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5 McElhinneys Moments to Celebrate from 2020

2020 has been a year like no other, and the pandemic brought on hardship that none of us were prepared for. That being said, this year has made many of us realize that to celebrate the everyday little moments. Instead of going in to 2021 with a negative view on the previous year, let's take a look back at some moments to celebrate from 2020. Here are our Top 5 McElhinneys Moments to Celebrate from 2020.

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1. Winner of Drapers 'Inspiring Independents UK & Ireland 2020'

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On the 7th October this year, we were delighted to be notified that we had been announced as a Winner of Drapers 'Inspiring Independents UK & Ireland 2020'. Drapers is renowned for highlighting excellence in the independent fashion retail sector through it's annual awards programme over the last 30+ years.

'None of the independents featured have escaped the travails of Covid-19, but they are all surviving and many are thriving, thanks to their hard work, carefully edited brand mix, unparalleled customer service, and ability to adapt during a crisis.'

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Drapers recognized that the pandemic has brought new and unforeseen challenges to this industry. They curated a list of Independent Retailers to support and celebrate their survival of the initial Covid-19 lockdowns. The awards were chosen by the readers and the Drapers' team and you can see the full list of winners here: https://www.drapersonline.com/companies/inspiring-independents-2020

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2. Christmas Window Unveiling

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Every year without fail this is one of our favourite projects and dates in our calendar. This year we unveiled our Windows on Friday the 13th of November - unlucky for some, but not for us! This year our Campaign was titled 'The Magic Makers' and the windows told the story of Santa and his magical toy shop. The windows moved from outside Santa's Cabin, to a peak inside, and then on to the toy shop and of course, the reindeers and sleigh.

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Instead of our usual Unveiling - where thousands gather in the streets of Ballybofey for Christmas shopping, entertainment and to be the first to see the theme of the Windows - this year we launched with a video Campaign featuring John & Eileen McElhinney along with their grandchildren; James, Hannah, Shaun & Jack. The magical toy factory was brought to life by the magic of the children's imaginations. And of course, some magic glitter that Hannah receives from her grandfather.

Watch the Magic Makers Campaign Video here > https://youtu.be/v5Oa-TGlcAA

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We chose the Magic Makers theme this year as we felt that the year it is, everyone needed a little bit of escapism. We wanted to transport kids (and adults alike) to a faraway universe full of imagination and wonder. The window also featured an emotional and heartwarming series of videos and photographs, submitted to the Creative Team in McElhinneys, from Irish expats and those who couldn't travel home for Christmas this year due to the pandemic. Our 'Magical Messages from Afar' was an amazing surprise for the families who came to see the window, and saw their loved ones' message in the window.

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Watch our Magical Messages from Afar here > https://youtu.be/JUB1Ntx8cq8

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Our Christmas Windows brought a lot of joy to the people of Donegal, and further afield this year, so it was absolutely a highlight for us this year.

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3. Finalist of 'Digital Media Campaign of the Year 2020'

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To add to our excitement about our Christmas Windows and Magic Makers Campaign, on the 7th of December we were delighted to find out that we are an award finalist! Our Christmas Campaign has been announced as a finalist for 'Digital Media Campaign of the Year' in the Digital Business Ireland & permanent tsb Digital Awards 2020. The award recognizes and celebrates a social media campaign that has successfully enhanced the visibility of a business that is trading online.

'The Digital Business Ireland – permanent tsb Digital Awards celebrate the very best of digital businesses in Ireland and reward websites and people across a number of sectors to reflect the online world that businesses now inhabit, trade and communicate in.'

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The awards ceremony will take place virtually on January 22nd. Ahead of the awards, the judges will be examining a further presentation outlining the campaign’s objectives, content, strategy, creativity, implementation and the results it created. Congratulations and best of luck to the other finalists in our category Supervalu Ireland, Woodie's DIY, Tour America & Hatch House Digital. Also congratulations to our fellow Donegal businesses Inish Pharmacy and Batch Donegal who are also finalists in the Digital Awards.

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4. New Season Launch Events

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On the 13th February, before the effects of the pandemic had arrived, we launched our Spring/Summer 2020 Collection with an unforgettable Press Event. Attended by over 50 local bloggers, influencers, press and esteemed guests, we showcased a fashion show to give a sneak peak as to what everyone could expect in fashion for the Season ahead. The big trends were statement colours, bold sleeves and monochromatic looks.
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Watch our SS20 Press Launch Night Video here > https://youtu.be/3wnPVYW-XBo

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Watch our SS20 Campaign Video here > https://youtu.be/21x3qsyPWR8

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The Press Event launched the itinerary of free events hosted over the weekend, including a Beauty Masterclass from Colour Me Bootiful, a wellness morning, footwear fashion show and much more.

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Our Autumn/Winter 2020 Trend Weekend was different, with a host of virtual events taking the place of our usual itinerary. Launching with our Campaign Video, we also filmed a full catwalk for our followers to enjoy viewing from the comfort of their own homes. All over the weekend of the 24-27th September, we filled our social media channels with a host of trend talks, home hauls, beauty takeover and more.

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Watch our AW20 Campaign Video here > https://youtu.be/WPrfWe-HKFA

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Watch our Autumn/Winter 2020 Fashion Show here > https://youtu.be/dx5_MnWq8gk

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Despite the changes to our most anticipated events of the year, we still enjoyed the challenge of bringing our trend weekend to a virtual audience, and all the events were incredibly well received over the course of the full weekend.

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5. Local & National Year-Long Support

This year has certainly shown us that community spirit is alive and well in Donegal, and certainly in the whole of Ireland. The amazing campaigns - to Shop Local, Stay Local, Buy Donegal, Buy Irish, Green Friday, Support Irish, to name a few - have meant that we have been able to stay operational throughout lockdowns with our online business. Furthermore, when we reopened, we had fantastic support from the local community of shoppers, businesses and organizations. All of these campaigns have surely helped countless Irish businesses to survive this pandemic, and continue to do so.

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Watch our Donegal 'Because It's Worth Seeing...' Campaign here > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7tLKXCdtHc

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The evening our doors closed in March, our visual merchandising team created this amazing 'Garden of Hope' display in our windows.
'The main message we want to share amidst the chaos and unpredictability of the present time, is to Keep Donegal Blooming 🌸 Our community spirit has held us together, and will continue to do so long after these uncertain times pass. Supporting our local businesses and suppliers is absolutely vital, now more than ever. We will get through this together.'

All that is left to say, as we approach McElhinneys 50th Anniversary in 2021, is a massive thank you to everyone who has shopped with us, either in store, over the phone or online, over the past 50 years, and especially for the support during 2020. Without you, we would not be here. Wishing you all a prosperous, peaceful and happy New Year in 2021.

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-  Niamh x

Visit us online: www.mcelhinneys.com

   

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