De-Luxe Design The World The story is similar for Julie Bray, manager of Luxe Home Interiors, a locally owned furniture and design shop specializing in custom upholstery with a fun, approachable and boutique-y feel. “My first Market in the fall of 2006 was so amazing, so eye-opening and so confusing,” she admits with a laugh. “We carried many of the big brand names like Stanley, Lexington, Hooker and Norwalk, but by going to Market I realized that there was so much more out there; you could literally find something for everyone.” These days, Bray’s favorite time at Market is walking the famed InterHall at the International Home Furnishings Center, a juried offering of up-and-coming fashion lines. “We’re always looking for new vendors with a fresh approach that nobody else has,” she notes. Beyond this, Bray adds, “I’m always in awe of all the different showrooms at Market, but there are some that always stand out, like Currey & Company, Arteriors and Global Views, which always have fabulous colors and the most fan-tastic arrangements of florals with fruits and vegetables, along with great lighting. There’s also C.R. Laine, which features the gorgeous Tobi Fairley Collection and is always inspirational.” Among the highlights at the most recent spring 2015 show that caught Bray’s eye were the Pastiche upholstery collection from Norwalk, which she describes as very muted and feminine, almost like watercolors, and the introduction of the Thomas O’Brien Collection at Century Furniture. “It was stunning, and very much my style, a mid-century feeling mixed with traditional,” she says. Since new collections like these will not show up on retail floors across the country until later this year, Bray offers this tip: “Many of our vendors are on Instagram. So, if I want to preview what’s going to be hot before I get to Market, I look at their Instagram accounts. It’s a great way for consumers who want to follow along to see what’s going on, too.” Julie Bray of Luxe Home Interiors at InterHall inside the Norwalk Furniture Market’s International Home Furnishings Center, April 2015. august 2015 54 WBM When it comes to reaching the world at large, it may surprise some to know that one Wilmington-based business — Meridien — helps bring the world’s home for home furnishings to the world. Located south of the Port of Wilmington and established 25 years ago by Robert Keith, a specialist in interna-tional transportation, Meridien is a leading sales and logistics company specializing in American home furnishings products. “We tell our customers and everyone we deal with how important the Market is, and encourage them to come so they can see the trends from the American side,” Keith explains. “Milan is very important to many of our customers, as are the Chinese Markets in Shanghai, but we know that the American Market is basically one year to one and one-half years ahead of the Chinese. So, if you want to be on top of the leading trends, you’ve got to shop the High Point Market.” Serving retailers, designers, design bou-tiques and wealthy individuals around the globe, the company performs a few differ-ent functions during its time at the High Point Market. For one, Meridien’s team serves as manufacturers’ sales representa-tives for a number of American brands — managing all of their sales and marketing activities outside the US and Canada. That means, at any given market, Meridien is responsible for managing the international activities of between 20 and 25 different home furnishings companies. To accomplish this logistical feat, staff members based in satellite offices as far-flung as Moscow, Dubai, Hong Kong, Peru, Monterey, Mexico and Poland, fly in with clients, and then move quickly around the Market to help those clients shop, and deliver their purchases to their final destinations. Along with buying, Meridien provides its international customers with a range of related services, including interior design, project management, logistics and financial services.
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