my lesson early on.   A few drinks and your budget is the first thing to go out the window.

I only go to a few markets a year, Carolina Rustica being a smaller company and very close to the furniture industry in High Point.   They are exhausting affairs, mostly for the reps, but when I go to market its usually 2-3 days of straight walking, few breaks, and lots of conversation.   You can accomplish a lot, get the latest industry gossip, and most importantly, get an idea of how you are doing relative to everyone else.  These days, there is a lot of commiserating at markets.

I'll be going to the Dallas Lighting Market this weekend and I'm really looking forward to it.  Its about 6 floors of lighting showrooms all next to each other, so you can get a real good idea of the industry trends (especially important in lighting) and the general outlook on the future by watching other buyers.  Economists should just go to markets instead of crunching numbers, I tell you.  There is no better indicator of where the economy is than retail sales (IMO) and retailers have a very good knack for gauging the level of business based on instinct.  We have to be..otherwise we would very quickly be out of business!