St Patrick's Day was picked to announce the launch of the fifth annual Irish Made Awards with the two fitting new sponsors for 2021 - Guaranteed Irish and the Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI).
Going green is no longer just for St Patrick's Day, it is now a way of life for many Irish consumers, as the importance of buying local has been brought to the fore. Support has grown from Irish consumers both online and in essential retailers for Irish produced products and gifts, with the lockdown restrictions forcing us all to pause for thought.
As Irish producers look for new ways to shine a light on their business amidst the challenges of the pandemic, the Irish Made Awards offer a boost to businesses in the form of expert advice and mentorship from sponsors the DCCI and Guaranteed Irish, together with an advertising package from Irish Country Magazine.
The Irish Made Awards seek to recognise businesses that stand out in terms of their vision, craftsmanship, and determination to produce incredible products here on Irish soil. Not only do these Irish businesses and brands support local employment, they are the ambassadors for Irish design and production that inspire others to follow their lead and develop their ideas and art here in Ireland.
Commenting on the launch of the Irish Made Awards 2021, Klara Heron, Editor of Irish Country Magazine said: "The last 12 months have seen many businesses pushed to their limits as they try to weather the pandemic storm, keep afloat and retain staff. We have all had to work harder than ever, but for many brands, it has also provided an opportunity to refocus on what our customers value most."
Brian McGee, Market Development Director at Design & Crafts Council Ireland and co-sponsor of the Irish Made Awards 2021 said: “As a long-time sponsor of the Irish Made Awards, Design and Crafts Council Ireland is once again encouraging all makers to enter. The competition is tough, but so many exceptional designer-makers have come through each year to win a prize.
"During the Pandemic, the Irish consumer has shown amazing support for all things ‘Made Local’, and so many of our talented makers have used this time wisely, researching and developing new products and enhancing their websites.
"So we are extremely excited to see the new and creative ideas emerging from such a tough year. Taking part in the awards provides publicity and recognition for the great work done by makers in villages and towns all over Ireland.”
Guaranteed Irish is the co-sponsor of the Irish Made Awards 2021, CEO Bríd O'Connell commented: "This year presents us with a unique opportunity to reinforce the behavioural changes of Irish consumers, who are now consciously buying Irish goods to support local as a result of the pandemic and now Brexit.
"Never before has the importance and indeed the economic value of buying Irish been so prevalent. The shift of consumer attitudes and behaviours towards buying Irish has become a lifestyle choice, just like our focus on sustainability.
"The pandemic has forced us to see the difference that buying Irish can make to a person's livelihood first-hand. Guaranteed Irish is calling on all Irish retailers to stock at least one Irish producer from craft and textiles to lifestyle and beauty. We all want to support local, but we also need to support Irish, there is a difference. By being mindful of this, we are keeping the money in the local economy while championing our local producers."
The overall winner of the Irish Made Awards 2021 will receive an incredible prize worth €16,000 to seriously boost their business. This includes participation in the DCCI Design Ireland Programme and e-Commerce Bootcamp, plus a one-year membership from Guaranteed Irish with one-to-one mentoring. Category winners and runners-up will be featured in a special Irish Made Awards issue of Irish Country Magazine in October.