Meet the CHI Team’s Michael Hodgins

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We continue our series Meet the CHI team in 2017 with a profile on our newest team member Michael Hodgins.

Name: Michael Hodgins

Job title: Sales Executive

Number of years with CHI and in the industry:

I joined Custom Home Interiors in April of this year. Prior to that, I had been working with residential builders for more than two years, and working with architects and designers in commercial interior fit-up for 15+ years.

What did you study in school?

I studied commerce with a marketing focus in school.

What is your favourite room in a home and why?

The kitchen – it’s the social hub when it’s laid out properly.

If you could only have one appliance in your kitchen, what would it be and why?

A slide-in duel fuel range, wider than residential standard, installed close to the prep sink in the oversized island. This makes prep and cooking a potentially collaborative experience and lets the cook(s) host graciously rather than being isolated or with back(s) turned to everyone. Having a gas cooktop also allows you to cook and heat your coffee/tea even when there’s a power outage.

Tell us about one of the projects, initiatives or events have you been involved with since you started at CHI:

I recently attended an industry trade show with builder clients and students in attendance to hear some of the guest speakers and check out supplier exhibits. It was a worthwhile networking opportunity; exposing the CHI brand and re-establishing myself in the builder-sector.


Custom Home Interiors works with industry professional to provide leading edge furniture, appliances, home automation, fireplaces, window treatments and fittings for commercial and residential projects.

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One Day at Las Vegas Furniture Market

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by Tyler Dren

I was recently in Las Vegas, Nevada on vacation with my wife this past January. It happened to coincide with the Las Vegas Furniture Market, the most comprehensive furniture, home décor and gift market in the Western United States, so we decided to tag an extra day onto the trip to attend.

The Las Vegas Furniture Market is one of the two big industry trade shows — High Point being the other — that you hear about constantly in our business. I had been wanting to get to this one but the timing never worked out until now.

This market features a unique cross-section of 4,000+ resources in more than 5 million square feet of product resources across 40 showroom floors and in 600 temporary exhibits. It would take two to three days to get through all of it, but you will find most of the same vendors at both markets. So, I made the most of the day I had to focus on strengthening existing relationships with vendors I had connected with at Highpoint Furniture Market and discovering a few new ones.

Among buyers from all 50 states and some 80 other countries, presenting housewares, seasonal and casual/outdoor resources, a few products and companies stood out for me.

A company by the name of Bluworld of Water, based in Orlando, Florida, designs, builds, installs and services water features, products, and systems. Water walls have become an increasingly popular feature in common areas of buildings, and we were impressed with what they had to offer.

We discovered Moe’s Furniture, a company with a distribution division in the Greater Vancouver Area. They design modern and contemporary furniture for kitchens, dining rooms and bedrooms, but what we loved most was their cool condo-size upholsteries.

Las Vegas Market Winter 2017 was their largest winter market ever in terms of overall attendance and brands represented, reflecting the health of the industry. We have already started using a couple of vendors that I connected with one this trip, so it was definitely a successful market for us as well.


Custom Home Interiors works with industry professional to provide leading edge furniture, appliances, home automation, fireplaces, window treatments and fittings for commercial and residential projects.

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My Strategy for Tackling High Point Market Furniture Trade Show

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by Tyler Dren, Director of Operations
Custom Home Interiors by Obvious Advantage Inc.
& Corporate Housing Interiors Ltd.

CHI has been attending the High Point Market (HPMKT) for several years now; the largest furnishings trade show in the world. Initially, some of our manufacturers invited us to come see them at the show, and it seemed like a great way to strengthen these relationships. It has also turn into an opportunity to meet new vendors and discover new product offerings.

When we talk about the largest furnishings trade show in the world, it can be difficult to put that into perspective. HPMKT happens twice a year — each spring and fall. More than 2,000 exhibitors from all over the world come to showcase tens of thousands of new products each time. The HPMKT is housed in 180 buildings over 11.5 million square feet of showspace, and more than 75,000 people attend each event.

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What we are, in fact, talking about is a small city that is a market. You can actually hop on and off of rickshaws to get you around. As you can imagine, it would be impossible to cover the whole market in the five days allotted. The whole experience can be a bit overwhelming if you don’t know what to expect or have a game plan. You can easily get caught up in all the beautiful items on display and never accomplish anything useful for your business.

In terms of furniture and accessories, the HPMKT has everything you could ever need or want. That being said, the Market is focused on very high end designers. For example, you’ll see $15,000 sectionals and $7,000 blown glass vases. It would not be realistic to put these types of furnishings in high traffic commercial lobbies or corporate suites.

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This not being my first time at the “rodeo”, I had goals I needed to achieve and a strategy to make those happen. My game plan was to stay focused on the task at hand and seek out those vendors selling the type of commercial products that we need in a price point that works for our business model. As I mentioned before, strengthening existing relationships with existing vendors and meeting new vendors was one of my main goals. The others were to find new products that we don’t already use or aren’t aware of, and, specifically those that offer us new areas of opportunity.

There are two main buildings at HPMKT, the International Home Furnishing Centre and the Suites at Market Square. I use IHFC as starting point and head towards Suites at Market Square. Although, I could walk in any direction in the city and find buildings full of showrooms, there are easily more than 500 vendors booths set up in each of those two buildings; helping me maximize my time.

20161024_132433On day one, I got my bearings by just wandered through every single floor of the main buildings. I took notes if something caught my eye or companies looked interesting. I didn’t really talk to anyone that day; it was a research day.

At the end of the day, I went back to the hotel logged onto the HPMKT website and searched vendors to create a target list for day two. I narrowed it down to Canadian manufacturers and companies that service Canada, which included about 30 or 40 manufacturers. I printed a floor plan from website and mapped out my route.


On the second day, I took a shuttle from my hotel down to the show at 7 a.m. I pounded the pavement until 7 p.m. and was able to meet with the entire list. I didn’t specifically make any purchases but put together wish lists and mock orders with a bunch of suppliers. They follow up with an email so you can review it with your team when you get back to the office.

Although, I have a good sense of what we need, because I see all the product that comes through our warehouse, I rely on designers and other colleagues to make final decisions on what to buy. My focus is on finding products that hit the price points we need We have been able to use this process successfully to find and order new products for our projects.


Overall, I feel that our experience at HPMKT has been positive over the years. We value the opportunity to build and strengthen relationships with vendors. From our specific business point of view, it would be nice to have more products from a wider variety of price points available, as well as more small items like housewares, linens, towels, dinnerware, and functional type products that go into our suites. However, we understand that is not the focus of this particular show.


Custom Home Interiors works with industry professional to provide leading edge furniture, appliances, home automation, fireplaces, window treatments and fittings for commercial and residential projects.

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