Little Red Design Studio

Little Red Design StudioLittle Red Design Studio product shot

Little Red Design Studio

A little studio with BIG ideas making a BIG difference

The catalyst and inspiration to starting my business

For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to create my own path. I remember as a child aged 5 taking over my dad's home office and pretending I was running a company. I had a challenging time in education as I felt the educational system in school lacked freedom, creativity and play. During my time studying product design in The National College of Art and Design I began to realise my full potential - due to their wonderful innovative ways of educating. I discovered I could make a big difference to people's lives through designing products. I worked in a bank after college and knew I did not want to work in a 9-5 Job like a robot for the rest of my life. I travelled to Vietnam and taught English to early learners for a few months. I found my passion for teaching and I was able to integrate my creativity within the classroom. Seeing the impact play had on the children's learning experience was a catalyst for setting up an Educational Technology Business for sure.

Hazard Farm, our first product is an augmented reality children’s book and app that educates early learners about the dangers on a farm. The idea came from my own childhood. I am from the countryside of Offaly and I frequently visited my Grandparents farm at the weekends in Mayo. I would be on a tractor, climbing up bales and chasing sheep from the age of 6 or 7 years old! My grandad Toby was in an accident with the Power Take off shaft and nearly died. In NCAD I used this as inspiration to create the first prototype of Hazard Farm. The book is a tribute to my Grandad who was a wonderful entrepreneur in his own right.

Entrepreneurial challenges – learning through doing, making your vision come alive

I think the biggest challenge is trying to get others to see your vision. No one will ever believe in your ideas as much as yourself. This can be isolating at times but it forces you to think outside the box in trying to win people over. There is always something to do when you have a start-up business and usually one person is running everything between marketing, sales, finance, product design, sourcing manufacturers etc. I have to constantly remind myself to take breaks because your mental health can suffer with the extreme ups and downs. It's a rollercoaster but that's why it's so exciting too, the unpredictability of it is so much more fun than doing the same job every-day and knowing what to expect.

Since starting Little Red Design Studio I have met the most inspiring people through events and networking that remain great friends. I never initially thought I would be learning and using new technologies within my products but being open to change, believing and being brave enough to go for it have opened so many doors for me. A lot of us put so many restrictions on ourselves when we can really achieve a lot even without the experience. You learn through doing. To see your vision come alive is the most exciting thing but also making a difference in people's lives on top of it is so fulfilling e.g. at a recent library visit with Hazard Farm, a child said at the end she couldn't wait to go home and tell her grandad to stay safe on the farm. This makes all the work worthwhile. Knowing you might have just saved a life with this product.

Delivering important messages through play – a life saving product

We deliver important messages through play. We are using a new technology, augmented reality, which allows us to engage a child to a whole different level in order for them to take in important information and retain that and pass it on to their parents/ grandparents. The children become immersed in the story and have a lot of fun in the process. The book also has a self-narration feature so the child can hear the safety message in their parents voice and never miss story-time (even if the parent can't be there, they will still hear their voice) we are teaching important messages that we believe are not concentrated enough on within the school educational system.

LEO Supports

The LEO have been a tremendous support. We received the feasibility grant which helped us fund the augmented reality Hazard Farm app. I found the mentoring support from LEO to be the most valuable. It helped me to see problems and opportunities for the business I wouldn't have found on my own. I would highly recommend people to talk to them if they have a business idea or if they are stuck on a challenge within the business. There are a huge number of supports that they provide that can really help you progress.

Next steps for your business We are collaborating with Maynooth University's Marketing class to help us develop marketing strategies for each of our products. We are currently finalising the design of our second product Hazard Farm which will be an Augmented Reality play-mat. We plan to launch this in September at The National Ploughing Championships. So keep your eyes peeled! We are developing similar products with different topics and issues we feel are important to focus on.

A little studio with BIG ideas making a BIG difference

I would be inspired by the likes of Walt Disney, Steve Jobs and Apple, Air Bnb, Tom's shoes. Their stories and journey starting from nothing and creating something that has made a huge impact and difference to so many people’s lives keeps me motivated and inspires me to believe. I can also make a big difference with Little Red Design Studio, a little studio with BIG ideas.