Sunday, 26 January 2014

Showcase, Ireland's creative Expo

Showcase, which took place at the RDS in Dublin, was the country’s largest international trade fair, attracting buyers from 26 countries around the world.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D., openned Showcase – Ireland’s International Creative Expo.

Largest international trade show in Ireland welcomes buyers from 26 countries
10% increase in international buyers predicted amongst 5000+ attendees
Key markets include the UK, North America, Germany and Japan
Sales orders in excess of €20 million expected over four days
435 exhibitors unveil their latest collections and open their order books

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D., officially opened Showcase, Ireland’s International Creative Expo today, Sunday, 19th January 2014. Showcase, which takes place at the RDS in Dublin, is the country’s largest international trade fair, attracting buyers from 26 countries around the world. Showcase estimates trade order sales in excess of €20 million over the four days of the show. Now in its 38th year, the event plays a crucial part in the craft sector’s contribution to the Irish economy of almost €500 million annually.*

Over 430 of Ireland’s leading designers, manufacturers and craft makers are exhibiting at this year’s event, presenting thousands of high-quality products, which are often unique to the show, to over 5,000 retail buyers from Ireland and abroad. This year, Showcase is predicting a 10% increase in international buyers, driven by a new direct marketing effort in partnership with Enterprise Ireland offices abroad.

Speaking in the RDS at the opening of Showcase 2014, the Tánaiste said: “Showcase is of huge importance in developing trade links for Ireland’s creative sector and the next four days will be crucial for the participating exhibitors in securing orders for the coming year, supporting Irish exports and Irish jobs. The work on display throughout the show represents Irish creativity, innovation and craftsmanship at its very best. The increase in registration figures from international buyers this year is very encouraging and reflects Ireland’s growing reputation abroad for excellence in design and craftsmanship.”

The Tánaiste also announced that the Crafts Council of Ireland will now be trading as the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, following the recent signing of a three-year agreement with Enterprise Ireland – the Council’s main funder.

“This strategic development allows the organisation to formally acknowledge its remit in supporting and promoting Irish craft and product related design enterprises and will assist in growing sales of Irish craft both domestically and internationally’, he added.

The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland is the main driver behind Showcase and Chief Executive Karen Hennessy said the annual event is a key component of the organisation’s export strategy. “We believe there is significant potential for increasing exports in the sector and this annual event provides Irish designers and makers with a unique opportunity to break into international markets. Thanks to Enterprise Ireland and their promotion of Showcase abroad, we have buyers from 26 countries around the world coming to Ireland to do business over this intensive four day period. The investment of these international attendees is significant and developing exports is vital to ensure the long-term survival and growth of our craft and design industry.”

Showcase 2014 is organised in two main category strands; Fashion & Jewellery and Home & Gift, with exhibitors arranged by category to simplify navigating the event for buyers. Specially designed display areas and daily runway shows add to the excitement of the show, thanks to three appointed specialist curators; Sonia Reynolds (fashion), Natasha Sherling (jewellery) and Eleanor Harpur (home & gift).

Key elements within Showcase 2014 include:
Creative Island, a curated space dedicated to products ‘Imagined, Designed and Made in Ireland’ featuring 86 selected designer makers as well as a stunning exhibition display which premiered at London Design Festival last Autumn
The Enterprise Zone, coordinated by the County and City Enterprise Boards. With 22 Counties represented this year, the number of micro-enterprises exhibiting in the Enterprise Zone has almost tripled from 35 in 2010 to a record-breaking 93 businesses in 2014.
Extensive seminar programme, featuring top international industry experts to provide retailers with expertise, research and advice, with speakers including international design consultant Céline Cummins and Mark Kearns from Clicktailing.
Food at Showcase, a dedicated space which aims to capitalise on the growing interest in speciality food lines for gifting and general retail sales

Showcase is promoted internationally by Enterprise Ireland. According to Stephen Hughes, Consumer Retail Manager, Enterprise Ireland “Showcase is a valuable route to new, international markets for participating Irish companies. Enterprise Ireland’s network of overseas offices has worked hard to ensure that once again there will be a large international buyer presence at Showcase. Amongst the overseas visitors at this year's show will be over 200 specifically targeted international buyers from the USA, Canada, Japan, the UK, Germany, Benelux, France and the Nordic countries. As always, we look forward to welcoming new international buyers and to extending a warm welcome back to many key international buyers who return year after year to see what is new and innovative in Irish craft and craftsmanship and, most importantly, place export orders.”,

The Enterprise Zone features a wide range of quality Irish products from small craft businesses, many of which are exhibiting at Showcase for the first time. Vincent Reynolds, Chairman of the County and City Enterprise Board Network said that “This year sees the largest ever investment by the County and City Enterprise Boards in the Enterprise Zone at Showcase with an unprecedented number of companies exhibiting at the event. Testament to the reputation and success of Showcase, it also puts a spotlight on the potential for small craft and design businesses in Ireland. Meeting both domestic and international buyers at the Enterprise Zone, these micro-enterprises will have the opportunity to access new markets, grow their business and create employment in their locality, ultimately feeding into the overall recovery of the Irish economy.” Over 5,700 people are employed in Ireland by the entrepreneurial small and medium sized businesses that rely on Showcase to reach international customers, which is a fraction of the cost of travelling abroad to other trade fairs.