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Universal To The Trade

159 – High Point Fall 2017 Market Preview

High Point Fall 2017 Market Preview

Today in The Lounge, we are talking all about High Point! Janine Wagers is the Creative Director and Showroom Designer of the Universal Furniture Showroom in High Point, North Carolina. She joins us to discuss the best ways to prepare for Market. Lisa Kahn of Lisa Kahn Designs is the keynote speaker for Gail Doby’s Interior Design Summit and gives us an inside look on what she will be speaking about. As always, connect with us on our website, iTunes, Stitcher, Facebook and Instagram @thechaiselounge.

Nick has been on a mission to uncover how the 3D Rendering software at Porcelanosa works. He measured his bathroom and sent in pictures to Porcelanosa to design 2 different remodel prototypes, and the process only has a two day turn around! On the next episode, we will share an interview with Carla Espino to learn more about how this product works. Additionally, we will include the BIG REVEAL of Nick’s bathroom BEFORE and AFTER. Utilize this free service by going to Porcelanosa’s website or by visiting your local showroom. 

During High Point, Nick will be moderating a panel, Passion Sucks. It’s All About the Money!, at the Universal showroom, Saturday the 14th at 11:00 am. All of the designers Nick has spoken to are passionate about interior design, but that’s not what makes it or breaks it for them. So Nick will be asking Nina Magon of Contour Interior Design, Steven Favreau of Favreau Design, Kellie Ellis of Kelli Ellis Interior Design and Chad James of the Chad James Group: What does it really take to become successful? To RSVP and for a FULL list of The Chaise Lounge High Point Market events, visit our events page

Meet Janine

Janine Wagers joins Nick from High Point, North Carolina, furniture capital of the world. Her work as Create Directive and Showroom Designer concentrates on displaying Universal Furniture’s products within the showroom in new and interesting ways. 

Market? WHAT DO I DO?

Here’s Janine’s advice: As a designer, you have to figure out what you would like to accomplish at Market. Ask yourself, What are you here to see? What vendors would you like to visit? Are you buying furniture? Are you buying accessories? Are you here to establish new relationships with vendors? Or are you meeting with your existing vendors? Maybe you’ve never been to Market and are just here to grasp, what is High Point? (It’s like regional markets….but on steroids). Think about what price points you want to look at and what styles. Anyone and everyone furniture connected is going to show at High Point SO you need to plan and narrow it down to what you want to focus on. There is no way you can make it to every showroom in 5 days, that’s 11.5 million square feet of showrooms!

High Point Market’s website has a full list of exhibitors so Janine says that you definitely want to prepare beforehand, look them up, and see which products fit into your style and price categories. You also want to target specific areas at Market, if one of your vendors is in an area, it’s likely similar vendors will be there too. Get your geography down! Market is very spread out. Nick Janine advise to make a list of the vendors you want to see, so you can plan each day accordingly by location.

It’s also important to know that there are accessory vendors that are preset (you go in and buy it like it is), but there are also places you can buy samples or one-of-a-kind pieces! You might want to take a day to just visit accessory companies EARLY ON and pick up samples or one-of-a-kind pieces, as those go quickly. It’s always fun to have a treasure to bring back to a customer. You get to tell them that you located it in High Point and it’s the only one of its kind. You’ll have a good story to help you sell a piece or to let someone know you picked it out special for them.

The Universal Showroom

Universal exclusively makes and sells furniture, but they shop Market too, for accessories for the showroom and to continue their relationships with vendors. They start preparing for the next Market, the month after Market, at least a 5-month procedure to get everything organized. When at Market, you will see Universal’s building, a fresh new look with brick and stucco and an outdoor covered patio with music playing. When you come in the front glass doors, it will be unlike any other furniture showroom you’ve ever seen before. They have three floors and 90,000 square feet of JUST furniture, from used furniture, Universal product, to designer lines and a curated area. There is also their To The Trade area SPECIFICALLY for designers with products that their brick and mortar stores do not carry. There is also a learning center where they hold events, a cafe area, and their offices. The cafe alone takes up 10,000 feet and Janine is pretty proud of their restrooms too.

