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Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar T.D. officially opened Showcase – Ireland’s International Creative Expo® at the RDS, Dublin today, highlighting how important trade shows such as Showcase are to the design and crafts sector. Also speaking at the event were Mary Palmer, Chair of Showcase Ireland, Leo Clancy, Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Ireland, Padraic McElwee, Chair of the Network of Local Enterprises, Rosemary Steen, Chief Executive, Design & Crafts Council Ireland and Andrew Bradley, Chair of Design & Crafts Council Ireland and Showcase Board Member.
One of the country’s largest international trade fairs, Showcase 2022 celebrates the return of face to face meetings by welcoming over 4,000 buyers from Ireland and overseas including the UK, USA, Mainland Europe and Asia over the four days of the show which runs until Wednesday, 2nd March, 2022.
While the pandemic has brought challenges to this sector, the last two years have also marked a period of innovation and creativity, giving rise to exciting new ideas and approaches. Many of these new products and new entrants to the craft and design sector will be presented to trade buyers at Showcase 2022. This on-trend annual trade event, that attracts new and returning visitors year after year, is open to buyers across four days and is expected to bring in an estimated €20 million in sales orders.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said: “It’s really great to be here this morning and to see some of the incredible products on display. Irish designers and makers are known the world over for the quality and uniqueness of their creations. After two difficult years with a lot of disruption, I think we all appreciate our local creators more than ever and want to support them. This Showcase is a fantastic opportunity for the design and crafts sector to engage with both Irish and international buyers, opening up a huge audience for their goods. I wish every trader the very best of luck over the coming days.”
Showcase was founded in 1976 by Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) and is delivered with support from Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices. After a break to the physical show in 2021 due to the pandemic, the new hybrid trade-only show (both an in person and digital event) will be an enthralling reflection of the changed design and craft landscape in Ireland and internationally.
For 2022, Showcase introduces the Makers’ Studio, which will see demonstrations from craftspeople across a range of disciplines – highlighting to buyers the creativity and craftsmanship in their work and inspiring in-store Meet the Makers events. Participants in this year’s Makers’ Studio include multi-award-winning leather brand Úna Burke as well as Clarkes of Dublin, Shock of Grey and Wendy Louise Designs. DCCI’s jewellery skills course will also be demonstrating.
In addition to this, the new digital marketplace, Showcase Connect, which features all exhibitors, is already proving a success. Using the platform, registered trade buyers have been browsing products and engaging with exhibitors since it launched on Valentine’s Day. The platform allows buyers to ‘favourite’ products, send instant messages and set up 1:1 meetings. Feedback from both buyers and exhibitors has been positive, with both stating that it’s a valuable tool that enhances the overall experience.
Mary Palmer, Chair of Showcase ®, says: “Showcase® marks one of the most important events in the design and crafts sector’s calendar. For many, this is their first trade show of the year, a chance to launch their new collections and secure orders for the year ahead. Attracting buyers from Ireland and around the world, Showcase’s strength lies in its unique identity and high quality display of Irish design and crafts. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in Showcase 2022, you are helping to support and grow our sector.”
Showcase is promoted internationally by Enterprise Ireland through its network of overseas offices. Speaking ahead of the opening event, Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy commented; “Enterprise Ireland is delighted to partner with the Design and Craft Council of Ireland on Showcase, a key event in the Irish retail calendar. Our network of international offices has engaged key international buyers from markets all over the world to source quality Irish knitwear, textiles, craft, jewellery and giftware. In 2020 consumer retail exports hit €1bn, an increase of 6% in what was an incredibly demanding year and we believe this sector has huge future potential for global growth.”
Showcase is becoming even more important for Ireland’s micro enterprises and new start-ups, according to Breda Fox, Head of Craft & Design, Local Enterprise Offices. She said: “Local Enterprise Showcase hall as part of Showcase is a significant opportunity for small craft and design businesses from across the country to access trade buyers from Ireland and overseas. This experience is vital for our craft and design clients, particularly those ones who are starting out, in helping to build pipelines, contacts and understand how to sell and market their products. Having a physical event is a huge boost for everyone so we are looking forward to welcoming our LEO clients to Showcase and all the buyers from Ireland and overseas.”
Showcase 2022 runs from Sunday 27th February to Wednesday, 2nd March and is for trade attendance only. For further details on the event or to register to attend, please visit www.showcaseireland.com