Reflections on the Las Vegas Furniture Market

Reflections on the Las Vegas Furniture Market

A couple of weeks ago, I flew to Las Vegas for a mastermind meeting with colleagues and to attend the Las Vegas Furniture Market.  Having attended the High Point Market frequently, I was excited to tread new terrain and experience a fresh atmosphere of furnishings vendors. (Given that the weather was unusually cold in Charleston at the time, I welcomed the warmer climate, too.)  What I found in Las Vegas was not only a fresh platform for experiencing design, but also a renewed perspective for serving clients.

Having Limited Options is Less Stressful

When visiting the High Point Furniture market (a to-the-trade only event), one is generally overwhelmed.  This is the largest home furnishings market in the world and has been operating for nearly 100 years.   It takes up a majority of the small downtown area of High Point, NC during its twice-yearly operation.  In fact, there is 100 million square feet to cover! You must travel on trams and buses to have any hope of visiting the 1800 vendors that display there.  It is in my opinion, exhilarating, intimidating and rather exhausting. Having no hope of seeing everything, one makes a plan and focuses on specific vendors or buildings (some over 10 stories) to accomplish the tasks of placing orders or making contacts.

Oppositely, the Las Vegas market, while newer on the scene having begun in 2005, is comprised of three buildings and a few tents. Its compact campus makes it easy to navigate and its more open building structures create a breathable scene that is not daunting. I felt no stress at all about traversing the campus. Each floor clearly marked the vendors who were on display and are so compact that you do not feel as if walking through a maze. We wasted no time in finding our merchants and that made our visit very efficient. While the campus is smaller and offers fewer vendors, I left feeling energized and in a rather good mood. I was mentally tired, but not physically worn out.

Genuine Courtesy Matters

When we walked into the Las Vegas Market, we were thunderstruck by the friendliness of the attendants and staff.  (And I'm from the South y'all where pleasantness is a way of life. Charleston is known as the politest city, after all.)  As we walked into the market, we were greeted with smiling faces and warm greetings offering what truly felt like sincerity and kindness. I must say that at the High Point Market, one is also welcomed and greeted favorably, but something about Las Vegas was different. Perhaps it was the dry open air that made me more aware of the faces that greeted me, but there was a genuineness that was palpable.

Follow Up is Not Optional

After attending the market, I received a thank you email from the Las Vegas market. (I know that the High Point Market does this too.)  Like most people, I receive a daunting amount of emails every day.  (Truth be told, my "delete" button is beginning to fade slightly.)  While I did purge this email, I appreciated feeling as though they completed the exchange of my visit with this message.  I'm aware that this email was digitally generated because my registration badge was scanned in, but it was follow up nonetheless and it mattered to me.

Final Thoughts

            Not only did I bring back from Las Vegas some excellent design ideas, new vendor opportunities, and a lighter checkbook, I also learned some things about how to enhance my business.  First, that having options is great, but having fewer options is less overwhelming. They grant some degree of control over to your client while staying in the wheelhouse of what you are able to competently provide. I also learned that true courtesy can be genuinely captured by its recipient. We often use kind words and rogue expressions because it is the right thing to do, but sincere gentility has depth of meaning. Finally, follow up does matter, even if it is a mechanical message. Completing the circle of the sale with communication has great value. All of these are business components that my team and I utilize.  When put into context by an experience like my own, it is a gentle reminder that they have great significance.