Omagh art business has Netherlands in the frame

Aug 16, 2010

Spires Art in Omagh has won its first business in The Netherlands with trade support from Invest Northern Ireland.

The company secured a contract for 97 large format pictures from L&P Design in Amsterdam, one of the country’s leading interior design houses, to adorn the walls of an upmarket residential home in the Dutch capital.

Spires Art, which has a successful track record in sourcing and supplying quality artwork to hotels, hospitals, homes and public spaces throughout the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland over two decades, met L&P Design during its participation in an Invest NI led visit to The Netherlands last December.

The deal was signed by Colm McRory, Spires Art Managing Director, on a follow-up visit to Amsterdam a few months ago.

Invest NI’s support in The Netherlands, a European marketplace with particularly close links to the UK and Ireland, includes lining local businesses up with marketing experts in who help them to identify potential business partners and then setting up meetings with key people in targeted companies. A week-long visit to the market plays a key part in delivering success.

Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director, said its targeted support in the Netherlands is geared towards new or inexperienced export companies.

Dr Kell said: “Spires Art is yet another success story resulting from Invest NI’s focus on offering support in The Netherlands. It shows that local companies which are offering expert services in activities such as design and the sourcing of artwork, can compete successfully in this challenging marketplace.

“Most of the companies, including many smaller firms, which have accessed Invest NI support in this market over the past three years are now doing business there. Others have gained the confidence to explore successfully other neighbouring markets such as Belgium, Germany and France. The Netherlands has become an important springboard for smaller companies eager to explore opportunities outside Northern Ireland.

“The achievements of Spires Art demonstrate that companies that are determined to do business in The Netherlands, and are prepared to respond positively and quickly to the specific requirements of individual customers, can succeed there.”

Mr McRory said: “Invest NI‘s support in The Netherlands was extremely beneficial in terms of the business secured, the other leads we are currently following up and the experience we gained about business practices there.

“Our main markets, Great Britain and the Republic, had begun to slow down. While we still have good business in both, I saw a need to widen our markets to counter-balance an anticipated slow down in buying decisions in these areas. The Dutch initiative was excellent because it enabled us to access the services of a consultancy in Amsterdam which had vast experience of market conditions and business practices there, as well as a network of contacts. The consultancy produced some excellent potential customers, including L&P Design, and helped us with our pitch.”

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