At High Point Market, the last matter of business at every Tuesday Style Spotter Breakfast is the much anticipated passing of the Style Spotter mantle, when the new team is announced. It is an exciting moment as it’s very hush-hush up to this point. Each Style Spotter designer knows he or she has been chosen, but they don’t know who else will serve with them, and this secret burns inside of them for weeks.
Cynthia Ferguson is on the new SS team. She had to make up excuses to her friends about why she was staying at Market through Tuesday. “The absolute hardest part was knowing and keeping it a secret!!” she says. “I was busy booking my hotel reservation and was departing a different date than all my friends but could not explain the reason why!” When she got the notice that she had been chosen back in August, Cynthia had to read the email twice before the good news truly registered.
This year in addition to the divine eight, there are two advisors stepping into the role Michelle Wiebe played for five years. Shay Geyer and Gary Inman , both former Spotters in 2012 and 2014 respectively, will share the responsibility; to say they are psyched about the collaboration is an understatement. “As a mentor, I believe it’s Gary’s & my job to provide guidance and support to the Style Spotters as needed,” says Shay. “We’re their biggest cheerleaders and we’re excited to encourage them and help connect them throughout the year. Networking is so key in our industry & we’re thrilled to help get the Style Spotters 2019 team plugged in!”
Gary attributes his style spotting stint as a valuable key that opened doors. “What I’m looking forward to most is the chance to give back to the program that truly redirected my career,” he says. “It helped me leave a bad firm and opened the doors for so many opportunities within the industry. I view it as a great PR launching pad that has allowed me to enhance my voice within the industry.”
Cynthia Ferguson is optimistic about leveraging the role as well. “I am hopeful that being a Style Spotter will actually provide me the opportunity to gain recognition in Canada as well as an opportunity to partner with suppliers,” she says. “A great deal of what we do can help suppliers increase the awareness of their product to the trade.”
Designers must apply to be a Style Spotter and then from the submissions, the High Point Market Authority puts the new team together by using a combination of self-identified and well-known candidates, with an impartial vetting and selection committee which often includes former program participants. The goal is to form a diverse and geographically balanced group. States represented include TN, MA, TX, NC, NY, and AR. Canadian Cynthia Ferguson calls herself lucky because the competition to be the International SS isn’t as fierce.
If you think Style Spotting is something you might like to do in 2020 or farther down the road, it is never too early to practice. You could, for example, try to "walk like a Style Spotter." That is what Michelle impressed upon Gary Inman’s group. Gary explains, “It means to trust your insticncts and your eye and move through Market with sharp focus but not overthinking the minutia. I learned not to hesitant in "spotting" a design that resonated with me the moment I encountered it.” Gary, who is a natural born mentor, is hoping to retiterate some of the most beneficial strategies with the current team.
“We are excited about what this diverse team will bring to High Point Market with their individual styles, social media followings and their ability to spot trends affecting the home furnishings industry,” commented Tom Conley, president and CEO of the High Point Market Authority. “Style Spotters is one of our premier programs, adding great value for our buyers, media attendees and exhibitors. The team’s insights and input is a widely-used resource for both our attendees and the industry as a whole.”
“Meet the Team” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSILKzKSS7M.
And you can already register for Spring Market! Click here to register.