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Tuesday, 19th January 2021

Two local companies get ready to shine at Showcase

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Emma and David Fallon of Emma’s So Naturals.

Two local businesses have risen to the challenge of attracting a global market for their produce and will represent Louth at Showcase 2021, Ireland’s annual Creative Expo, which this year takes place from 25-29th January as a fully virtual event.

Lisa Heeney of AromaBuff offers a range of 100% natural skincare products for men and women, incorporating the therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy. 

Emma and Dave Fallon of Emma’s So Naturals offer an all-natural wellness and home-fragrance collection of soy candles, homemade soap and aroma diffuser blends scented with pure essential oils. 

Emma says that being an exhibitor at Showcase can be daunting, if you haven’t attended before but this their third year so we know what to expect.

“Normally, after Christmas, our focus turns totally to Showcase: prepping our stand and our offering as well as making and finalising new products. This year, the rush consists of technical and website preparations to ensure our web portal and presentation area will entice and wow visitors.” 

“Showcase is a great opportunity to present our products on an equal footing to bigger, more established brands. Showcase allows smaller producers to show off their creations to a varied and diverse audience of buyers, both Irish and international.  Attending Showcase is an exciting launch pad for SMEs, offering both validation and inspiration in equal measure.” 

Asked about the challenge of a virtual showcase when both AromaBuff and Emma’s So Natural are scent based businesses, Lisa laughs and says “Yes - there is definitely a need for smell-o-vision!  However, until that becomes the norm, we have to rely on high quality images and presentations that show off the packaging, and use the power of story-telling to instil in the buyer a desire to learn more about the products.” 

Emma says that both AromaBuff and Emma’s So Naturals are used to trading online, both to buyers and direct to consumers and they have a lot of their brand and product work done for the online environment already.

David continues “The format is very structured, so we have to begin by working within that. Our listings need to be correct for buyers. Pictures must catch people’s eye. And, if successful, our story needs to create a hook that will begin the all-important conversation.

"After that it is down to a smile, personality and identifying common interests and goals with a retailer. We have a lot of great selling points to communicate within the Emma’s So Naturals collection. Buyers understand the appeal of our truly natural, vegan and handmade message, which is a big help.” 

Lisa Heeney of AromaBuff offers a range of 100% natural skincare products for men and women, incorporating the therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy. 

Lisa explains the importance of social media to attracting buyers. “Keeping our social media updated, interesting and attractive is another means of attracting a buyer's notice, this is why positive reviews and feedback from customers matters so much. It allows buyers to see other happy customers and to assess which products will sell well for them.”   

“The virtual Showcase Showroom provides us with detailed information about the buyers attending. This made it easier to follow them on social media and contact them directly before the event - which I think is very positive.” 

Emma picks up on that point “Communication to buyers in advance has probably been our biggest challenge but meeting requests have already started to roll in and we’re looking forward to a busy week at Showcase.” 

Reflecting on the challenges of the last year, the teams from AromaBuff and Emma’s So Natural both agree that the support of Irish people has been vitally important. 

“The positive upsurge in the desire to support small businesses and to buy Irish, has been a huge boost for AromaBuff” says Lisa, “not only nationally, but now approx. 1 in 10 of our orders being sent to USA. We have also received interest from new retailers in Europe which provides us with more exciting opportunities.”   

Emma and Dave conclude “Irish consumers came out in force to support small businesses and we appreciated it so much. They shopped direct and also with trusted retail brands who were also focused on supporting local. The media also worked diligently to give the country a positive boost. But behind all this was the support from our Local Enterprise Office. Honestly most small Irish businesses would not have the confidence or aptitude to leverage the opportunities without their support and guidance.”

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