To market, to market …

North Carolina has a long history and reputation in the home furnishings industry for manufacturing fine furniture and textiles. The renowned High Point Market in High Point is the world’s premier home furnishings event.

High Point Market Square
High Point Market Square

Each spring and fall, thousands of industry professionals from around the world descend upon the sleepy little town of High Point, North Carolina to discover the latest interior design trends, see new product debuts, and network with their colleagues and peers. It’s the KBIS of the home furnishings and decor world. Manufacturers ship their newest and most beautiful creations to exhibit halls and showrooms for presentation to buyers from across the globe.

This fall I was presented with the opportunity to experience a small taste of the market while attending the NKBA Design Business Summit, which was taking place in High Point. The event began with a presentation from the High Point Market Authority, where it was made clear to us that a relationship between the NKBA and the High Point Market Authority would be mutually beneficial. Kitchen and bath designers who open accounts with merchants displaying at High Point would have access to a complete array of home furnishing products and decor.

Following the presentation, NKBA designers were divided among five tour guides, who each had favorite showrooms and manufacturers to share with us. Short of sounding like a giddy teenager, the next couple of hours were amazing. The only time I probably stopped smiling was to sip champagne or nibble on a delicious morsel.

When you are working on a kitchen remodel, do you have resources if the homeowner asks for your help in the living room or bedroom? Will you have sources for furniture, soft goods, artwork and beautiful lighting?

We were lucky to meet some designers who could talk to us about their products and answer questions. Raleigh, NC-based designer, Louise Gaskill (pictured below in yellow blazer), turns recycled Murano glass into the most amazing lighting. Clients commission custom pieces and Louise works her magic to create them.

NKBA-certified kitchen and bath designers should not be afraid to apply their knowledge to other areas of the home.

Even if one is completely content to focus only on kitchens and bath, it is difficult not to be impressed with the sheer volume and variety of quality products available at High Point. From exquisitely designed furniture to handcrafted lighting and decor items, I was excited and inspired as we ventured from one venue to the next.

Following the tour, the NKBA designers spent the evening socializing with colleagues. It was a fun way to end a busy day.

NKBA Design Business Summit Attendees
NKBA Design Business Summit Attendees

In addition to a lovely meal, we were gifted with really cool shades!

At the NKBA Design Business Summit, we were presented with tools to help us take our design businesses to the next level. Speakers included :

  • Luann Nigara, author of The Making of A Well-Designed Business and host of the #1 podcast for the interior design business – A Well-Designed Business
  • Leanne Wood, principal of Flying Camel Advertising, Design + PR
  • Ross Dunn, CEO of StepForth Web Marketing
  • Panel discussion moderated by Sherry Qualls, featuring Veronika Miller of Modenus; Claire Jeffords, Interior Design business coach; and NKBA insider Elle H-Millard, CKD

Many thanks to the NKBA for hosting this educational and inspirational event!

 

Training and job opportunities abound in the building industry

As young people graduate from high school and college to pursue careers, the older generations are nearing retirement. Technology has reduced the physical stress of many jobs, and it’s not uncommon for white-collar professionals to work into their 70s. Many college graduates find themselves underemployed or entrenched in low-paying internships that linger well beyond graduation. But it doesn’t have to be this way!

For decades now, many high schools have focused on “selling” college prep programs and glossed over Career and Technical Education (CTE). Newsflash! Students can have a satisfying and challenging career by following the seemingly forgotten CTE track.

Plumbing Tools

It was not unusual for bright students who were interested and suited to CTE to be talked into pursuing college instead. The implication being that college-bound kids are smarter and better prepared for life. Wrong!

Students pursuing technical careers need strong math, communication, and mechanical science skills as well as the ability to adapt quickly. Not only do technical jobs demand training and credentials, they also require ongoing continuing education to maintain certifications. Going down the path to the trades often leads to a lifetime of learning!

A serious labor shortage exists within the building and construction industry due to baby-boomers “aging out” and the decades-long misconception that every kid needs a college degree. It’s time to stop pushing college on everyone and encourage students to prepare for careers in CTE related fields.

Industrial Electricians - Industrial Electrician Companies

While technology may have made white collar jobs easier, it’s opened so many new opportunities in the trades. Who is going to wire those smart homes, LED lighting, and leverage advances in heating and plumbing?

A career in the trades is not boring or a dead-end job. There’s room to grow and change direction within the industry. Many people who start out in the trades become General Contractors, builders, and business owners, earning high salaries and respect. The possibilities are endless.

The National Kitchen and Bath Association is dedicated to encouraging millennials to pursue a career in the trades. Check out this video from KBIS 2018 to see what the building industry is doing to right this wrong:

NKBA encourages millennials to join skilled trades