The foundations for Stori Creative were laid back in 2016, when Grainne Dwyer, former CEO of Skibbereen’s ‘Ludgate Hub’, saw a niche in the market for a creative production company with a focus on brand storytelling. Grainne’s cousin and co-founder, Fiona Dwyer takes up the story.
My background is in account management and marketing, and after spending two years working in New York, I returned home seeking a new challenge. I was barely off the plane when my cousin Grainne asked me to help out at National Digital Week – the aim of which is to develop entrepreneurship, by making digital tools accessible for all. Starting a business was never something I would have considered up until that point. It was my first time being exposed to the entrepreneurial community that co-existed along-side the Ludgate Hub. At the time it helped open my eyes to the supports, networks and opportunities that exist within the community here in West Cork.
The next week we both sat down together to discuss what was the beginnings of Stori Creative. Our initial interest in video production stemmed from making short videos with our friends when we were growing up. I suppose our passion for creativity was always there – we just never had imagined it could provide a living for us. So we said, ‘why not us’?
We focus on authentic brand storytelling. There has been a huge shift in the way consumers purchase these days. People don’t buy what you do – they buy why you do it – and so we seek to extract those authentic, engaging stories from each brand we work with, to engage their audience. We not only produce compelling brand stories, we then deliver these stories on all of the brand’s social media platforms. This is to ensure that their stories connect with the right target audience and as such, the brand can also then measure how effectively their video, has travelled across all platforms.
Generally, anyone in the business of videos has to prove themselves to a certain extent when building a portfolio. We set out at the start of 2017 to build a portfolio that would, in turn, attract new business and new clients. We were extremely lucky to have a local SuperValu as our first client, Fields of Skibbereen.
They previously had little engagement with online digital marketing – it was new territory for them. However, John Field, the owner and Ruth his daughter and Adam (general manager) were all on board from the get-go. They already had such a unique brand story that stems back to the 1930s and loyal staff who have stayed with them through the generations of their business. In the process of our research, we met some wonderful people along the way, who were narrators of the rich history that the shop has.
We produced a series of videos focusing on the people of the brand, (the long-standing employees who have worked in the shop and are so well liked throughout West Cork); the service they provide (they have been delivering to the *islands of West Cork since the 1930s in all types of weather); and the local food producers (West Cork has a rich history of producing artisan food products). So once we extracted their brand stories and produced the videos we then delivered them on their social platforms also.
“People are always a little surprised to hear that we are based out of Skibbereen.”
End to end
When we first started the business, Grainne had identified so many production companies who produced videos but when it came to handover, did not deliver them on the brands’ social platforms. This is where we saw a niche for us to set ourselves apart and provide the full end to end service. As such clients are getting measurable feedback from social media analytics to show that the video produced was worth their while.
We are supported by our Local Enterprise Office Cork North and West, and we are recipients of the Ludgate Hub seed fund. We have spent the last year investing in the best high-quality camera and recording equipment to deliver the highest possible quality to our clients. Our vision is to grow our team by the end of 2018 and also to grow our network of talented videographers and directors. We constantly want to be on the pulse, when it comes to creativity and work with different people, to make sure we are always delivering the most compelling visuals possible, for our clients.
“It’s extremely rewarding to provide four jobs in rural West Cork, and we hope to expand our team to six by the end of the year.”
Our videos were showcased at the Musgrave Amsterdam and Paris conferences in 2017. It’s also extremely rewarding to provide four jobs in rural West Cork, and we hope to expand our team to six by the end of the year. We are fortunate that so far most of our leads have been organic and so far we have worked with a wide range of industries including tech, medical, retail, and international food brands.
People are always a little surprised to hear that we are based out of Skibbereen. I suppose it can be a challenge for us to show clients that because we are a digital business that we can operate and function on both a national and international base – just the same as any business that is based in Cork or Dublin.
Other than that there are always challenges you will face in a start-up, on a day to day basis and having the close team that we have, helps when it comes to overcoming these challenges. As they say, two heads are better than one.
“Surround yourself with a good team and a strong network of mentors.”
Lessons we can share with fellow entrepreneurs
What is central to our team is surrounding ourselves with mentors, when we need a sound ear to bounce ideas. The mentors available here at the Ludgate Hub are second to none and we are incredibly lucky to have them on our doorstep. So our advice would be to surround yourself with a good team and a strong network of mentors.