The One Percent
Laura Van Zeyl

Thomas Edison famously said: “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” His point is well taken; an initial idea — however brilliant — is only a fraction of the process. There is no substitute for the inevitable hard work, and trial-and-error failures, that follow on the path to any success. But with Inspirations as the theme for spring’s High Point Market, it’s worth noting that “the idea,” while it may only be a small first step in a long journey, is essential for getting anywhere.

The High Point Market Authority, which has won awards for its past social media efforts, took a clever multimedia approach to this edition’s Inspirations campaign. Its website ( features stories describing designers’ inspirations for specific product lines, complete with their accompanying Spotify playlists to set the mood. Pinterest-savvy Style Spotters have also contributed to this concept by creating music mixes inspired by current home furnishings trends, illustrated by image galleries showcasing those looks.

This cross-pollination of creativity is itself inspiring. As someone who always has a healthy awe for designers’ abilities, I am fascinated by how the magic happens. I love to know what arouses their passions and to see the initial seeds that ultimately blossom into best-sellers. It’s like getting to peek behind the curtain and see the wizardry at work. Genuine inspirations not only enhance a design’s story for marketing purposes (although that is a business-boosting bonus), they make a piece and the person behind it more relatable. Maybe we even find that we share something unexpected in common.

Even if you’re not an artistic type, something (or someone) inspires you. And we all seek novel solutions to problems we encounter at work and in life. I would argue that you can’t have any innovation without first having inspiration.

Technology enables new tools to find inspiration from otherwise distant and disparate sources. We’ve expanded our communities of contacts with potential to prompt new ways of thinking. Our virtual worlds allow us to work smarter, cutting back on a little of that “perspiration” part without sacrificing results.

But even with endless archives of material at the other end of a search engine, I would rather go somewhere than Google it. There’s no substitute for immersing all of your senses in a real-life experience. It’s just fantastic how readily we can share those mini-epiphanies with one another now, and maybe set off a chain reaction of inspiration in others. You never know — today’s iTunes download could lead to tomorrow’s top trend.

About this author

Laura Van Zeyl

Laura Van Zeyl is the Publisher/Editorial Director of Residential Lighting and Home Fashion Forecast magazines, and has been covering the lighting and home furnishings industries since 1993. In 2014, she was named one of "100 Women of Inspiration" by Today's Chicago Woman magazine.

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