The wife of 1980s rock star Simon Le Bon was promoting a stand at Showcase Ireland in Dublin.
The annual fair, now in its 31st year, is expected to generate €42 million worth of orders for homegrown firms producing crafts, interiors, fashion and gifts.
The exhibition was launched by organisers the Crafts Council of Ireland at the RDS, with Irish rugby star Ronan O’Gara helping the four-day event get off to a flying start.
A record number of international buyers is anticipated at this year’s fair and Enterprise Ireland has promoted it to potential buyers worldwide, including the US, Japan, Britain, Germany, Canada, Austria and the Netherlands.
It expects a jump of 30% in orders from Nordic countries, while buyers from South Korea will be at the show for the first time.
Marie Rooney, Showcase Ireland’s project manager, said international interest was crucial to the success of the businesses involved.
“Buyers’ interest in Showcase is due to the numbers of companies offering new, innovative and unique products each year,” she said.
“With 90% of buyers confirming that they placed orders with exhibitors during Showcase 2006, it is evident how important Showcase is for both buyers and suppliers to develop successful business relationships.”
Over €13m of the anticipated overall orders this year is expected to be exported to overseas markets.