Cork Craft and Design Operations Manager Maeve Murphy has encouraged makers and small businesses in Cork to enter this year’s Irish Business Design Challenge.
Run by the Design and Crafts Council Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Business Design Challenge aims to recognise the resilience and innovation of micro, small and medium enterprises in a year which has proven to be challenging for businesses as a result of Covid-19.
Ms Murphy said that the current pandemic has “in some ways had a positive impact” on some businesses owners who were forced out of their comfort zones in terms of upskilling which she said made people bite the bullet and focus on the online side of their businesses.
Cork Craft and Design represents over one hundred makers in Cork and plans for Cork Craft Month, which showcases the makers’ work, went “completely out the door” when Covid-19 hit.
Instead, a maker’s playbook was created for those who wouldn’t have been familiar with social media, showing people how to use certain apps to edit photos and the best angles to shoot, along with teaching them how to deliver workshops and demonstrations online.
“It is these makers in Cork that are the force that drive Cork Craft and Design in relation to what it does in highlighting the sector in the community, so I would encourage small businesses to apply,” Ms Murphy said.
She said that despite the fact that some “might not see beyond their own studio door in terms of the impact they have”, that the over one hundred crafts people “add to the richness of what Cork offers culturally and makes it a really attractive place to visit”.
“One of our quotes we like to use is, ‘Coming together is the beginning, keeping together is progress and working together is success’ and we have that approach to the whole membership.
“Even if they weren’t to win, it's actually making them reflect on their approach to their business and post about it and be proud of it. On the Irish Business Design Challenge website there is a public voting system where you can view all of the entries from all over Ireland so if they enter they’re going to be up there on that platform for free,” she said.
She said that it was great to see people consciously supporting the small businesses that are the bread and butter of the Irish economy.
Ms Murphy said that the craft and design shop based in Douglas, despite being closed again due to Level 5 restrictions, had “the best June, July, August, September and October ever”.
Despite considerably less footfall, the shop recorded a 33% increase in its sales in October when compared to the same period last year and is now looking at rolling out a click and collect service.
A first of its kind craft and food market featuring Cork traders is also in the running at St Patrick’s Woolen Mills for the first two weeks in December, dependent on restrictions in place at the time.