SHOWCASE® – IRELAND’S INTERNATIONAL CREATIVE EXPO® OPENS AT THE RDS
- International trade fair for the design and craft sector attracts more than 4,000 Irish and overseas buyers
- Almost 400 exhibitors from the design and craft sector taking part in the RDS
- €25 million+ business expected to be transacted across three-day event
- Winners of Showcase 2024 Awards to be announced Sunday morning
Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Social Protection and Minister for Rural and Community Development, officially opened Showcase® – Ireland’s International Creative Expo® at the RDS, Dublin today, highlighting how important trade shows such as Showcase are to the design and crafts sector. One of the country’s largest international trade fairs, Showcase 2024 will welcome almost 400 exhibitors and more than 4,000 buyers from Ireland and overseas. Upwards of €25 million in sales orders is expected to be transacted over the three days, with even more anticipated to be generated throughout the year due to the event.
Showcase is a key destination for domestic and international buyers. This year, Showcase is encouraging them to choose Irish products for their craftsmanship, uniqueness and provenance. The almost 400 exhibitors will show their latest collections across four product categories – home and gift, wellbeing, fashion, and jewellery. Sustainability, responsible retail, independent retailers, and sector development are also significant pillars of this year’s event. A key draw, especially for international retailers, is that at Showcase the makers behind the products are usually those behind the stands. This gives rise to stories and insights that translate into consumer marketing and selling, as well as benefiting from the charm of being in Ireland.
Also speaking at the officially opening event were Mary Palmer, Chair of Showcase Ireland; Rosemary Steen, CEO of Design & Crafts Council Ireland; Michael Carey, Chairman of Enterprise Ireland and Tom Rooney, Head of Craft & Design, Local Enterprise Office (LEO).
Winners of the annual Showcase Awards at Showcase – Ireland’s Creative Expo®, were announced at midday by Suzy O’Keefe, Head of Digital & Communications at Design & Crafts Council Ireland and presented to the recipients by Mary Palmer, Chair of Showcase. The winners were chosen by a panel of industry experts including Tom Rooney, Head of Craft & Design, Local Enterprise Office; Mary Palmer, Chair of Showcase and Mary Blanchfield, Head of Operations, Design & Crafts Council Ireland.
Best Product Category Winners:
- Showcase Best Product – FASHION: Linda Wilson Knitwear
- Showcase Best Product – HOME: Rhyme Studio Inc
- Showcase Best Product – GIFT: badly made books
- Showcase Best Product – JEWELLERY: Lynsey de Burca
- Showcase Best Product – WELLNESS: Pure Oskar
Other Showcase Award Winners:
- Design & Crafts Council Ireland Award – Éiru
- Local Enterprise Office Award – Stories by Ola
- Sustainability Award – Hanna’s Bees
Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Social Protection and Minister for Rural and Community Development, said: “I’m delighted to be here this morning at Showcase 2024, to see some of the incredible products on display from our craft and design sector. I’m also thrilled to welcome such a diverse group of buyers from all across the world. Ireland is globally renowned for its craft and design, and Showcase truly is the international launchpad for so many Irish makers to achieve this recognition. The majority of craftspeople live and work in rural areas outside our capital city of Dublin. My department is working hard to ensure that we continue to support the rural development of these areas and encourage the growth of this sector for many years to come. Craft plays an integral part in Ireland’s economy, and I wish everyone the best of luck over the next couple of days.”
Mary Palmer, Chair of Showcase, said: “For almost five decades, Showcase has been a platform for Irish makers to highlight their work to both a domestic and global network of buyers. The products produced and on display are high-quality and unique and will be seen by more than 4,000 buyers, over a three day period. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in Showcase 2024, you are helping to support and grow our sector.”
Rosemary Steen, CEO of Design & Crafts Council Ireland commented “Showcase is Ireland’s largest international trade show, known worldwide for the high standard of Irish design and craft exhibited. We are delighted to return to our 2020 numbers of almost 400 exhibitors at the RDS participating over the three day period. This shows the strong sector performance of our community as we welcome over 4,000 buyers to Dublin this weekend.
We are expecting sales in excess of the €25 million achieved last year, driven by strong US and European interest in the event. DCCI is so proud of all its makers involved and I want to thank all the team at Design & Crafts Council Ireland for all the hard work in bringing Showcase 2024 to life. We thank our partners, Enterprise Ireland, Local Enterprise Office, and of course the RDS, for supporting us in running such an important event in the Irish creative sectors calendar.”
