Belfast Telegraph

Spires’ Dutch deal is picture perfect

By Margaret Canning

An art company in Co Tyrone has gathered up the Dutch courage to reach a major interior design deal worth €70,000.

Spires Arts in Omagh has been awarded a contract worth to provide 97 large format pictures to an interior design company in Amsterdam for use in a residential home in the capital.

The company, which employs 11 people in Omagh, has been in business for 20 years, sourcing and supplying artwork to hotels, hospitals, homes and public spaces in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

They met Dutch company L&P Design during an Invest NI-led visit to The Netherlands last December.

Spires Art managing director Colm McRory said: “Our main markets in Great Britain and the Republic had started to slow down.

“While we still have good business in both I saw a need to widen our markets to counterbalance an anticipated slowdown in buying decisions in these areas.

“The Dutch initiative was excellent because it enabled us to access the services of a consultancy in Amsterdam which had vast experience of market conditions and business practices there, as well as a network of contacts.”

He added: “The consultancy produced some excellent potential customers, including L&P Design, and helped us with our pitch.”

Invest NI said its operations in The Netherlands include matching businesses with marketing experts to help identify business partners, following up with a week-long visit to the market.

Invest NI trade director Dr Vicky Kell said: “Spires Art is yet another success story resulting from Invest NI’s focus on offering support in The Netherlands.

“It shows that local companies which are offering expert services in activities such as design and the sourcing of artwork, can compete successfully in this challenging marketplace. “Most of the companies, including many smaller firms, which have accessed Invest NI support in this market over the past three years are now doing business there.”

She added: “Others have gained the confidence to explore successfully other neighbouring markets such as Belgium, Germany and France.

“The Netherlands has become an important springboard for smaller companies eager to explore opportunities outside Northern Ireland. The achievement of Spires Art demonstrates that companies that are determined to do business in The Netherlands, and are prepared to respond positively and quickly to the specific |requirements of individual customers, can succeed there.”

Belfast Telegraph