New York has always been the epicentre of consumer culture. Given the close affinity between Ireland and America, time has proven that what is popular in the US is likely to follow here.

Growing up in Ireland, kids were always fed a constant stream of US culture. For 90s babies, unlike our parents who grew up watching the BBC, eating Tayto and drinking TK lemonade, we were exposed to the force of the USA. Globalisation and soft power had Irish kids eating at American restaurants and watching the Simpsons and Nickelodeon. The Celtic Tiger brought with it huge demand for Buzz Lightyears and Barbies, Playstations and iPods. While parents were off buying the holiday homes and the second car, Santa was sure to get his cut out of this new found wealth.

As children became teenagers, the wants changed but the arrow remained very much pointed at America. You would always be looking to see what new brands and products your mates in school would bring back from trips to New York or other parts of the States. Abercrombie & Fitch hoodies, Nike trainers and Mountain Dew. A competition to bring home the most sugary and wild snacks. As adults, it continues to be a successful formula to travel to America and press (Ctrl + C) and then (Ctrl + V) it into the Irish market quite seamlessly. New York presents a hub of consistent innovation and a really competitive landscape, where something starts taking off in the US market, there's a high probability Irish consumers will warm to it. From a food perspective, one only needs to look at the stream of successes over the years, from McDonalds and Dominos to more recent phenomena such as Five Guys or Krispy Kreme.

Given the similarities between the two countries, moving to a city like New York is relatively easy compared to elsewhere. As a kid, this was the place that felt like the centre of the earth. A city that drove you crazy with curiosity that you had to go and visit and ideally live there. Based on the stories above, New York in a sense is like travelling six months into the future. By living in New York, you can experience and find out about things that won't reach other parts of the world until much later. In addition, for Irish entrepreneurs it gives you a unique advantage by seeing what latest innovations exist and strategise ways to bring these ideas back to Ireland by copying the latest formulae.

Topics: Marketing

Derek Owens

Written by Derek Owens