ANAM Craft Marketplace is the brand new B2B wholesale marketplace that was born out of the Covid19 pandemic. The 24/7 trading platform has been specifically developed and designed to provide a direct route for Irish and Scottish Celtic Craft makers to buy and sell wholesale to a curated audience of North American retail buyers. The two businesswomen leading this exciting venture are Co-founders, and advocates from the Celtic trade industry, Ashley Rooney and Isabel Haley.
Celtic craft is authentic, unique, highly collectible and not to mention extremely well-respected worldwide. But Irish Craft makers were already facing various challenges to their growth prior to 2020, according to Rooney, from the uncertainty of Brexit and technological changes, to social trends and increased international competition from low-wage economies. With the arrival of Covid-19 early 2020 these challenges were hugely intensified with retailers worldwide closing, stock orders ceasing, trade shows being cancelled and shipping costs growing week on week. Suddenly crafters have found themselves in a position of utter crisis as the industry faces critical endangerment. Ireland’s dynamic craft and design sector contributes almost half a billion euros to the local economy with huge potential for global expansion. So supporting local makers to achieve their ambitions in scaling and successfully competing in international markets is pivotal to maximizing the potential for growth of the design and craft sectors of Ireland.
The ANAM duo realized the success potential of a centralised platform that would bring together buyers and makers alike and ultimately allow them to thrive through the pandemic and be more sustainable into the future. “It’s a busy and vibrant industry, that’s why we love it. Having a combined 25 years in the industry we know the potential Celtic makers have on the international stage. ANAM was developed for the sole purpose of creating the perfect solution for buyers and makers to connect and discover each other a lot easier. Our platform offers a secure and convenient transactional opportunity for 24/7 buying and selling. But most importantly it gives our amazing makers the option to spend less time searching for new wholesalers and buyers and allows them to concentrate on what they do best – create!” Haley says.
Rooney and Haley are looking forward to taking a mission to the American retailers in order to help them realise the full export and investment potential of Irish and Scottish craft. They have a shared goal of enriching retail celtic craft collections, and retail market share, across North America through ANAM Craft. The development of export markets is vital to ensure long term survival and growth of the crafts industry. In tandem with this, Rooney says “ANAM represents a unique opportunity for Irish craft and design companies to sell their craft to a curated buyer audience across North America. We see ANAM as the leading platform the sector needs in 2021 to sustain and develop it further.” Their mission is to promote and stimulate the creative and commercial viability of the Irish design and craft sector through their B2B wholesale platform. They want to raise global awareness and help establish a more informed perception of the Celtic crafts industry of the celtic nations. With this in place they believe it will ultimately lead to a strong crafts industry in Ireland and one that future generations of Americans will enjoy. International social campaigns such as ‘Shop Local’ are building them a new audience for their work and driving new direct sales across the globe. It is clear however that makers will need to continue to develop their digital skills – social media, marketing and e-commerce – in order to compete in the market and gain visibility to help safeguard their futures. Along with offering a direct route to North American retailers, ANAM gives its makers the sales and marketing tools to allow them to target specific buyers, grow their brand awareness and ultimately increase their sales.
Being part of the IIBN and NACTA (North American Celtic Trade Association) has given Haley and Rooney the opportunity to expand their already vast connections in the Irish business community. “For us, meaningful industry connections are imperative to business growth and success, especially if your industry is directly related to Ireland. Involvement in the IIBN has provided us with collaborations that has allowed us to get our business venture to fruition”. ANAM is currently seeking interested investors to bring the marketplace to its full potential for all participants in 2021 and beyond.
ANAM Craft Marketplace is due to officially launch to buyers in June 2021. The team has already on-boarded over 30 craft makers and thousands of their products to the platform in the past month and continues to screen the large number of applications each week.