Waterford’s craft and design industry will have strong representation at this year’s Showcase Creative Expo, which takes place from January 21st to 23rd 2024 in The RDS in Dublin.
Running for over forty years, Showcase has an impressive track record in attracting Ireland’s most talented makers and designers, along with buyers from over twenty countries. It offers the chance to explore the best of Ireland's creativity from over 450 exhibitors including leading Irish designers and manufacturers and the very best emerging home-grown creative talent.
Four craft and design companies will be showcasing the very best of Waterford creativity, design and innovation, with the assistance of Local Enterprise Office Waterford.
Fiona Fahy, Feed Me Mother
Feed Me Mother is Ireland’s first sustainable breastfeeding and maternity clothes brand. It’s dedicated to empowering breastfeeding mothers to look and feel stylish and comfortable. The idea came to its founder Fiona after the birth of her first child in 2017, “Sustainable clothing that supports mothers in their postpartum journey is very important to me. I wanted a breastfeeding wardrobe that reflected my own style and personality, that was comfortable but gave me the confidence to feed freely, anywhere I wanted. And I knew I couldn’t be alone in feeling this way.”
Lynn Shead, Natures Alchemy
Natures Alchemy offers natural skincare products with a herbal medicine twist. All products are infused with organic herbs and flowers to add extra layers of healing and protection to your skincare routine. Founder Lynn is looking forward to the opportunity Showcase provides, “I'm very excited to attend Showcase in January for the first time with Waterford Local Enterprise office. Really looking forward to seeing all the other amazing Irish businesses on show, meeting small business friends in person there as well as finding new stockists that will bring Natures Alchemy to new parts of the country.”
Kayleigh Sutton, Phat Poly
Kayleigh is a self-taught Maximalist Jewellery Designer, creating handcrafted colourful and fun jewellery in her home studio, which is located in Tramore in Co. Waterford. Phat Poly, creates eye-catching and kitsch earrings that were lightweight and guaranteed not to cause skin irritations. Commenting on her business, “What I love about how I run my business is how often I get to play with ideas and create new designs. Unlike mainstream jewellery brands, you can find new Phat Poly designs most months! This keeps things fresh and exciting for me and my customers.”
Kim Whyte, Pawpear
Pawpear exists to connect people through the slow art of the handwritten message. Its exquisitely colourful stationery is designed and made in Ireland, and inspired by its richness of culture, nature and heritage. Founder Kim plans to make the most of Showcase, “As a new brand it’s hugely important to have face-to-face discussions with customers, build relationships and get feedback on our product, pricing and packaging.  Showcase Ireland will hopefully help me meet lots of interesting retailers face-to-face rather than by email or over the phone.”
Working in partnership with the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland, the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) around the country set up a dedicated area within Showcase every year - the Local Enterprise Showcase - enabling up to 100 designers, manufacturers and craftspeople to sell directly to international buyers.
Jamie Whitty, Business Advisor at LEO Waterford said that Showcase is an invaluable stepping stone to any craft-maker or designer getting an audience with potential clients.  “With buyers from Ireland, Europe, the USA and Asia, Showcase is truly established as the must-see trade event.  For anyone in the fashion, jewellery, home or giftware business the event offers exposure to new international markets.
“Not only is their place subsidised by the LEO, in advance of the expo the businesses will avail of training and briefing days in order to help them perfect their pitch and give them the tools, advice and insights to take full advantage of this fantastic opportunity.”
If your business is in pre-start, start-up or established business phase and would like to find out more about what business support services are available from LEO Waterford visit www.localenterprise.ie/Waterford/ or call to LEO Waterford offices at 35, The Mall, Waterford or the Civic Offices in Dungarvan.