Food producers and craftspeople impress at US trade fair
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.