The sales were predicted as the 38th Showcase Expo of Ireland’s leading designers, manufacturers, and craft makers opened yesterday.
The event, which takes place at the RDS until Wednesday, is expected to attract more than 5,000 retail buyers from 26 countries — with a 10% surge in international buyers also predicted.
Launching the showcase yesterday, Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore said the event provides a vital opportunity for the 430 designers taking centre stage.
“Showcase is of huge importance in developing trade links for Ireland’s creative sector and the next four days will be crucial for the participating exhibitors in securing orders for the coming year, supporting Irish exports and Irish jobs,” he said.
“The increase in registration figures from international buyers this year is very encouraging and reflects Ireland’s growing reputation abroad for excellence in design and craftsmanship.”
Design and Crafts Council of Ireland chief executive Karen Hennessy said the expo is vital.
“We believe there is significant potential for increasing exports in the sector and this annual event provides Irish designers and makers with a unique opportunity to break into international markets.
“Thanks to Enterprise Ireland and their promotion of Showcase abroad, we have buyers from 26 countries around the world coming to Ireland to do business over this intensive four-day period.
“The investment of these international attendees is significant and developing exports is vital to ensure the long-term survival and growth of our craft and design industry.”
More than 5,000 people are employed in the crafts and design industries here, with the sectors worth €500m to the economy.
* The Showcase Expo event includes a series of “key elements” organisers believe will help highlight the best Irish designers and crafts people have to offer. They include:
* Creative Island, a curated space dedicated to products “imagined, designed and made in Ireland”. This section of the event features 86 selected designers as well as an exhibition display which premiered at London Design Festival last autumn.
* The Enterprise Zone, which is co-ordinated by the County and City Enterprise Boards, features leading industry experts who will provide retailers with expertise, research and advice.
* Food at Showcase, a dedicated space which aims to capitalise on the growing interest in speciality food lines for gifting and general retail sales.