Showcase number 45

We should be glad and impressed that the Showcase Exhibition, held in the RDS every January, last year reached its 45th anniversary.   It bills itself, correctly, no doubt, as Ireland’s leading Trade Exhibition, for fashion, household, gifts and other goods. But some former colleagues may be unaware of CTTs  progenerative role in this perennially trade-productive institution..

It was, indeed, in the seventies -and  Yes, about 45 years ago.  CTT used to do a lot of promotional work in North America, both at consumer and trade level, and usually featuring a high class, design and reputation-influencing major department store (and its branches)  most every year. This had the interesting result that Ireland became fashionable, for some while, and recognised as a Go To country for   quality and well designed  imported goods, due to our continuous association with influential top department stores.   (And, it must be said, because of the phenomenal market position of Waterford Glass ) (I believe Ireland was featured inside stores and in their newspaper advertising, etc more than any other foreign country in the 1970s). This in turn led to some unexpected benefits of real importance. One was the Revlon promotion in 40 cities across the nation, which you all know about (No?). Another was a very interesting spawning of Irish Gift Fashion boutiques, or specialist shops selling Irish clothing, household good, textiles, gifts, gourmet foods, etc.  These sprung up across the country and almost all of them, no exaggeration, were created and later managed with very close assistance from our offices in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Biddy Greene recently estimated to me that there must have been c. 150 of them. I’d say maybe closer to a hundred. Tony Courtney, Ann Tormey, Rosemary Craig and others on the  team in those days  could probably write a book about them.  We should have built a franchise (- and, truth, I nearly did.. Nobody knows that till now )(I still have the business plan!)

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