The High Point Market Authority has created a group that seeks to improve diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the home furnishings industry and has tapped global trend ambassador and DEI proponent Patti Carpenter to head the initiative as group chair.
Carpenter is founder of The Kaleidoscope Project, which promotes and showcases the diversity of talent among designers. In addition, she is a principal and color and trends specialist at Carpenter + Company and serves on the board of the Bienenstock Furniture Library in High Point.
She also has had many other roles in the industry, including designing private-label products for brands such as Neiman Marcus, Crate & Barrel, Phillips Collection, Ralph Lauren, and ABC Carpet & Home to name several.
The group is charged with forming a DEI-focused action plan to help identify areas of improvement in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion in the home furnishings industry. While still in the early stage of its work, it has met a few times to begin the process of how it can best make a positive impact in these and other areas.
“Sometimes that will be this group leading an effort. Other times it will be our group coming alongside an existing initiative,” said Ashley Grigg, HPMA director of marketing and communications. “At times, it could just be a matter of listening to ensure voices are heard. There’s a lot of opportunity, so we are also working to prioritize our efforts for maximum impact.”
The group also has secured social innovation firm Change Often to facilitate, create and execute an action plan. Barbour said that Change Often will help ensure the group remains focused and is “taking meaningful, strategic strides towards improving DEI within the industry.”
Grigg said that more information will be available in the coming months, but noted that the group will meet during each April and October market and at least twice virtually throughout the year. She noted that subcommittee work also will take place throughout the year.
“We have engaged a diverse group of professionals from across the industry who are deeply interested and fully invested in embracing this work,” she said, noting that ideas already are being discussed on how to address DEI throughout the home furnishings industry.