As this is a fresh start, ie, first blog under it’s own banner, I thought I’d give some info on what ZAAR Design Center is premised, starting with how it came about and further suggest, ie, if you have product you’d like to promote/sell from High Point NC, the furniture capital of the world, why considering joining us as a venue to broaden your own base may be something to ponder.
I am the founder/owner/chief cook and bottle washer of Antiques by Zaar, an online based business my husband and I started in 1999. The only “brick and mortar” we’ve ever had was a showroom in the High Point Furniture Market where we went to reach out to the trade more effectively, and have remained committed to doing so since Spring 2004. In 2007 we started to move our entire collection of Chinese Antiques from our Maine warehouse to High Point NC. entrenchinig ourselves further.
With warehouse in place, by Spring 2008…took a full year, it made sense to promote a year round presence in High Point and thus was delighted to align and join the forces of the High Point Design Center, whose mission was to do just that, focusing on the Design community to benefit from the resources available in High Point, the renowed furniture capital of the world.
Frankly, I thought I had the pefect formula…show during Market from a showroom in major downtown High Point building, supplemented by balance of inventory being nearby…..always on the ready, with personnel available for such visits, to take people to see our collection….during Market and otherwise.
2009 was a landmark year for many, myself included, and tough decisions had to be made if one intended to stay in business, and as such, in prioritizing where would I spend what resources I did have…well,inventory replenishment won over on showroom rent…go figure.
So, with fear and trepidation I confidently announced to my world that I would be “showing” from my warehouse location… a mere 2 plus miles from downtown High Point. That was Fall 2009.
I am now, truly confidently, a proud member of one of the many many businesses that show from outside of the “hub” of downtown High Point and am excited for my growing presence.
ZAAR Design Center is “becoming” because I want to/and am able to offer the same opportunity I have, to show in High Point, at a cost that is not prohibitive….during the bi annual Market, and also year round.
The formula which is working for me, and which I wish to suggest/offer to others is….
Year Round Availability: Yes, have a representation of your product available to show for each and every Market, and great if you can do it in a major building where traffic is heavy, but also throughout the year. So many designers prefer to shop “off season”…in a more relaxed setting and where they get more personalized attention.
High Point Design Center: Become a member….and be OPEN for their “2nd Wednesdays”, where they advertise who of their 80 members is open for business on said day, and take benefit of the larger events planned, such as the Unity in Design which was just held in Feb. AND, otherwise be open on an appointment basis.
Have Someone Represent You: You don’t have to live in NC to do this. I live in Maine and go to High Point only 4 times/year. I am able to bascially run my business “from away” as I do because I have someone working on my behalf that treats the business as if it’s her own. She works Market with me, works Designer Wednesdays , takes appointments in between and, and and…
Let Your World Know That You’re There: We all know we need a website and that without it you are as much as missing a “face”. The job is to get people to that website and/or to shop your product in person, and there are 2 cost effective ways to do this.
“Social Media” is all the rage and if you’re engaging in it at some level, that is indeed great…case in point this blog as a venue to reach out to my facebook, twitter and linked in connections, but which I also share in my newsletters which I post to my previously established audience….and which in turn I can share through my social media venues. They serve each other well.
But, many of us are running a lean ship and we’re already stretched…adding one more “to do”, especially where there is quite a learning curve if you’re green to social media, can put us over the top. So, at minimum do an…
Online Newsletter: Social media, in my world, is reaching out to a new audience, but many of us already have an audience, a following….ie our customer base. So, at bare minimum we should be reaching out to these people, who know us and care to hear about us, by way of the cost effective/efficient, write one/send to many, newsletter. Constant Contact is what I recommend and many business owners follow suit…
I am so very pleased, humbled, and proud, to be here…to have a business that has made it to the other side of 2009…and in fact Feb 2011 was my best month in sales since Oct 2008!…and feel that the above formula has played into this success. ZAAR Design Center is there for others, like me, that….
- Have, “had”in my case, a showroom in High Point which has inventory “rest” in 10 months of the year, unavailable for prospective customers to see.
- Want to establish a High Point presence but not quite ready to take the plunge to show in a central showroom, for a “maybe it will work” kind of thing…
- Understand that it is a game of Presence, Persistance and Patience…AND that sharing resources, giving people a bunch of reasons to visit a particular location, and servicing them well when there, will in the end serve you, and all involved, well.
I believe in the future of High Point, in it’s viability to continue on as THE resource for the Home Furnishings Industry, and I’m excited to continue participating in this, as I do, for my own business and also through what I can offer others by way of joining me at ZAAR Design Center.
Welcome to my world!