Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation officially opens Showcase Ireland's International Creative Expo®

21st January 2018

Showcase 2018

L-R: Gerry Murphy, Event Pro; Brian McGee, Design & Crafts Council of Ireland; Breege O’Donoghue, Design & Crafts Council of Ireland; Minister Heather Humphreys TD; Sheelagh Daly, Local Enterprise Offices Network; Stephen Hughes, Enterprise Ireland

• One of Ireland’s largest international trade shows welcomes over 5,000 buyers from more than 20 countries including the UK, USA, Mainland Europe and the Far East
• 450 Irish designers, manufacturers and craftspeople unveil their latest collections
• Over €20 million in sales orders expected over an intensive four-day period

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, T.D. officially opened Showcase – Ireland’s International Creative Expo® at the RDS, Dublin today. One of the country’s largest international trade fairs, Showcase 2018 will welcome over 5,000 buyers from Ireland and more than 20 countries including the UK, North America, Germany, Italy, Japan and UAE over the four days of the show which runs until Wednesday, 24th January.

This on-trend annual trade fair has enjoyed very strong growth over the past two years, with estimated sales orders generated at the show growing from €18.4 million to over €21.2 million at last year’s show, equating to an annual market value of €140.4 million. Organisers are predicting another year of growth in orders placed at the show over the next four days.

Minister Humphreys said: “Ireland’s innovative design and craft sector makes an invaluable contribution to our economy and our culture, providing employment across all regions. Showcase plays a crucial role in sustaining and growing this vibrant sector, offering a unique opportunity to highlight the diversity and quality of work from talented Irish designers and makers to specialist trade buyers from all over the world. This annual show enables creative Irish businesses to expand their client base and maximise the potential for increased sales and exports, ultimately creating job opportunities for the future. I wish all exhibitors every success over the four days of the show and throughout 2018.”

Founded by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland 42 years ago, Showcase is an international launch pad for the 450 Irish designers, manufacturers and craftspeople who unveil their new season collections across fashion, jewellery, home and giftware. Each year, a particular emphasis is placed on new products to market, providing retailers with opportunities to discover and stock up on the latest design-led products, many of which are unique to the show.

For 2018, Showcase introduces MADE/Slow, a special presentation of quality design featuring beautiful products to adorn the body, dress the home and warm the soul, designed to be loved and cherished forever, not cast aside. The work featured in MADE/Slow is designed and made in Ireland providing sustainable rural employment through the combination of technology and traditional production methods.

The fashion and textile products selected for MADE/Slow are being introduced at a vibrant fashion show curated by renowned stylist Catherine Condell. Brands participating in MADE/Slow include Fisherman Out of Ireland, Aran Woollen Mills, Avoca, Ireland’s Eye, Mourne Textiles, Magee, Áine, Ros Duke, Madigan, TISSUE and McNutt of Donegal.

Throughout the show beautiful new timber shelving units, designed by award-winning exhibition designer, Steven McNamara of ROJI and made in Ireland by Klimmek Furniture, present tastefully curated displays of the best and most innovative products as selected by specialist curators Alanna Gallagher (Home & Gift) and Natasha Sherling (Jewellery).

At the heart of Showcase 2018, Design Ireland features 76 leading contemporary Irish brands chosen by an independent jury for their creativity, innovation and craftsmanship. All the products in this dedicated area of the Main Hall have been designed and made with passion in Ireland.

Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, commented: “Showcase is central to our strategy in growing the international reputation and commercial potential of Irish design and craft. Exhibitors at the show include micro, small and medium-sized enterprises keen to break into the export market or expand their existing international presence, and Showcase provides them with the opportunity to connect with buyers from all over the world and secure orders for the coming year. Given the very positive response to previews organised by Showcase and Enterprise Ireland in Paris and Chicago in late 2017, we are anticipating another busy and productive show this year and are hopeful of increased international buyers despite the current challenges in international markets such as Brexit.”

Showcase is promoted internationally by Enterprise Ireland through its network of overseas offices. According to Stephen Hughes, Consumer Retail Manager, Enterprise Ireland: "Showcase provides an excellent platform for Irish companies with global ambition to present their design and craft products to the world, and more importantly to keen, interested high-calibre buyers. Over 240 international buyers, journalists and bloggers from across the globe have been identified to attend by Enterprise Ireland’s overseas teams in our top 10 markets for consumer products. The exceptional quality and design that Irish consumer companies have to offer appeals greatly to global buyers who are focused on sourcing unique products, and we are delighted to have both new and returning international buyers from the US, Japan, Europe and the UK. Enterprise Ireland’s aim is to help Irish consumer retail companies with global ambition to win export orders from visiting buyers and to grow their businesses, creating and sustaining jobs right across the country.”

Showcase is becoming even more important for Ireland’s micro enterprises and new start-ups, according to the Chair of the Network of Local Enterprise Offices, Sheelagh Daly. This year, the 31 Local Enterprise Offices across every local authority area are jointly supporting over 100 designers and craftspeople within a dedicated Local Enterprise Showcase in the RDS. She said: “International trade shows, like Showcase, help innovative start-ups and micro enterprises break into new export markets, supporting them to look beyond the Irish market for growth. Thanks to the successful partnership between the Local Enterprise Offices, the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, many first-time exhibitors within the Local Enterprise Showcase will reach new business heights with international orders.”

For attendees wishing to expand their knowledge and learn more about global trends, an extensive retail seminar programme will feature top international industry speakers delivering thought-provoking workshops and presentations that provide retailers with expertise, research and advice.

Showcase is a partnership between the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and Showcase Ireland Events Ltd., with support from Enterprise Ireland in promoting the trade show internationally through their network of offices overseas.

Showcase 2018 runs until Wednesday 24th January and is for trade attendance only. For further details on the event or to register to attend, please visit www.showcaseireland.com.

Ends

About Showcase

Showcase – Ireland’s International Creative Expo® is one of the country’s largest international trade shows. The annual event is attended by over 5,000 buyers from Ireland and more than 20 countries around the world, generating sales orders of over €20 million over the four days of the show. Showcase is a partnership between the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and Showcase Ireland Events Ltd, with support from Enterprise Ireland in promoting the show internationally through their network of offices overseas. More than 450 Irish designers, manufacturers and craftspeople exhibit at the fair, including over 100 emerging Irish businesses supported by their Local Enterprise Offices. Showcase is for trade attendance only. www.showcaseireland.com

About the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland

The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) is the national agency for the commercial development of Irish designers and makers, stimulating innovation, championing design thinking and informing Government policy. DCCoI's activities are funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation via Enterprise Ireland. DCCoI currently has 64 member organisations and over 2,500 registered clients. www.dccoi.ie

ENDS

For further press information, please contact:

Tara Walsh

Elevate PR

Tara Walsh

+353 1 662 5652

Emer Igbokwe

Elevate PR

Emer Igbokwe

Tel:+353 1 662 5652

Emma Kelly

Elevate PR

Emma Kelly

Tel:+353 1 662 5652