Waterford’s craft and design industry will have strong representation at this year’s Showcase Creative Expo, which takes place from February 27th to March 2nd in The RDS in Dublin.
Showcase, Ireland’s Creative Expo is now the foremost place for retailers to discover unique, design-led fashion and knitwear, jewellery, craft, gift and interiors. It offers the chance to explore the best of Ireland’s creativity from over 450 exhibitors including leading Irish designers and manufacturers and the very best emerging home-grown creative talent.
Four craft and design companies will be showcasing the very best of Waterford creativity, design and innovation, with the assistance of Local Enterprise Office Waterford.
The city and county-based enterprises attending are Mad Jessie’s hand drawn, colourful and unique clothing; Frances O’Reilly’s Dry Dog, super absorbent canine coats; Polly and Andy’s comfy clothing made from biodegradable bamboo; and Susan Furniss Radley’s Dust and Rock freedom giving Original Wrist Pockets. They have all been working closely with LEO Waterford in order to prepare them for one of Ireland’s largest craft exhibitions.
Running for over forty years, Showcase has an impressive track record in attracting Ireland’s most talented makers and designers, along with buyers from over twenty countries. This year’s Expo is a great platform for these Waterford designers to introduce their original products to national and international buyers.
Marie Jeanne Jacob of Mad Jessie, said that the exhibition is real opportunity for any artist or designer to take their creations to the next level, “I just can’t wait to be back at an event where I can talk with people face-to-face, so I’m very excited about this. I also spent the last few years creating connections online with businesses, artists and makers, and I am very much looking forward to meeting these people for the first time. I hope attendees get to see the huge amount of work that goes into every design, and how important sustainability, collaboration and community are to me and my brand.”
“It’s a thrill to be asked to attend this event and the team here is really looking forward to meeting new customers and picking the brains of like-minded creators.”
“After the past couple of years, we all feel this is an opportunity to make the most of the country opening up again and it will be amazing to simply interact with people and ‘talk shop’ again. I definitely feel that we can take full advantage of the support we’ve received from LEO Waterford at Showcase 2022.”
Polly Doyle of Polly and Andy is looking forward to returning to Showcase, “I’m really excited to be back at Showcase. So much has changed since Showcase 2020 and I cannot wait to meet the buyers and other exhibitors face to face again.”
While Susan Furniss of Original Wrist Pockets aims to make the most of the opportunity, “Having spent the last two years concentrating on growing our online presence, Showcase is an ideal opportunity to venture outside of our online platform, to meet buyers the buyers and shops at the heart of our communities.
As Ireland reopens there is an appetite amongst consumers for a bricks-and-mortar store experience and we are delighted to be part of this journey at Showcase.”
Introducing a new product such as The Original Wrist Pocket to an online audience has had its challenges. It is a product that people want to feel and try on. Showcase offers the opportunity to see our product on shelves in stores, where people can be introduced to The Original Wrist Pocket in a setting that is familiar to them.”
Working in partnership with the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland, the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) around the country have set up a dedicated area within Showcase – the Local Enterprise Showcase – enabling up to 100 designers, manufacturers and craftspeople to sell directly to international buyers.
Brid Kirby of LEO Waterford said that Showcase is an invaluable chance for any craft-maker or designer to get an audience with potential customers.
“These four Waterford craft and design enterprises have shown creativity and ambition with their products and will certainly be amongst the most talented craft and design artists at this year’s Showcase.”
“Many have availed of training and mentoring in preparation for this opportunity, while others received financial support in order to help them appear at Showcase. They have perfected their pitch and been given the tools, advice and insights to take full advantage of this fantastic prospect.”
“We at the LEO also hope this inspires other artists and crafts people to take the leap and commercialise their creations. We are always available to assist start-ups in any way we can.”
If your business in pre-start, start-up or established business phase and would like to find out more about what business support services are available from LEO Waterford visit www.localenterprise.ie/Waterford or call to LEO Waterford offices at 35, The Mall, Waterford or the Civic Offices in Dungarvan.