The opening day launched with The Table, The Tree – a dynamic event which fused the fashion and design of Showcase makers with contemporary music and energetic Irish dance. The piece was styled by Aisling Farinella and inspired by the fundamental relationship of the material and the product, championing the maker and sustainable practice. The event centered on design and domesticity, and craft and community; themes that are intrinsic to Showcase and that reflect the stories and origin behind the makers and products at the show.
In addition to this, the digital marketplace, Showcase Connect, which features all exhibitors, is already proving a success. Using the platform, registered trade buyers have been browsing products and engaging with exhibitors since it launched in 2021. The platform allows buyers to ‘favourite’ products, send instant messages and set up one-on-one meetings with exhibitors. The interactive floor map will act as an invaluable tool while attending the show.
Showcase is promoted internationally by Enterprise Ireland through its network of overseas offices. Speaking ahead of the opening event, Teri Smith, Manager – Retail Consumer & Online (Technology & Services Division) at Enterprise Ireland, said: “Ireland’s craft and design sector is soaring; Enterprise Ireland client companies in the consumer product sector saw double-digit export growth in 2022 (€1.2billion) with overall revenues of €1.9 billion. Enterprise Ireland is hosting 91 international buyers in Ireland to attend Showcase, including influential buyers from 9 global markets, including the USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany and Japan. International buyers attending this year range from international department stores, catalogue companies, online retail stores, heritage gift stores, Irish gift stores and small unique independent gift retailers. Enterprise Ireland are delighted to support the Design & Crafts Council Ireland in promoting the design and craft sector across global markets.”
Showcase is becoming even more important for Ireland’s micro enterprises and new start-ups, according to Tom Rooney, Head of Craft and Design, Local Enterprise Office said: “The Local Enterprise Showcase continues to be the pinnacle of the yearly schedule for our craft and design clients. It’s the one event that can have a significant impact on the direct of our clients businesses this year and for the future. Meeting one key buyer can help a small business fill its orders for a year. We’ve been working closely with the clients to ensure they maximise this opportunity and we’re delighted to get the doors open and let these buyers meet some of Ireland best’s new and up and coming craft and design businesses.”
Showcase was founded in 1976 by Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) and is delivered with support from Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices. Showcase 2024 runs from Sunday 21st January to Tuesday 23rd January and is for trade attendance only. For further details on the event or to register to attend, please visit www.showcaseireland.com.
For more information, please contact Eimear Harding, Communications and Public Affairs Manager, DCCI, 083 023 8743 or email [email protected]
For further press information please contact Claire Feely, Emma Kelly, Emily Duignan, Sorcha Delaney or Miriam Alsalihi at Elevate PR, 01 662 5652 or email [email protected] / [email protected] / [email protected] / [email protected] / [email protected]
Showcase – Ireland’s Creative Expo® is one of the country’s largest international trade shows. The annual event is attended by thousands of buyers from across the world, including Ireland, the UK, USA, Mainland Europe, Asia and Africa generating millions of euros of sales orders during the show. Showcase is presented on behalf of Design & Crafts Council Ireland, with support from Enterprise Ireland in promoting the trade show internationally through their network of offices overseas, and the Local Enterprise Offices nationwide. Almost 400 Irish brands are exhibited at the fair, including emerging Irish businesses supported by their Local Enterprise Offices. Showcase is for trade attendance only.
showcaseireland.com / @showcase_ireland
About Design & Crafts Council Ireland
Design & Crafts Council Ireland is the national agency for craft and design in Ireland, we support designers and makers to develop their businesses in a sustainable way, and advocate for the societal benefits of craft and design. DCCI’s activities are funded by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment via Enterprise Ireland. DCCI currently has 64 member organisations and over 3,500 registered clients.
dcci.ie / @dccireland
About Enterprise Ireland
Enterprise Ireland is the government organisation responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets. We work in partnership with Irish enterprises to help them start, grow, innovate, and win export sales in global markets. In this way, we support sustainable economic growth, regional development, and secure employment.
enterprise-ireland.com / @enterprise_ireland
About Local Enterprise Offices
The 31 Local Enterprise Offices located in the local authorities and funded through Enterprise Ireland support thousands of small Irish businesses and entrepreneurs nationwide. Since their establishment in 2014 they have been for the first stop shop for entrepreneurs and small businesses and providing a range of supports including financial, mentoring, training, and sector specific expertise to help guide businesses at any stage of their development. For more information on the Local Enterprise Offices go to: LocalEnterprise.ie / @local_enterprise_offices