Food pro­duc­ers and crafts­peo­ple im­press at US trade fair

Irish Examiner - County - - News - Áilín Quin­lan

Christ­mas came early for a group of Co Cork crafts­peo­ple and food pro­duc­ers who par­tic­i­pated in a spe­cial pop-up fes­ti­val of Ir­ish gift­ware at­tended by a group of Amer­i­can shop­keep­ers.

Pho­tog­ra­pher Giles Nor­man, Milseán Choco­lates in Ban­don, Ahak­ista-based artist Annabel Lan­gr­ish, ce­ram­i­cist Siob­han Steele and the West Cork bis­cuit com­pany from Dun­man­way were among the 13 or so Cork busi­nesses se­lected for the Meet The USA Buy­ers event.

The pop-up tar­geted the US gifts mar­ket by of­fer­ing the group of vis­it­ing Amer­i­can re­tail­ers, each of whom runs stores in the US spe­cial­is­ing in Ir­ish prod­ucts, the chance to meet the Ir­ish pro­duc­ers of gift, craft, de­sign and food prod­ucts.

On show was ev­ery­thing from Ir­ish crys­tal to knitwear, food, jewellery, per­fume, even prod­ucts for wed­dings and First Com­mu­nions.

The trade event, held in Kin­sale, and or­gan­ised by the Lo­cal En­ter­prise Of­fice West Cork in part­ner­ship with the North Amer­i­can Celtic Trade As­so­ci­a­tion, also of­fered a unique op­por­tu­nity for lo­cal busi­nesses to meet in­ter­na­tional gift buy­ers.

The visi­tors were on the look­out for eye-catch­ing con­tem­po­rary and unique prod­ucts for their shelves and, as a re­sult, sig­nif­i­cant num­bers of pur­chases were made, while an ex­ten­sive range of or­ders was placed with the Ir­ish pro­duc­ers, whose group also in­cluded Union Hall’s Wa­ters and Wild per­fume col­lec­tion as well as Lucy He­garty of the CROP Ir­ish Can­dle col­lec­tion from Kin­sale.

Ex­ten­sive net­work­ing and much use­ful mar­ket re­search was car­ried out on the day, ac­cord­ing to Méabh Ring, de­sign and craft con­sul­tant with the Lo­cal En­ter­prise Of­fices in Cork.

Hosted in the Macdon­ald Kin­sale Ho­tel, the event fa­cil­iart, tated some 23 re­tail trade buy­ers to meet with 13 Cork gift busi­nesses to share in­sights and guides on how to ex­port into the USA gift and re­tail mar­ket.

Kevin Cur­ran, head of en­ter­prise with LEO West Cork: “We have a track record of pre­par­ing our busi­nesses to sell into trade and ex­port with men­tor­ing and train­ing.

“We are lucky to have such a wealth of de­sign­ers, mak­ers, and ar­ti­san food com­pa­nies here in West Cork.

“The North Amer­i­can Celtic Trade As­so­ci­a­tion is an es­tab­lished and pres­ti­gious group of over 100 re­tail­ers from the USA who re­tail iconic Ir­ish brands in their shops.

“We are de­lighted to work with this group of USA buy­ers and to or­gan­ise this in­no­va­tive pop-up trade event to show­case our tal­ented brands.”

The event was or­gan­ised as part of the Lo­cal En­ter­prise Of­fice North and West Cork’s Pre­par­ing For Brexit pro­gramme.

It was the first time NACTA re­tail­ers were hosted by the Lo­cal En­ter­prise Of­fices and Cork was the only pop-up trade show in their itin­er­ary.

The NACTA co-spon­sors the USA Gift Sup­pli­ers of the Year with En­ter­prise Ire­land and is a key over­seas buy­ing group for one of Ire­land’s lead­ing cre­ative ex­pos.

Fur­ni­ture maker Alan Hor­gan pic­tured with Chris Derr and Tory War­ren from Penn­syl­va­nia at Meet the USA Buyer in Kin­sale.

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