Showcase Ireland 2013

Showcase, Ireland’s Creative Expo and the country’s largest international trade fair, returns to the RDS this January, attracting buyers from over 17 countries keen to discover exciting and innovative new Irish products. Now in its 37th year, Showcase features over 400 of Ireland’s leading designers, manufacturers and craftspeople delivering high quality products that are often unique to the show.

This year’s event, which takes place at the RDS from January 20th to 23rd 2013, focuses on two key strands –Fashion & Jewelery and Home & Giftware, with other exciting features such as ‘Creative Island’, an expanded ‘Enterprise Zone’, ‘Selected at Showcase’ and the “Showcase Awards Program”, networking events and the popular seminar program featuring top international industry experts.

‘Showcase Fashion’ is in its second year and celebrates the talent and creativity amongst established and emerging Irish designer-makers and manufacturers. Curated and produced by Sonia Reynolds, this year sees the inclusion of two daily runway shows in a purpose built exhibition space in the Serpentine Hall, just off the Main Hall.

New for 2013 is the launch of ‘Showcase Home’, a curated strand of creative ideas focused on making our homes more beautiful. Featuring great products from handcrafted textiles and ceramics to crystal and wall art, the new home section will feature exciting and inspiring work from a host of emerging Irish brands including Locker 13, Fawn, CarveOn and Reborn Art.

Exhibitors at Showcase include a host of well-known consumer brands such as The Belleek Group, Avoca and Carraig Donn who launch their latest ranges at Showcase each year to existing and prospective clients from around the world attending the show.

At the heart of Showcase 2013 is ‘Creative Island’ – a curated space dedicated to crafted products ‘Imagined, Designed and Made in Ireland’. Located just inside the entrance to the Main Hall, Creative Island will feature 86 Irish craft makers and designers selected by an independent panel for their creativity, innovation and craftsmanship. First time participants in Creative Island this year include Brooke & Shoals, Grand Grand, Cillían Johnston Furniture and Shevlin Millinery.

The Enterprise Zone returns this year with the County & City Enterprise Boards of 19 counties in Ireland participating in a specially designated area on the balcony promoting exciting, unique products from emerging Irish businesses. Showcase will provide these micro enterprises with a unique opportunity to establish links with Irish and international retailers.

The event will also feature the Showcase Awards and a daily schedule of seminars for retailers including expert speakers on topics such as design, merchandising and trends forecasting, including James Burke, advisor to the RTÉ TV program ‘Feargal Quinn’s Retail Therapy’ and John Jenkins of Heals London.

The Crafts Council of Ireland is the main driver behind Showcase. According to Brian McGee, who directs the show for the Crafts Council of Ireland, international sales at Showcase are critical. “At last year’s fair, overseas buyers continued to show more optimism with a significant increase in the level of orders compared to domestic buyers versus 2011 levels,” said McGee. “The largest markets for export are USA, UK, Italy and Japan. Country of origin is becoming more and more important. In 2012 93% of international buyers said that a product’s country of origin is important, an increase of 7% on the previous year.”

Discussing the Irish consumer marketplace McGee said: “While times remain tough in Ireland, Irish craft continues to grow its market share domestically because the authentic nature of product is becoming increasingly important to consumers. Showcase provides Irish retail buyers with the perfect opportunity to source new and unique products which create strong sales opportunities.”

Showcase is a partnership between the Crafts Council of Ireland and Showcase Ireland Events Ltd with support from Enterprise Ireland in promoting the tradeshow internationally.

According to Stephen Hughes, Consumer Retail Manager for Enterprise Ireland, “For many Irish companies Showcase is a valuable route to new, international markets. A pivotal element of Showcase is the number and high caliber of international buyers it attracts. Enterprise Ireland’s network of overseas offices has been a key driver in securing a large increase in international buyers at this year’s Showcase. We look forward to welcoming new international buyers to Showcase this year, and to extending a warm welcome back to many key international buyers who return regularly to see what is new and innovative in Irish craft and craftsmanship and, most importantly, place export orders.”

Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive of the Crafts Council of Ireland, said the annual trade show enables Irish designer-makers develop vital opportunities to market their products and to secure contracts for the coming year. “Sustaining and growing the Irish craft and design sector is crucial for all those working in craft and for the Irish economy as a whole. This four-day event is incredibly important for exhibitors as it provides them with a once a year opportunity to meet with their existing clients and to make international business contacts.”

Ms. Hennessy added that there is significant potential to grow exports of Irish craft and design. “Showcase is a key component of the Crafts Council of Ireland’s export strategy. Irish design and craftsmanship is world-renowned and we are committed to ensuring that the potential for increasing exports is maximized for this vibrant sector,” said Ms. Hennessy. “Thanks to Enterprise Ireland’s promotion of this show overseas, we are delighted to be welcoming buyers from over 17 countries to Showcase 2013 where they can discover and meet designers and makers from all over the island of Ireland. The importance of this event in showing international visitors the wealth of talent in the Irish craft and design sector cannot be overstated.”

The craft sector contributes almost €500 million to the Irish economy and employs over 5,700 people. Showcase 2013 takes place in the RDS (Main Hall), Dublin from Sunday January 20th to Wednesday 23rd January.

For more information on The Gathering 2013 click here