Irish Makers welcome international buyers to the 45th Showcase Creative Expo, one of the industry’s largest international trade fairs
25th January, 2021
Designers and craft makers showcase exciting range of contemporary and heritage collections to buyers from across the globe in NEW virtual platform
The 45th Showcase Ireland Creative Expo kicks off today with over 100 makers from all over the country taking part in the event’s first ever virtual showrooms. The event, entitled Showcase Virtual Showrooms 2021, will welcome hundreds of Irish and international buyers from 17 countries.
Normally held in Dublin’s RDS, where it creates a buzz for Irish and international buyers alike, Showcase will pivot from a physical event to a virtual one due to restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, will launch the Showcase Virtual Showrooms and welcome participants in a special video recorded to mark the opening day of the event.
Showcase is one of the industry’s largest international trade fairs where designers and craft makers provide a choice of contemporary and heritage collections to buyers from across the globe. This year’s unique virtual event has been organised to maintain and foster the climate of creativity that Showcase brings on an annual basis, adding colour and creativity, uplifting all who take part.
Showcase Ireland 2021 Virtual Showrooms are organised by Showcase Ireland, a wholly owned subsidiary of Design & Crafts Council Ireland. It is supported by Design & Crafts Council Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise office Network. Delivered on a robust and secure platform, the technology will facilitate person-to-person virtual meetings between exhibitors’ and buyers.
Exhibitors have been fully equipped via a specially developed Masterclass in Virtual Trading, including how to set up a visually appealing online showroom, managing a virtual meeting, storytelling and how to trade effectively in a virtual setting.
The Showcase Virtual Showrooms are a mecca of Irish creative talent, offering innovative design, quality, craftsmanship and sustainability across categories, including gift and home, fashion and jewellery and beauty and wellness. In addition to trading, a special Webinar entitled “GENERATING GLOBAL GROWTH THROUGH E-COMMERCE” , presented by Showcase Ireland and delivered by internationally renowned consultants Frost & Sullivan, will take place. It will be introduced by Damien English, Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Employment Affairs and Retail Businesses.
Eddie Shanahan, Chair of Showcase Ireland commented: “Despite the challenges of recent months, Ireland is open for business. Though this year’s event will look different our dedicated and resilient designers and makers will welcome buyers from around the world with products and collections that offer innovation, quality, creativity, sustainability and expert craftsmanship.”
Andrew Bradley Chair of DCCI said: “Showcase is Ireland’s leading trade event and we’re delighted to welcome buyers from across the world to our new virtual setting. This has been a difficult year, but our designers and makers have weathered the storm by diversifying and embracing new changes in order to survive and thrive and Showcase 2021 epitomises the creative resilience they have shown in the face of these challenges.”
Sean Davis, Regional Director, North America at Enterprise Ireland & Showcase Ireland Board member, commented: “Now in its 45th year, Showcase curates an inspirational display of consumer and lifestyle products that reflects Ireland’s distinguished global reputation for excellence in design and creativity. Internationally recognised Irish brands alongside upcoming designers and makers from Ireland are exhibiting on our virtual platform this year. They are already attracting new and returning buyers looking for the next big trend, innovative design and quality products using traditional skills.
Through its network of 40 offices, Enterprise Ireland’s international teams promote Showcase to buyers world-wide. This year the virtual platform will enable Enterprise Ireland to host buyers from markets all over the world, who are keen to source unique products and the best of Irish design. 2020 has seen seismic changes for the retail industry, from the exponential growth of e-commerce to an increased focus on sustainability. As the world embraces digitalisation, the virtual landscape of Showcase this year acknowledges the rapid changes taking place on a global scale for this sector.”
Speaking on behalf of the Local Enterprise Offices, which support Showcase every year, Kieran Comerford said: “Pivoting to virtual showrooms in virtual marketplaces has become an essential part of doing business in the last year, especially for small businesses who would have relied heavily on large-scale trade and consumer events for sales. Thanks to this year’s Virtual Showrooms at Showcase, Local Enterprise Office clients across the country can launch new collections and arrange meetings with buyers from around the globe, direct from their studio or workshop here in Ireland.”
Showcase Ireland is using the Virtual Showrooms event to reach out to 153,000 international buyers through a targeted Linkedin campaign, providing them with a link to the Showcase Virtual Showrooms Digital Catalogue. This will further enhance the brand profile of Showcase Ireland as a source of craft, design and creativity.
In a separate development to support Irish enterprises the Showcase Ireland website will be repurposed as a Source Guide for buyers and will offer B to B facilities for Showcase clients. It will be available on an extended basis throughout the year.
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Corporate Communications & Marketing