When designing the showroom for Market, Janine tries to bring something new and fresh each time (not only furniture-wise but design-wise too!), as that’s what she always looks for when she goes shopping. If it’s not quite like it was last time, you are faced with new ideas to refresh your sense of style. Janine always does something a little out of the ordinary like penny, pallet wood, or scrabble flooring. 

Universal Furniture really tries to make their showroom a home away from home for designers. You can come in, put your luggage or briefcase down, check in, go to the designer lounge, hang out, relax, charge your phone and use their iPads. Most importantly though, you can hang out with #TANKtheshowroomdog. Take selfies with him while at market and TAG NICK. Universal will have breakfast at the cafe every day of Market and Nick will be there on Sunday at 9:00 am so come join! You can find a list of Universal’s events during Market here.

We love Benjamin Moore Paint, not only their products but the customer service that they give too. They just launched a new product: dry erase paint that you can put anywhere!!! SO COOL. You can turn ANY service into a dry erase board. It’s called Notable by Benjamin Moore. 

Getting to Know Lisa Kahn

Gail Doby’s flagship event the Interior Design Summit (IDS) is the day before Market, on Friday, October 13. Lisa Kahn will be the keynote speaker.

Lisa’s favorite magazine is Miranda and on the weekends her and her husband like to pursue their creative endeavors such as a writing, painting, playing music and having spontaneous relaxing time. She is currently in the midst of renovating her husband’s music studio. When Lisa is asked, beer wine or a cocktail? Her answer is “Yes.” Right now she’s in love with champaign and intrigued by experimenting with bitters in a good old-fashioned.

How Gail Got Her Start

Lisa’s mom is an interior designer in Ohio and at one point her family owned a commercial firm, which was a great training ground for Lisa. It was fun working with her mom growing up, but when it was time for college she told her mom she was not going to study interior design. Lisa really wanted to do something else so she started studying marketing. After the first semester though, she decided she needed hands-on creativity every day to really feel challenged, so she switched back to interior design and graduated with her degree from Miami Ohio.

Lisa’s dad told her she could always come back and be the corporate designer at her family firm, but he wanted her to go out in the world and spend at least one year working in a business outside of Ohio first. Lisa took a position as the corporate interior designer for Lutron Electronics in Pennsylvania, where she spent the first four years of her career. It was an interesting job out of school when you want to be working at a design firm but instead, you are interfacing with design firms all over the country. Afterwards, Lisa relocated to Florida where she worked in residential design and then started her own firm, Lisa Kahn Designs, in the 2000s.


While working with Gail for the past few years in a coaching capacity, Lisa found the real meaning behind the work that she does. She has come to embody the concept that our spaces are sacred sanctuaries rather than just rooms or houses. Furthermore, what this means is how it translates into her brand and deeper, into her lifestyle. Gail told her, if you are going to sell your brand, you need to live it first. Lisa spent a lot of time thinking about what this meant and looked like because it sounded inspiring and wonderful. She thought she was going to get a massage every day, eat the healthiest foods, and be the most enlightened version of herself….but life has other plans. Lisa has a special needs daughter and began to face some big challenges in her business and her life. All of her problems were rising to one culmination of unpleasantness. Lisa learned that living a sanctuary life doesn’t look like being a victim of your circumstances but instead using them as a catalyst for your own growth. The journey from big personal challenge, to wonderful personal and professional success, while using her sanctuary lifestyle message and truly living her brand, is what Lisa is going to be talking about at IDS. What does it mean to create a brand that you can live, woven both into your life and your business?

If you are the first person to message nick on the website with the questions tab nick has a FREE IDS ticket to give you to attend on Friday!!!!

  • Upcoming Events

IDS – Oct 13 – 16

High Point Market – Oct 14 – 18

BDNY 2017 – Nov 12 – 13

KBIS – Jan 9 – 11

Dallas Market– Jan 17 – 23

Wrap Up

If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at TheChaiseLoungePodcast.com. Lastly, find The Chaise Lounge on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter or post a review on iTunes, you may even hear your review read live on our next podcast. With that said keep dreaming big, and keep designing a great design business. See ya!