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Have you ever heard of Round Top, Texas? If you’re a collector, shopper, or people watcher, you need to make sure Round Top is at the top of your bucket-list trips.
I flew down to Austin, for the first time ever, with very little game plan. I had a reserved rental car and an Airbnb in Brenham, TX for a few days. I was on a mission to discover what Round Top is all about. It was somewhat spontaneous, wildly adventurous, and so needed for me to take this trip solo.
I had a goal of stopping at Nomadic Trading in Market Hill, to revisit their vintage European barn and industrial lights. I had seen their lighting displayed at Highpoint Market five years ago and finally have the perfect project to use them!
I also had the hope that my brother and sister-in-law would drive up from South Texas, and my cousin would drive down from Dallas to meet me… dreams really do come true! Talk about a bucket-list trip!
So, with all of the real goals of my trek coming to life, I could actually just take the rest of Round Top in. Let me tell you, there was A LOT to take in!
The show is held three times a year: Spring (March), Fall (October), and Winter (January). We heard from many vendors that this was a slow show compared to the past Fall and Winter shows. We had zero issues finding parking or dinner reservations. I never waited in line for a restroom either! I can’t promise this is always the case.
1. The extent of vendors! Round Top is promoted as an 8-12 mile long show along a single highway in the middle of nowhere Texas [about halfway between Houston and Austin]. I would guess that it is closer to covering around 20 miles of highway on and off in both directions, centered on downtown Round Top.
2. Permanent vendors! The town of Round Top is darling with a super cute town square filled with boutiques, a brewery, coffee/sweets shop, etc. that you can visit any time of year. There are also more and more vendors building up full-time facilities.
3. The show’s not-so-distant future! We talked to one long-time vendor who predicts that Round Top will be fully permanent in this area over the next five years. The endless vendors will be in fewer tents and more permanent structures [lots of construction for this already happening]. The scene will be geared towards designers and trade professionals, similar to Highpoint, NC. Also open to the public, but is a great one-stop-resource for trade pros to see endless vintage and one-of-a-kind in one place, and score incredible wholesale deals.
4. Round Top only vendors! I didn’t expect to see so many vendors who only attend Round Top and one or two other shows a year. They do not have a brick and mortar, and they do very little online. These shows are their full income and networking lifeline! This makes them ready to negotiate deals, especially at a volume discount, so they don’t have to load everything back up into their trucks and warehouses.
[BONUS NOTE: I had always heard that the first few days of the show are clutch to attend. It’s when Chip and Jojo and other big-time designers get there to score the best items. “Sold” tags start cropping up everywhere, apparently! I did not experience this, and it could have been because it was a slow show.
If anything, it was better to be at this show in the final days, as vendors were very ready to slash prices… some silver jewelry vendors had 50% off their last two days, other vendors were using the negotiation tactics of “not wanting to load this stuff back up”, etc.]
5. Clothing boutique vendors! They were by the plenty! Lots of small shops from Dallas, Houston, and Austin come out to play for these shows! I didn’t expect to see [and buy!] clothes and jewelry. An unexpected and fun add to the overarching furniture mix!
Each rented area has a vibe. Vendors jump around from year to year between booth locations, just to find the right fit. Some are heavily mid-mod vintage focused [hipster vibes], some are perfectly refinished French antiques [classic forever vibes], others are boutique based, rug heavy, or even outdoor monument focused [ie: fountains, rocks, benches] that would be perfect for landscape architects!
There are about 20 [maybe 30!] “markets” along the same highway, each with a range of 15-50 vendors! Hence the benefit of spending a month there! 😅
This scene is fun for anyone. There were a lot of people there for the entertainment of it all, but it’s even better if you can score some incredible one of a kind treasures for your next home design project!
I was only reprimanded once by the locals in town with a paint marker on my car window to park in a front yard instead of on the street 🤣 I think this note was better than getting a parking ticket? No doubt it’s a different world, but so worth the visit… I’ll definitely be back, and I know next time that you only park in the grass 👌
My favorite pics of the trip are the beaded [yes, beaded!] chairs below and our final evening sunset sky as we left Market Hill 👇
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INTERIOR DESIGNER, EDUCATOR, MOM OF 2, CURATOR, HOMEBODY, ANTHEM LOVER, OPEN-MINDED LEARNER, AND RESOURCE FOR YOU...
I love the hunt for diamonds in the rough, the art of styling unexpected combinations that speak to you, and the process of helping you curate a home that basically gives you a massive hug as you walk in the door.