Cork Innovates Speaks to Gail Condon about her publishing startup, the Cork startup scene and her hopes for the future.
Tell us about yourself your startup.
My name is Gail Condon and I am the founder of Writing for TiNY children’s books. Writing forTiNY is an Irish company with an innovative approach to children’s book publishing. We make highly personalised children’s picture books about changes, worries and milestones.
Our degree of personalisation allows for the child to really engage with story, whether it is about starting school, parental separation or an upcoming surgery.
In this grand age of communication do we really know what our children are feeling? We offer a communication tool to help parents to find the words by promoting values of inclusion, independence, diversity and the education and wellbeing of all children.
With Writing for TiNY’s software capabilities, children and families of all shapes and sizes, ethnicities and dynamics are easily represented in our books. This degree of personalisation is not matched by any of our competitors. Not all children come from the perfect nuclear family, as we know. However, that is how most children are depicted in children’s books, even in today’s modern society. We accommodate all children such as the child who comes from a single parent family, who is mixed race or who comes from a blended family.
The story of Writing for TiNY began when I worked as a paediatric nurse on the wards both in the Cork University Hospital and in Crumlin Children’s Hospital. I used illustrations to help children to understand their condition, to explain their condition to their siblings or to distract them from frightening procedures.
Parents, children and staff used my drawings, and later my booklets on the ward to open up communication lines and to get talking. It worked!
As CEO and lead Writer and Illustrator, I founded the company in 2013 and now lead my strong team with dynamic expertise in paediatric healthcare, creative communication, illustration, software development, research, business strategy and publishing.
What is your vision for ‘Writing for TiNY and TiNY Health?
We are currently operating internationally online through writingfortiny.com where we offer our highly personalised
and educational books about changes, worries and milestones directly to our customers. We currently have a range of six titles with a unique problem solving approach. We will have a range of 12 titles by 2018. We also work within the corporate market, to hospitals, schools and healthcare companies. Our TiNY Health imprint utilises our health expertise and our software to create an innovation solution to health education.
As operational “full stack” business, our technology and books are designed and produced from start to finish in Ireland using the best quality materials. Our two product types are traditional hard back books with dust civers and caried endpapers inspired by Beatrix Potter books, and our newly launched larger soft back books.
We have successfully established our brand and market in Ireland and the UK and recently, the U.S. We have the systems in place and are equipped to further develop our growing business internationally by expanding to the U.S., Canada and Australia. The vision is to keep growing Writing for TiNY and TiNY Health.
What have been your biggest hurdles as entrepreneurs, and how did you get over them?
My biggest hurdle personally has been trying to find a balance between family life and the very demanding world of starting up. Sleep is no longer a word in my vocabulary!
What are your views on entrepreneurship in Cork?
I moved back to Cork from Dublin in October 2015 and my first experience of entrepreneurship in Cork was winning IBYE Young Entrepreneur and Best Startup for Cork City, so I have very positive views! I think Cork is a great place to start up, it has most of the supports and networks that are available in Dublin, but its more compact.
What motivates you – in other words – why do you do what you do?
Passion to make a change in children’s lives and the ability to get up and plan my day without any barriers creatively. The hard work pays off in this world. I have always had a strong work ethic, but it was only when I started my own business that I truly felt rewarded for it.