Showcasing Cork to the US market
Artisans and producers from across the north Cork region were given the opportunity to showcase their wares to the potentially lucrative US market at a recent trade fair held in Kinsale. The fair was organised by Cork County Council's Local Enterprise Office (LEO) offices and the North American Celtic Trade Association (NACTA), which had invited more than 30 American and Cork retailers to meet with 21 Cork craftspeople and food producers.
LEO business advisor Joan Kelleher said the NACTA has a membership of more than 100 retailers across the US, which sell many iconic Irish brands in their outlets. "The association also co-sponsors the 'USA Gift Suppliers of the Year' initiative with our partner agency Enterprise Ireland and are a key overseas buying group for 'Showcase', Ireland's leading creative expo," said Ms Kelleher.
"Events such as the Kinsale fair present great opportunities for local producers, as gift and tourism retailers are a key ingredient of the Irish economic landscape," she added. The fair also incorporated a short seminar on the Irish-American marketplace and online sales, with contributions from key sector players including Amy Whitaker from Blarney Woollen Mills and Ger Keohane from award-winning online retail solutions business StudioForty9. "The event was a chance for Cork makers and American retailers to meet and network as well as get a greater understanding of the kind of consumer that visit and purchase in Irish shops," said Ms Kelleher. NACTA board member Tom McGrath of Tipperary Tara Ltd said events such as the one in Kinsale were key to establishing important international trade links.
"Our visits to Ireland over the years have been a success and we do business with several vendors as a result of them. Craftspersons who may not attend USA gift trade shows can meet us, a group of stores they otherwise may have no shot at working with," he said. "We love meeting makers and designers on these tours and are happy to give feedback and insight about the products they are creating and how they might sell in the USA market," he added. Cork County Council chief executive Tim Lucey was equally enthusiastic about the initiative. "We are delighted to work with USA and Cork retail buyers and to organise this innovative pop-up trade and networking event to showcase our talented brands."