More than 1,000 international businesses are expected to spend over €35m snapping up the latest Irish crafts at a major trade show in Dublin.
Buyers from 30 countries are expected to place orders worth millions of euro as hundreds of unique Irish businesses display their wares at the Showcase trade event this month.
Giles O’Neill, a retail products manager with Enterprise Ireland, said the Showcase event provides a barometer for a company’s sales for the year, giving many businesses the chance to break into new markets across the world.
“For smaller businesses, it is a barometer of how their business will be for the whole year,” he said, as preparations got under way for the 30th annual event.
“Often their best customers come and place orders which could keep them busy until August. It is very important to a large number of small and medium-sized businesses.”
More than 9,000 visitors – including 2,000 people from 30 countries – are expected to visit the event, which runs from January 22 to 25 in Dublin’s RDS.
More than 600 exhibitors from all sectors of the crafts and design industries will display at the event, which is organised by the Crafts Council of Ireland and marketed internationally by Enterprise Ireland.
Mr O’Neill said there were a wide variety of businesses displaying stands at the event, from the well-established brand Waterford Crystal, to a self-employed potter from Co Kerry.
“The sort of buyers it attracts are international buyers from Northern America, continental Europe and Japan,” he said. “A lot of Irish products would sell in Japan, including throws, wraps, scarves, gloves, hats and Irish knitwear.”
Mr O’Neill said the event had become an important business event among international buyers over the past three decades.
Family businesses displaying their wares at the event include knitwear designer Joan Millar, who exports goods to the US, UK, Japan and continental Europe.
Other popular brands among the 600 exhibitors include the well-known family-run Co Kilkenny-based business Nicholas Mosse pottery, and Newbridge Silverware.