Established in 2015, Rachel Dubber Art. Design. Photography creates and sells original art mostly consisting of animal portraits, cards, and prints.
‘I realised my art career had arrived at a fork in the road when it was costing me more than it was making. Commissions were still coming in but they were not generating enough money to cover exhibition and show costs, never mind take a wage. Even though I was happy in my creative zone it was not a business. I had to make a decision, either I continued to run at a loss, give it all up or find something else in order to obtain financial freedom.
At the time the insights into my career were taking place, I had hit a very low point. I lost confidence in my abilities and myself; it had been a very, very difficult year. The loss of my beloved father and my two wonderful dogs all within months of each other was a tremendous blow. Following that, an unsuccessful event in Dublin had not only drained me physically but mentally too. I was ready to throw it all away and not keep going; yet my heart kept telling me you are too passionate about this to stop!
I had to take a step back, assess what I was doing and seriously contemplate the way forward. I had toyed with the idea of owing my own business but as a artist, I had no idea how to run a proper business? It would require changing my mind-set!! Could I do that?
Had I already started down that path without realising? The last couple of years had seen me producing a range of blank greeting cards that my customers loved, they were buying them giving them to friends and framing them as mini artworks. People loved the artworks but could not always afford an original piece, I needed to come up with a solution to a problem for my customer base. However, I was not really sure how to go about this at the time.
Then purely by chance, a friend sent me an email which changed the course of my artistic life….
The email was for a European Funded programme called EmpowerHer, Just what I needed as I and no knowledge of how to be a businessperson, after all I was an artist. I was in serious need of a guidance. EmpowerHer was specifically targeted at female entrepreneurs in my region to address specific challenges that hindered females. Lack of confidence and structure was my personal challenge and this course opened the doors to my business establishment and growth.
The EmpowerHer course covered business problems, solutions, opportunities, customer relationships and revenue streams, all key to running a business; this is unfortunately not taught in Art College. The programme boosted confidence and leadership skills, and trust me for someone who would rather talk to the animals this was an essential change for me. Through EmpowerHer’s wonderful facilitator Maria Staunton lifelong friendships formed with other female entrepreneurs and mentors. Doors and opportunities opened up and all I had to do was take the next step.
I am proud to be an EmpowerHer graduate; the programme gave me the foundation and structure I needed to create my business Rachel Dubber Design Limited. Since it’s launch in March 2019 the business has gone from strength to strength.
I am grateful that I got the chance to participate in the programme. I am also very grateful to my family, friends and the people I met along the way who supported me through the tough times. They helped me realise the potential and gave me back my confidence’.
Rachel received an honour’s degree in Fine Art GMIT Cluain Mhuire and has worked with animals for over twenty years, proving her ability to create authentic designs. Based in her hometown of Galway, Dubber primarily works in oils and graphite’s when creating her art. Her new venture into gift ware is produced using personal artwork and carefully sourced suppliers to create her unique products. Her aprons are now in eighteen local retailers and are also available to purchase online.
Rachel is well on her way to establishing a reputable brand in the West of Ireland. She looks forward to branching out into more retailers across the rest of Ireland by 2020.
Developing new artwork for products and expanding on the established ones keeps Rachel on her toes. Once she has established a strong foothold, her goal is to expand the brand overseas into foreign markets.
When asked how GMIT’s Empower Programme influenced her business, Dubber responded:
“It allowed me to grow as a businesswoman with a clear plan and purpose. Participating in the Empower Programme gave me the confidence and courage to pursue my idea and step out of my comfort zone. Empower provides the support of a great network of ladies, allowing me to bounce ideas off them and let off steam when challenges arose. The most beneficial outcome of this programme was not just the business information; it was the extremely mentorship, the solidarity, and friendships of likeminded ladies who are sharing the journey, peaks and troughs of being a Female Entrepreneur.“
We wish Rachel the very best with her future endeavors and look forward to seeing the new merchandise!
This project is co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Social Fund as part of the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.