By the time we left Market Square, we had not only found an exciting new furniture source, we had sat in on an impromptu lesson on craft and passion. The maker is John Strauss, who we had researched before coming to High Point for the spring market. We spent over an hour learning about the collections. John showed us a curious little doodle the French use to line up wood cuts for drawer fronts. It was no accident that we were spending this much quality time with one furniture maker.
Our goal is to kickstart an initiative to make our entire furniture offering both sustainable and American made. We found out about John's company while doing our research. Going into market with these standards in place was transformative. While we spent time with new resources - most of them artisans who chose to come to market in person to represent their lines - the rest of the attendees buzzed past with an air of confusion and agitation. They seemed shell-shocked by the vast quantities of vendors and they reminded me of myself in past years: hit with a sugar rush of goods rather than nourished by a quality experience.
We discovered so much of value in our research this market, as well as forging relationships with passionate craftspeople. The American furniture makers of today are maintaining our treasury of hardwoods through responsible harvesting. And our small-batch makers comply with the kind of workplace safety guidelines that are simply not present in most overseas markets. Most seductive to a designer's mind is the fact that our artisan resources thrive on customization, which allows us to offer more design options to our clients.
In recent decades there has been much talk about globalization. In the sense that we knit nations together through robust trade and that we find common humanity through shared resources and knowledge, the concept of globalization is very attractive. Yet we are deeply satisfied to opt out of doing trade with makers who are not sensitive to the needs of workers and the environment.
When I was younger, I was a fierce environmentalist. Then I drifted, seduced by an industry that seemed careless to the matter. When the determination to make changes in my company asserted itself, I knew the time had come to commit to the progressive values in business that I cherish personally. Looking inward has helped me to discover seeds waiting to sprout and so the next chapter is green.