What’s In The Bag?

The inside scoop on the items Market-goers always keep by their sides

Experienced Market visitors always bring a stash of must-haves to the show. Some are obvious, like business cards, phones, tablets, lip balm, and tissues. But what secrets might the Market newbie learn by peering into the depths of those eye-catching totes? We performed an investigation by stopping a few innocent folks and asking them to spill the contents. Behold the intriguing results.

For Susan Sechter of Maison and Terri Burkart of Got You Floored, it’s as much about what you can take home from High Point as what you bring. “The bags we start the day with end up stuffed with the all the free bags we pick up along the way,” they said. Susan was especially thrilled with the graphic design on her canvas Kalalou bag and proudly showed off a velvet pocketbook by designer Glenda Gies that she picked up “for a steal!” on the Mezzanine floor of Market Square.

Lynn Andrew of Twenty Seven Interiors in Thomasville, NC won our unofficial award for the most typical findings with lipstick (a very flattering color!), bottled water, sunglasses, wallet, well-stocked business card holder, scarf, and hand sanitizer. She also was toting around last season’s Pocket Guide, so we kindly provided her with an updated edition.

Working with the highly scientific logic that stunning bags would hold exciting treasures, we asked Patty Johnson, a rep with Home Accents Today, if she would reveal the interior of her flaming red Michael Kors handbag. This hardworking gal had a stack of media kits and, for some reason, a set of extremely colorful Sharpies. She also shared something we hadn’t seen yet, a collection of leather name tag holders in different colors to match her outfits. When we asked why, she said, “I like to be coordinated!”

It was the exquisite pink leather backpack that drew us to Katie Zeller from Ash Drive Design in Roeland Park, Kansas. We assumed she’d have some remarkable items inside, and we weren’t disappointed. Beyond the usual phone, lip gloss, water bottle, sunglasses, and wallet, we found the always practical portable phone charger, and a warm and quite fashion-forward scarf. Plus, something you rarely see in the hands of a Millennial, a leather pocket planner that she actually writes in!

Chelsea Taliercio of A Candle in the Night of Brattleboro, Vermont, met our classy bag criteria with her roomy dark blue leather tote. She stuffed it full of new fabric samples from one of her favorite vendors, Thibaut. She also had files of project notes, a hotel key, a breast cancer awareness bracelet, and a linty lollipop left over from trying to bribe one of her children.

Keith McCollum, of Modern Home Furniture in Lexington, Kentucky, caught our eye with the perfect “Man Bag,” a professional yet casual canvas satchel detailed with brown leather. Inside he had an impressive collection of coordinated wood and fabric samples curated from his morning of showroom visits.

We’re partial to pink, so when we spied a rose-colored Chanel number over the shoulder of Joy Mitchell of Office Creations, Inc. in Norcross, Georgia, we asked her to dump it out. Pay dirt! Not only did she have the usual accouterments: phone, business card file, wallet, jumbo size bottles of water and Advil, to our surprise, she was also hauling around her business license. This woman was prepared for anything!

Brian Phillips of Treasure Valley Interiors in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China, had his entire office in his swollen briefcase and was busy working away in the Showplace lobby when we interrupted him. He shared it all – MacBook, notebook, wood panel chips, fabric samples, Zipfizz Energy Drink Mix and a protein bar. He won our respect for having the heaviest bag, and the longest distance schlepped.

So, there’s a consensus on the essentials to keep by your side when you come to Market: phone (of course), something to drink, something for the lips, your over-the-counter painkiller of choice, your wallet and as many business cards as you can get printed in time. After that, anything from your laptop to your business license (which could come in handy, if you want to open an account on the spot). And one last thing – be sure to leave enough room for whatever you want to carry home!