Local designers heading for 2015 showcase expo

Story by John Donohoe

Thursday, 15th January, 2015 3:45pm

Local designers heading for 2015 showcase expo

Meath designers are taking part in Showcase - Ireland’s Creative Expo, which returns to the RDS from Sunday 18th January to Wednesday 21st January. Attracting more than 5,000 trade buyers from Ireland and up to 26 countries, Showcase has become a must-see event for retailers to source unique Irish design and craft products, making it the country’s largest annual trade event. The fair is a key platform for Irish designers, manufacturers and craftspeople in reaching out to Irish and international buyers, in order to grow and expand their business.

Designers and craftspeople from Leinster who will be presenting their latest product ranges at Showcase 2015 include Bunbury Boards, Irish Linen House, Jennifer Slattery Textiles, Chupi, Max Benjamin, Bláithín Ennis, CarveOn, Jerpoint Glass Studio, Helena Malone Goldsmith, The Handmade Soap Company and Mullingar Pewter.

Showcase 2015 will be the first international trade event as part of the year long programme for Irish Design 2015 (ID2015), a government-backed initiative exploring, promoting and celebrating Irish design throughout Ireland and internationally in order to drive job creation, grow exports and increase competitiveness.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD said: “Irish Design 2015 aims to promote the very best of Irish design, supporting Irish businesses in selling their goods and services in competitive foreign markets. This is a key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs. As the first major trade event in the ID2015 programme of activities nationally and internationally, Showcase 2015 will provide a critical platform for presenting Irish design and craftsmanship to buyers from around the world. The annual event plays a crucial role in facilitating the development of export markets and the creation of job opportunities in design and craft businesses all over Ireland.”

To celebrate ID2015, Showcase has been given a complete visual make over with the new look built around the idea of nature and creativity, which is so integral to the inspiration and work of Irish designers and makers. The new look is being implemented across all aspects of the show from visual displays and the daily fashion shows to communications, in particular the website (www.showcaseireland.com), which has been completely updated and enhanced to ensure easier navigation and a more enjoyable visitor experience.

The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) is the main driver behind Showcase. According to Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, the annual event is central to DCCoI’s ambitious plans for growing the market for Irish design and craft both at home and abroad. “Showcase provides buyers with a unique opportunity to meet and do business with hundreds of Irish designers and makers over an intensive four day period, generating up to €20 million in sales orders. Thanks to Enterprise Ireland’s promotion of Showcase abroad, the show continues to attract buyers from around the world whose investment is vital for small and medium sized enterprises keen to break into export markets or expand their existing international presence. Through developing and hosting a professional, world class trade show focused on Irish creativity, we continually strive to maximise the potential for increased sales and exports of Irish craft and design, ensuring the long-term development of this vibrant sector,” she said.

This year sees an almost 10% increase in exhibitor numbers on 2014, with over 460 of Ireland’s leading designers, manufacturers and craftspeople set to present their latest products, many of which are unique to the show. There is an emphasis on new products to market, giving retailers the chance to stock up on unique, design led products in fashion, knitwear, craft, gifts and home accessories. The growth in exhibitor’s numbers is reflected in the new breed of creative startups that are renewing interest in buying and owning Irish craft and design. Since 2010, the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland has seen 775 companies register as client enterprises, an increase of almost 35%. Many of these companies are already selling into large retailers on the high street and establishing export markets.

For 2015, Showcase will once again be streamlined under fashion, jewellery and home and gift by specialist curators Sonia Reynolds (fashion), Natasha Sherling (jewellery) and Eleanor Harpur (home and gift). These appointed experts will make viewing the best products easier for the discerning visitor and will also select products for the Best Product Awards at the show, nominating winners across four categories – jewellery, fashion, accessories, home and gift. Daily runway shows will also take place again for 2015, presenting the latest fashion from Irish designers.

Creative Island remains at the heart of the show, presenting authentic Irish craft products designed and made in Ireland and featuring 90 commercial designer-makers who were chosen by an independent jury for their creativity, innovation and craftsmanship. An exciting new feature for 2015 is a live retail shop selling Irish designed and made work which is designed to inspire visitors to Showcase with ideas on presenting Irish products in innovative ways.

Bigger than ever, the Enterprise Zone at Showcase 2015 will fully occupy the balcony of the Main Hall at the RDS, featuring over 90 exhibitors supported by their Local Enterprise Offices. This designated area is a great platform to promote exciting, unique products from emerging Irish businesses, providing these micro enterprises with a unique opportunity to establish links with Irish and international retailers.

An extensive retail seminar programme over the four days of the show will feature top international industry speakers delivering thought provoking presentations, providing retailers with expertise, research and advice. Delivered in association with IEDR, Ireland’s domain registry, topics will include e-commerce for retailers, effective use of social media, retail merchandising and more.

Showcase is promoted internationally by Enterprise Ireland. According to Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland: "Showcase is a valuable route to international markets for Irish companies in the design and craft sectors, who have the ambition and capability to win export contracts. The calibre of international buyers attracted to Showcase by Enterprise Ireland is truly impressive and testament to Enterprise Ireland's teams at home and abroad, who work hard to ensure a large international buyer presence at Showcase each year. This year, being the year of Irish Design, will be especially exciting for Showcase. We look forward to welcoming new, first-time international buyers to Showcase as well as to extending a warm welcome back to the many key international buyers who return year after year. The ambition is to showcase what is new and innovative in Irish design, craft and craftsmanship and, ultimately, to win export orders."

Entrepreneurial small and medium sized businesses rely on Showcase to reach their international customers, at a fraction of the cost of travelling abroad to other trade fairs. The event runs from Sunday 18th to Wednesday 21st January 2015 and is for trade attendance only. For further details on the event, see: www.showcaseireland.com.


Among the Meath exhibitors are: 

  • Agency International
  • Big Red Kitchen
  • Caulfield Country Boards
  • Diem Pottery
  • The Handmade Soap Company
  • Janet Byrne Knitwear
  • Niamh Design Studio
  • Royal County Products
  • Soilse Candles
  • Weird Fish
  • Floraville home & Gift LTD T/A Floraville
  • Roberts Wholesale Books LTD

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