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Mayo's Up And Coming Craft & Design Businesses Get A Shot At International Success

Date: 13-01-2023

Some of Mayo’s best up and coming craft and design businesses will be part of over 100 companies from across Ireland who will get a chance to meet with buyers from all over the world as part of the Local Enterprise Showcase at the 2023 Showcase event in the RDS, running from January 22nd to 24th .    

An initiative of the Local Enterprise Offices, the Local Enterprise Showcase, is a special area at Showcase that houses a range of Ireland’s newest design talent. Elaine Kennedy, Hawthorn Handmade Skincare and Nancy O’Reilly of Herbal Earth Skincare will both be attending Showcase 2023 from County Mayo.

Elaine’s simple philosophy is to create skin nourishing products using 100% natural ingredients. Inspired by the picturesque area of Partry in Mayo, Elaine has decided to take a stand against excessive packaging and controversial ingredients such as palm oil. Her product containers are made from easily recycled glass or aluminium and the outer cartons are FSC certified.

Nancy’s promise behind Herbal Earth Skincare products are Natural, Honest and Gentle, combining the best of nature and science to create advanced natural skincare for sensitive skin.

Nancy uses all natural, beautiful ingredients that are safe and astonishingly effective. There are no controversial ingredients, cheap fillers or exaggerated claims in their skincare products, which are made from botanical extracts to exquisite oils. Herbal Earth’s products are rich in high-performance components carefully selected for their hydrating, brightening, age-defying, anti-pollution.

The event, which is a pinnacle event in the global design and crafts calendar, will open its doors to thousands of buyers from across the world, including Ireland, the UK, USA, mainland Europe, Asia and Africa, generating millions of euros of sales orders during the show.

Showcase is presented on behalf of Design & Crafts Council Ireland, with support from Enterprise Ireland in promoting the trade show internationally through their network of offices overseas, and the Local Enterprise Offices nationwide.

Recent participants from Mayo include the likes of Frances McGonigle of RothlĂș, where Frances creates exquisite colourful, unusual and lightweight jewellery in her studio in the Ox Mountains using resist techniques like Batik, Sgraffito and Shibori processes.

Gerry Whelan Design, originally Cloch Design, situated in Gortmor, Tourmakeady, master craftsman Gerry designs and constructs contemporary products combining Ireland’s past and contemporary future using materials such as local stone, bog oak and Connemara marble.

Each artwork is unique and, in some cases, the natural elements selected to make the individual pieces can be up to 5000 years old. Gerry Whelan Design also undertakes projects on a commissioned basis and is open to considering work in the architectural and interior design space.

In 2022 there were thousands of buyers from 25 countries in attendance at the event in the RDS and it is expected this will increase again in 2023 following the lifting of Covid restrictions that were still in place early last year. 

Local Enterprise Office Mayo has been working with both Elaine and Nancy on merchandising for their stands, marketing, and sales techniques to ensure they maximise opportunities at the three-day event.   

John Magee, Head of Enterprise, LEO Mayo believes this is an opportunity like no other for up-and-coming craft and design clients looking to make that breakthrough. “To be exposed to this many high-quality buyers in one place is an incredible opportunity for any business. If things go well at this event, a business could return with a significant order book and may well establish strong partnerships to help them grow.

“While that won’t happen for every business, just to be here, see other clients, get new ideas and develop their skills in marketing and sales will be of tremendous benefit. I would encourage emerging craft and design businesses to attend Showcase for inspiration and to make valuable contacts.”

Rosemary Steen, CEO of Design & Crafts Council Ireland said: “We at Design & Crafts Council Ireland are greatly looking forward to the return of our international trade fair, Showcase 2023. Showcase offers designers and makers the opportunity to not only meet and do business with buyers from Ireland, the UK, USA, mainland Europe and Asia, but also the chance to come together to celebrate the creativity, the impact and the importance of the heritage of the Irish craft and design sector globally. With restrictions linked to the pandemic due to be fully lifted for Showcase 2023, we look forward to even more buyer attendance this year.”

Local Enterprise Showcase is one of several enterprise initiatives run by the Local Enterprise Offices across the year to foster entrepreneurship and help small businesses to start and grow.

Other events include Local Enterprise Week, National Women’s Enterprise Day, the National Enterprise Awards, the Student Enterprise Programme and the Local Enterprise Village as part of the National Ploughing Championships. For more information on the Local Enterprise Offices and the supports they can provide, please visit

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