Back for Business: Sarah and Eoghan O’Donnell

Little & Large is a boutique digital advertising agency with a strong focus on e-commerce and retail founded by Sarah O’Donnell and her husband Eoghan O’Donnell who are back from Australia.

Sarah O’Donnell says she is an accidental entrepreneur as she and her husband Eoghan set up their business – Little & Large — primarily as a way to move home to Galway.

However, their boutique digital advertising agency is thriving and has grown to seven full-time staff members during 2020, a year a lot of other companies did not survive.

“We now have seven people employed full-time and have opened a second office in Tuam”

Little & Large has a strong focus on e-commerce and retail and its clients include Human + Kind and Bellamianta Luxury Tanning. Both founders have Masters in Advertising and Sarah has worked in the industry since she was 16.

Back from Oz

Smiling young woman.

Sarah met Eoghan six months before he was about to leave for a year in Australia and the pair decided to go together. They left in 2012 and ended up staying five years, working at advertising agencies in Melbourne. On a trip home for Christmas in 2016, the couple got engaged and it started them thinking about the future.

“We loved Australia and had a great community of friends – both ex-pats and those from all over the world. However, it was never our intention to live there forever and, after we got engaged, home started calling,” says Sarah.

Sarah and Eoghan, who are both from Galway, got jobs in agencies in Dublin and returned home in 2017.

“We were nine months working in Dublin when we realised Dublin life just wasn’t for us. We had moved home from Australia to live in Galway, but we were still not doing that. Galway is an incredibly creative town and we spotted a gap for a progressive and forward thinking multidisciplined advertising agency. So, three months before our wedding, we quit our jobs and enjoyed the build-up to the big day. Ten days after the wedding, we set up Little & Large on January 8, 2018,” says Sarah.

“For our last two years in Melbourne, we were working in the same agency, which had an amazing culture. We had some of the world’s biggest names as clients and had access to massive media and creative budgets and projects. We learnt so much there and decided we could bring the great culture they had to our own agency.”

Expanding through Covid

At the start of 2020, there were three people employed in the company and Sarah just joined Cycle 3 of Back for Business. The participants met just once in person and then Covid-19 hit, and everything went online.

“It was a nerve-wrecking time. Some of our clients started to panic and cancel projects so we had to let everyone go temporarily. However, three weeks later, we were back in business and re-hired everyone. We diversified and there was a huge demand for new e-commerce websites. We now have seven people employed full-time and have opened a second office in Tuam.

“Back for Business has been invaluable to us and we would not have survived Covid had it not been for this programme. Our Lead Entrepreneur’s support, guidance and advice was incredibly important and helped to completely turn around our business. It was great to also know that you are not on your own; that other businesses were going through similar – and in some cases worse – issues.”

The future for Little & Large is looking bright as they seek to concentrate on expanding services to the new clients brought on board during Covid.

“We were so fortunate to have grown during 2020, given the year it was. But we are also going to be careful not to lose the personal nature of our business, so we are concentrating on consolidating and growing the relationships with our new clients,” says Sarah.

Main image at top: Eoghan and Sarah O’Donnell

This is the fourth year of the very successful Back for Business developmental programme, which is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs. Since the call for applications was launched in mid-December by Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora Colm Brophy, TD, there has been great interest in the initiative. To learn more click here

Published: 12 January 2021