11 things we learned at the Irish Made Summit

A day full of information and inspiration with Irish Country Magazine, Bank of Ireland, and more, at The Guinness Storehouse

  • Branding & Marketing panel with Ruth O'Connor, Emma Kelly, Niamh Sherwin-Barry & Chupi

  • Michelle Goodwin, Head of Enterprise Development at Bank of Ireland, welcomes guests

  • Klara Heron interviews Julie & Owen of Jando

  • Finance & Funding panel with Stephen Conmy, Sheelagh Daly, Pamela Laird & Brian McGee

  • Michelle Goodwin from Bank of Ireland & Irish Country Magazine's Jennifer Stevens present Elements of Action with their prize

The idea for the Irish Made Summit came about after judging the inaugural Irish made Awards back in 2017. After going through hundreds of entries from Irish business all over Ireland, it became clear that there was a wealth of talented, innovative people creating in every corner of the country. We are passionate about supporting these companies, they are the people and ideas that fill the pages of the magazine after all, and so the Irish Made Summit was born – a day of information and innovation with small and medium creative businesses at its heart.

On Wednesday 11th April, 2018, makers, business owners and creatives gathered in The Guinness Storehouse for the first ever Irish Made Summit, supported by Bank of Ireland. Panels on the topics of Finance & Funding, The Retail Game, Branding & Marketing, and more, were jam-packed with practical information and seven business had the opportunity to pitch in front of a panel of industry experts in the Pitch Perfect session. At the end of the day, company Elements of Action was announced as the Pitch winner, walking away with €10,000 in a prize package from Bank of Ireland and Irish Country Magazine - read more about their pitch, prize and business here.

Here are 11 things we took away from the day:

1. When creating your brand, think about your story: "Branding is everything we do, from what I'm wearing today to the packaging. Every touch point where your customer meets you in the world be it online or in the store, that's the brand. Replace the word brand with 'story'. That's it, tell a story." – Chupi, Owner & designer of Chupi Jewellery

2. No one is going to care about your business as much as you do: "Everything you see we do ourselves, from our branding to our photography. This is our world and no one is going to care about our business like we do." – Julie McLoughlin, Jando

3. Getting your product into retailers is all about communicating your story to them, so they can sell you as best they can: “When we're selling your product we're selling you too, so your story is very important to us. It's a partnership, we work with makers and designers to support them through things like our Open Call initiative" - Melissa O'Gorman, Kilkenny Shop

4. Value matters more than cost: “The best value correctly presented beats the best price every time.” – Eddie Shanahan, Retail Consultant & Chairperson of the Council of Irish Fashion Designers

5. Business owners need to prepare themselves for cashless payments: "Cashless is coming down the tracks like a tornado. Countries like Denmark and Sweden have gone completely cashless in some stores. It's something we're preparing for and happy to support businesses with" - Owen Clifford, Bank of Ireland

6. Highlighting the ways in which you plan to give back is key: "These days consumers are looking for brands to stand for something, to have a purpose, that's what people want.” – Emma Kelly, MD of Elevate PR

7. Networking groups can be powerful: "The women in business networking in Ireland is phenomenal. To have a group of women in one room helping each other and supporting each other in business is absolutely amazing." – Niamh Sherwin Barry, Co-founder of The Irish Fairy Door Co

8. Determining your brand values is key to success: "What values do your customers call to mind at the mention of your brand? How do they speak about you when you're not in the room? What are your brand values? Are they distinctive, engaging, fun?” – Eddie Shanahan, Retail Consultant & Chairperson of the Council of Irish Fashion Designers

9. It’s all about who you know: "In Ireland a lot of connections are made through people you know and someone who knows someone. Trying to get into the UK or USA is not like that, it's so difficult to find the right people." - Keira Kennedy, KDK

10. Developing a team of people with the right skills is paramount: "It can be hard to grow a team & not be in control, but when you're on your own you can become blind to inefficiencies & opportunities within the business. There's no work/life balance when you’re doing everything. Development of your team is key." - Owen Clifford, Bank of Ireland

11. Look for support within your network of family and friends: “Sometimes the best enterprises are based on life partners, best friends & siblings....marrying skills, ideas, attributes & traits can create great success stories.” - Brian McGee, Design and Crafts Council of Ireland

Find more from the day at #IrishMadeSummit

Inform | Inspire | Indulge