Giftware companies showcase ideas in Dublin

Five of the 14 companies on the Invest Northern Ireland stand at Showcase Ireland 2009 in Dublin, from 18-21 January, are taking part in this important international crafts and giftware event for the first time.

Showcase 2009, held annually at the RDS, is now one of the most popular and successful events for craft and giftware companies from Europe and regularly attracts leading buyers from as far as North America.

The newcomers are: Abani, Hillsborough, a specialist in jute designer bags and silk paper; Gaelic Arts/Deighan Prints, Omagh, GAA products; Loughneagh Irish Bronze, cold cast bronze plaques; Michelle Butler Ceramics, Omagh, ceramic pots and jewellery; and Shazzam, Enniskillen, hand painted pottery.

They join Bog Standard, Lisburn, a specialist in candles and soaps; Catherine Scott Ceramics, Omagh, ceramics; Claddagh Crafts, Coalisland, celtic frames; Designed4U, Warrenpoint, slate crafts and giftware boxes; O’Donnell Press, Belfast, children’s books; Strand by Jean McCann, Donaghadee, recreational apparel and textiles; and Craft Northern Ireland, Belfast on the Invest NI stand.

Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Trade Director, commenting on the event, said: Now in its 33rd year, Showcase is firmly established as one of the best places in Europe to find innovative products in giftware, interiors and crafts.

“The four-day initiative attracts more than 500 exhibitors and 6,000 buyers. Last year's Showcase event generated a buoyant €40 million in sales orders. Many of our giftware and crafts businesses have benefited substantially from taking part in the event. As well as orders secured, the show has enabled them to keep abreast of international trends within their respecting sectors. It’s an ideal place to network with buyers from Europe and further afield,” he added.

Participating companies will also benefit from a special seminar area offering presentations by branding, trends, e-commerce and merchandising experts, while a new Buyer's Suite will allow buyers the opportunity to network, relax and avail of pertinent information on craft.

Showcase Ireland is organised for the Crafts Council of Ireland and is promoted internationally by Enterprise Ireland.

In addition to the companies on the Invest NI stand, other local businesses such as Ballydougan Pottery, Portadown; Belleek Pottery, Belleek, McCaw Allen, Lurgan; Target Dry, Belfast; Ulster Weavers, Banbridge; Thomas Ferguson, Banbridge; and Tyrone Crystal, Dungannon will have their own stands at the show.