Industry Rock Stars

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Our industry is full of incredible people, some with very bold personalities, and some who keep a low profile. We believe it is these people behind the brand, or out front with a cape on, who truly define the pieces that roll off the production floor. So let us tell you about a few of these rock stars who we think define their brands, and keep an eye out for even more over the next few weeks.

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Jason Phillips, Phillips Collection 

What is your earliest memory of HPMKT?

It feels like I grew up around the High Point Market—even being raised in NY, I would fly down with my parents who had just established Phillips Collection, and go to daycare during the month-long showroom setup. So my earliest memories are of me and my sister getting slightly tormented by the High Point kids for our strange New York accents!

What is the most challenging part of Market with all you have going on?

Aside from the obvious like planning events and showroom tours, it’s the delightfully unexpected meetings and walk-ins that challenge us. Simply because we want to make time for everyone and truly feel all of our clients are important—regardless of the big fish who walk in the door.

What is your favorite non-Phillips thing to do at Market?

The ART parties, although with our showroom events we are never able to attend bowling night! Also the after-hours parties and a seminar or two.

What is your favorite product that you will have in your showroom in October?

Angela Harris’ collection which we debuted in Vegas but will have in full-force at High Point Market. Angela Harris for Phillips Collection marks our entry into an entirely new category which is sofas and other seating collections.

What showrooms do you always make a point to visit?  

Global Views and Left Bank Art. Such good vibes, design and friends in those showrooms.

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David Farris, Barnes Custom Upholstery

What did you do before owning Barnes?

Before owning Barnes I was in the airline industry - specifically I ran the product development department responsible for creating onboard meals for first and business class on 30 international airlines.  

What's been the most surprising thing about the furniture business?

The most surprising thing, so far, about the furniture industry is how little styles actually change year over year.  Sure there are differences in arm widths and leg styles, but overall a sofa is still a sofa and a chair is still a chair.  Innovation comes in tiny little nuances, not big sweeping effects.

What's the coolest thing you have seen at HPMKT?

Being new to the furniture industry I admit to being overwhelmed by most of what I see. I especially love the talent of artists like Itinerant Studios - seeing how they view the world and how different the same view can be portrayed by different artists.

What are you most looking forward to at Fall Market?

Market for me is all about the people and the connections and the ideas those folks share. I’ve learned more about my own line from customers at market than I could ever imagine as they express their ideas of how they would design, use or cover the furniture we build.

What showrooms do you always make a point to visit?    

The two showrooms that I love to visit at market are oomph and Imagine Home.  They both offer such a unique perspective on furniture that is high quality, super approachable and very comfortable - both physically and aesthetically.  

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Whitney Kelly, Piper Collection

How many Markets have you been to and what have you learned or been surprised by so far?

This October will be my 12th High Point Market. I can’t believe how time is flying by! I have learned that customer service and building relationships with my customers is key. I love catching up with new and old clients every few months during the shows. I’ve also learned to never miss a market. Being at Market representing your business is a must.  It’s also so fun to see all of the trends!

What kind of response have you gotten to your pillows at Market?

My pillows have always been well received at Market. I like to think that I am able to stay up to date on current trends as well as providing something new and different to the industry. Customers like my choices of fabric, texture and color. It also helps that I am not afraid to be unique.

Tell us how you got started and what running your business has been like for you.

I went to the University of Alabama for a degree in textile design. My mother, who has been a designer in the industry for 20+ years urged me to walk Atlanta Market with her one weekend during college. From there, I realized there were no pillows I saw that I would put in my own home, and from there, I started Piper Collection. It’s been so scary, fun, and rewarding. I love being my own boss and having the ability to (somewhat) create my own schedule.  Every day is different and each day brings new challenges, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What's next for Whitney?

Good question! We’ve got some great new collections cranking out this fall and early next spring. I am excited to share them with everyone as soon as I can. I hope to make another trip to India early next year for some trend watching. I will post all about my travels on Instagram so please follow along! @pipercollection

What showrooms do you always make a point to visit? 

I don’t get out much since I am usually the only one working my booth, but when I do, I love to see my friends at Scents & Feel, Dunes and Duchess, and Creative Touch, all of which are in the Suites at Market Square with me! If I make it to a Market party, Universal Furniture is my favorite!