TWO Cork businesses, Athena Knitwear and Wild Goose Studio Showcase Ireland, Ireland’s Creative Expo will target international buyers this month at Showcase Ireland’s Creative Expo which will pivot a new innovative Virtual Showroom format from January 25–29.
Athena Knitwear, a family business based in Ballymakeera West Cork, is one such company that will be taking part. Established in 1990, Athena has expanded its business through knitting agents throughout Ireland. The company prides itself on its high quality and designer knitwear.
Wild Goose Studio is another Cork business taking part in Showcase. Founded in 1970, Wild Goose Studio together with other leading Irish artists, began creating a unique range of artefacts that take their inspiration from our rich cultural heritage and the contemporary world. Each piece starts with an inspiring thought, an image or an emotion and is given a physical form by their craftspeople who then carve the image into a sculpted piece.
Supported by Design and Crafts Council Ireland Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices, including Local Enterprise Office Cork. Showcase is one of the industry’s largest international trade fairs (normally held in Dublin’s RDS) where designers and craft makers provide a choice of contemporary and heritage collections, offering innovation, quality, sustainability and a distinctive point of difference to retail buyers from across the globe.
Chair of Showcase Ireland, Eddie Shanahan said: “Ireland boasts a wealth of talent and creativity and while the pandemic prevents the physical event from taking place, we are delighted to continue to provide a platform for Ireland’s creators and makers to showcase their products to Irish and international buyers. Though this year’s event will look different, we are confident that we will demonstrate the vitality of the Irish craft and design sector to both new and returning buyers.
“We will also relaunch our Showcase website as a Source Guide, with over 200 designers and makers offering B to B facilities, for Irish and international buyers.”
Showcase Ireland 2021 Virtual Showrooms will be delivered on a robust and secure platform that will facilitate person to person virtual meetings by appointment.
It will allow international and Irish buyers to explore the creativity and craftsmanship of the exhibitors, like they would at the RDS each year. The platform will feature exhibitors’ and buyers’ profiles, website links, product imagery and video links that will be accessible to participants at the event.
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.
Rosemary Steen, Chief Executive of Design and Crafts Council Ireland, said: “The Showcase Virtual Showrooms will be invaluable in helping to maintain key relationships between showcase, key buyers around the world and producers in Ireland.
“While the digital space will never replace the value of a physical sales meeting, we believe that more and more exporting will be transacted online in the future. I want to thank Eddie Shanahan as chair of Showcase Design and Crafts Fair CLG, together with his board colleagues, for their hard work and guidance in delivering this exciting new event for the design and craft sector.
“I would also like to thank Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices for their continued strong commitment to Showcase and our industry overall.”
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 and journalists from markets all over the world, who are keen to source unique products and the best of Irish design.
In a further development to support Irish enterprises, the Showcase Ireland website will be updated as a Source Guide for buyers and will offer a B to B facility for B to B enabled Showcase clients.
The Digital Catalogue for the Showcase Virtual Showrooms is available to view at https://www.showcaseireland.com/news/showcase-virtual-showrooms-digital-catalogue/