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Design & Crafts Council Ireland AGM welcomes further growth in employment and turnover in design and craft sector

Posted 28.05.2024
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Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) held its AGM Tuesday 28th May, in CREW, Creative Enterprise West, on the Atlantic Technological University (ATU) Campus, Galway. CEO Rosemary Steen alongside Peter Hynes, Chair of DCCI Board, today announced the results following year two of DCCI’s 2022-2026 strategy.  Joseph Walsh, Irish Designer and  Maker is the keynote speaker at DCCI’s AGM.

DCCI, as the national agency for the design and craft sector in Ireland, continues to grow its contribution economically, socially and culturally. The results at the end of year two of the five-year strategy showed a growth of over 10% in membership registrations.

DCCI shared its highlights from 2023

This included Showcase Ireland 2023, which generated orders of over €25 million at the tradeshow along with the launch of the DCCI Academy. Total exports to the EU and North America were reported to be €28.6m in 2023, which was significantly up from the previous year, showing the demand for Irish design and craft globally. Design Week, which delivered 56 events and was attended by over 2,000 people, gained attention from international design leaders including Design Museum London’s Tim Marlow. DCCI also held the most successful August Craft Month to date, the all-island initiative in partnership with Craft NI and Cork Craft & Design, delivered 420 events across all 32 counties. DCCI’s Made Local campaign also has over 1,767 participants, an increase of over 100 from the previous year.

I want to thank all our team and board at DCCI for their hard work during year two of our new strategy. We dedicate our time to supporting our community and it’s been inspiring to see how the digital generation is really embracing these tools to promote their products and business.

Rosemary Steen


Key Findings

  • Irish Government investment is delivering strong growth with circa. 63,000 directly employed in craft and design, an increase of 4,000 people employed in the sector.
  • Direct economic contribution of €4.2 billion Gross Value Added (GVA) accounting for c. 1.2% of GVA generated by Ireland’s economy in 2022*
  • 21,000 design and craft enterprises are in operation in Ireland
  • Over 7% growth in employees directly working in craft and design between 2020 to 2022


  • Research into DCCI’s top 150 clients reveals that revenue stood at €81.3 million
  • Design and craft sector has seen strong growth in exports particularly to North America
  • 79% of designers and craftspeople are looking to grow their business in the coming year
  • Ongoing sectoral growth despite the economic challenges due to a new generation of makers and designers using digital to unlock opportunities and consumer engagement with the making experience

Today I commend the hard work and determination of designer and makers in Ireland. The focus on the continued growth in the move towards more sustainable practices is also to be welcomed and it’s a credit to all the makers and designers for all their work in this area. The sector has contributed greatly to the overall Irish economy and will continue to do so.

Peter Hynes

DCCI Chair

Digital Growth

Despite economic challenges, the sector has seen strong growth, often driven by a new generation of digital native designers and craftspeople. In craft in particular this creativity combined with innate digital skills is allowing a new generation to make low cost business prosper – they can launch their business and reach markets quickly. DCCI research shows that 79% of those who took part in the 2023 Annual Client Economic Survey have sold products via online platforms. That combined with the interest in consumers engaging with the maker experience is seeing DCCI activities like August Craft Month and the presence of makers in the DCCI Craft Village at Bord Bia’s Bloom, show strong growth year on year. This digitalisation is supported by the Council through education and training courses.


Research showed that 66% of design and craft businesses have implemented sustainability measures. Craft and Design come together most strongly in Ireland to support the circular economy. Design is being driven by innovations required of businesses in the circular economy and the global trend regarding product design. Year on year growth in design as a sector shows there are now more than 14,000 design businesses operating alongside 7,000 craft businesses.

Survey of DCCI Members

A survey of 560 DCCI clients reviewing 2023 by Market Dynamics, highlighted the top 150 DCCI clients domestic sales figure stood at €81.3m, an increase of almost 7% from €76.1m in 2022.DCCI has also seen growth in the support for the sector regionally. Research has shown that 60% of businesses are increasing their focus on selling their products in the domestic market, via retail distribution. With over 75% of craft businesses operating outside of Dublin, DCCI’s Made Local campaign is continuing to increase awareness and appreciation of Irish-made products