Fifty -two craftspeople, designers and artists from around the country are hoping to make a big impact on international buyers at January's Showcase event in the RDS. The group of micro-enterprises, many of which are first-time exhibitors, are being supported by their local Enterprise Boards, to help them secure sales and export orders for 2012.
Situated at the new 'Enterprise Zone' along the balcony area of the RDS Main Hall, the Enterprise Boards are hoping to attract up to 5,500 retail buyers, who are expected to attend Showcase from over seventeen countries.
Buyers can expect to see a vast array of diverse products from the small craft companies, such as vintage handbags and fashion accessories, wrought iron furniture, musical postcards on DVD, contemporary jewellery, hand-woven baskets, giftware and sculptural pieces.
The Creative Expo, which is organised by the Crafts Council of Ireland every year, is seen by industry experts as one of the most important trade events for Ireland's craft sector and runs from Sunday, January 22nd to Wednesday, January 25th.
The County and City Enterprise Boards are providing specialist supports to the small businesses this year, to enable more of them to break into the export market.
Michael Hanley from the County and City Enterprise Boards said: "To help craftspeople make the most of the selling and export opportunities at Showcase, the County and City Enterprise Boards are subsidising the costs of trade stands, to make them more affordable for first-time exhibitors. Many craftspeople will also receive one-to-one coaching and advice from experienced mentors and in addition, the Enterprise Boards are publishing a dedicated brochure for Showcase buyers, to enable the craftspeople and designers to make the best possible first impression."
Brian McGee, Head of Market Development at the Crafts Council of Ireland said: "Showcase is Ireland's Creative Expo and an incredibly important trading opportunity for Irish designers and makers to connect with buyers from all over the world who are keen to unearth new and relevant products for their shops. Now in its 36th year, Showcase is an important part of the Crafts Council of Ireland's export strategy. The show is busy and exciting and we try to keep the atmosphere warm and inviting, and of course the overseas attendees love to spend a bit of time in our famous and friendly city of Dublin."
Showcase is promoted internationally by Enterprise Ireland and further details are available by visiting www.showcaseireland.com.