Stephen Kavanagh - Fat Pup Illustration
I am a freelance illustrator, creating illustrations for childrens books, editorials and advertisements. I also sell art prints, magnets, stickers, t-shirts, cards and tote bags through my online store and at different art markets each month.
I started creating art after I left secondary school early without a leaving cert due to personal reasons. I ended up attending evening classes to complete my leaving certificate, which allowed me to attend a fetac level 5 Art and design course before moving on to Dublin Institute of Technology to do visual communications. I attended Ballyfermot college of further education studying Illustration and graduating with a higher National Diploma in Illustration. After college I struggled with how to set up my own business, creating a business plan and where to find the information. I was out of work for a long time due to Covid19 and the pandemic. During the pandemic I became more determined to work for myself doing something I love. This is when I contacted Dublin South City partnership and got all the help I needed to get started. They helped me attend multiple courses including marketing, filling out tax forms, and starting your own business course. All these courses helped me when I was starting my own business and creating my business plan. In our first year of business we have had a huge amount of success including selling over 1000 stickers, getting new equipment for the business including a gazebo for markets and a heat press to help us expand our products. I was also invited to give a talk in my old college about creating a business plan as an artist. I have also encountered some challenges including equipment breaking down, orders from companies being damaged and undelivered. The amount of positive feedback we have received from our customers and the growth of our social media and online store has made the challenges worth it.
Dublin South City Partnership has been incredibly helpful since I first contacted them. Julie and Michelle helped me so much when I was working on my business plan and provided so much information on the resources that I had available. They went out of their way to help me complete my start your own business course and apply for the BTWEA grant. I was informed of all the amazing courses they provide and found them incredibly helpful, all the trainers were amazing and could not do enough to help with any questions you had. I can not recommend Dublin South City Partnership enough, they provide incredible support and I don’t believe I would be where I am now without their help, especially Julie and Michelle.
The best advice I can provide to anyone starting up their own business is to be confident in yourself, there will be challenges that can knock your confidence, but the more you experience them the better you will be able to deal with them in the future. You are starting up your business because you are great at what you do. In the beginning it can be incredibly hard, and you might not see the rewards straight away, but trust yourself and the decisions you make. Take advantage of all the resources provided to you, including courses and grants. I highly recommend doing a Start Your Own business course, it is extremely helpful to prepare yourself for creating your business plan and all the admin requirements that comes with running a small business.
I can be contacted on my website at www.fatpupillustration.com. My social media is : instagram @fatpupillustration, twitter @FPillustration. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I am more than happy to answer any questions anyone might have.