This unique training and mentoring program is designed to assist creative business as you reconnect with retailers and develop deeper, more meaningful and lasting relationships direct to consumers.

It will have two specific outcomes:

    1.  Development of an online digital catalogue for promotion of your craft businesses to retailers and direct to consumers. (to be launched Autumn 2021 to Xmas 2021)
    1. Virtual Meet The Maker Online Program for consumers. (to commence Autumn 2021 and onwards)

It will also explore the potential for the launch of a special virtual Creative Retailing Seminar for local retailers. The programme will be delivered by Eddie Shanahan;

Eddie Shanahan specialises in business and product development for the fashion and textiles, craft, homewares and retail sectors. He has developed and executed Business & Product Development programs for varied organisations including DCCI, OLDC & WCD as well as providing effective mentoring services to individual craft and design across a range of disciplines. Eddie developed the ‘CREATE’ project with Brown Thomas to identify and develop Irish design talent with the capability to sell in the store side-by-side with the world’s leading luxury labels. He is Chairperson of the Council of Irish Fashion Designers.

Who is this programme for?

All craft businesses based in Offaly, Westmeath and our partners in Finland. It is essential that you have an online presence or that you plan to have an online sales platform before Autumn 2021.

What is included in the programme?

The proposed program has a series of interconnected phases:

    1. Product development review
    1. Website reviews
    1. Digital Catalogue  development
    1. Digital Catalogue promotion to retailers & media
    1. Virtual ‘Meet The Maker’ events for consumers
Programme Details 1.Product Development Review : Group sessions via ZOOM where makers present their core new products for review and revision in preparation for participation in phases 3 & 5. 2.Website reviews These to be 30 minute reviews on an individual basis via ZOOM and will review the functionality of your website and shop.  3.Digital Catalogue Development and design of digital catalogue for distribution to retailers (Irish & international), media and consumers. To include engaging design featuring Story of Craftlink Group (highlighting the creativity, heritage, techniques, products & values) Alphabetical listing of makers with website details Category listing of makers with images and website details 4.Digital Catalogue promotion to Retailers. Potential for launch at a special virtual Creative Retailing Seminar for local retailers. 5.Virtual Meet The Maker Online Program for consumers Weekly online zoom program featuring 4 ‘non compete’ makers in conversation with Eddie Shanahan before a public zoom audience. Discussion to cover background,  inspiration, creativity, craftsmanship, process, business challenges, advice for consumers, product uses & point of difference etc. Each featured maker invites 20 guests

Please note that in order to partake in phase 3 & 5 businesses must complete all phases of the programme 

Is there a fee to take part in this programme?

No , this programme is provided Free of charge to the creative industries in Offaly and Westmeath.

The Craftlink- Connecting Creative Communities programme is funded by the LEADER Rural Development Programme which is delivered through Offaly Local Development Company and Westmeath Community Development, with the support of Ballinahown Development Association.

Will this programme offer additional supports?

Yes, this programme will be delivered with the support of additional training including digital marketing, photography reviews and training, creative writing and more.

How can I apply?

Completion of this Expression Of Interest Form and this will start the process for you.

Please note that completion of the Expression Of Interest Form may not result in a space on this programme and successful candidates will be notified in due course. Spaces are limited, Closing date for Expression of Interest Forms to be completed by 5pm Friday 14th May.