Character of Cork series: 'Living the life I’ve craved since I was 10 years old'

The founder of Craving Cork talks to Breda Graham about how he took his love for content creation and turned it into his full-time job.
Character of Cork series: 'Living the life I’ve craved since I was 10 years old'

Content creator and founder of Craving Cork, Mark Kelleher. Photo: Mark Kelleher.

The founder of Craving Cork, 31-year-old Mark Kelleher from Bishopstown, says he has always been creative and has had a keen interest in photography and videography from a young age.

With an eye for detail, Mark says he knew quite early on in life that he would be doing something in the creative sphere.

“I remember getting my first computer back when I was about 10 years old and it came with a very basic webcam," he says. “I wasn't very popular as a child and I didn't have many friends in my neighbourhood, so I used to spend my summers at home trying to recreate scenes from my favourite movies with my webcam - I think that's what first sparked my interest in content creation.” 

Mark got his first professional camera at the age of 21 and says he is “very much self-taught”.

“I wouldn't by any means consider myself a professional videographer but I do have a genuine passion for it and I think that makes all the difference,” he says.

When he sat his Leaving Cert, in 2010, he initially wanted to study interior architecture but didn't get enough points for his preferred course. 

“I had no idea what to do outside of this; my second option on my CAO was Hospitality Management so that's what I ended up doing for the next four years at MTU," he said. “I worked in hotels while completing the course - which taught me a lot about the hospitality industry, customer service, and attention to detail. After this, I went on to do a Masters in Marketing which I really loved.

“I moved to Toronto in 2017 and spent a couple of years working in both the hospitality and marketing industries before moving back to Cork at the end of 2019.

“I enjoyed my work but I still felt like I wasn’t using my skills and what I really enjoyed to build my career. I took a job at a local factory while I did some soul-searching for ways to merge my experience in marketing and hospitality with my passion for photography and videography.

“My father and grandfather were both entrepreneurs and I think that gene was passed on to me, but I just didn't know how to utilise it,” he says.

During his time in Toronto came across a media page that showcased the city and all it had to offer in a unique and artistic way and started to wonder why Cork didn't have something similar.

With his thinking cap on, he began to play with some ideas, wanting to create something unique that primarily focused on the tourism and hospitality industry in Cork.

“I had been to so many incredible bars, restaurants and hidden gems in Cork over the years and I wanted to show these off and create a hub for people who were looking for things to do in the city.

“There were already a number of existing women's blogs and news sites in Cork but I wanted to create something unique, trendy, and primarily focus on tourism and hospitality, and that's when the idea for Craving Cork was born.

“Think of it as the love child between Lovin Dublin, The Lad Bible and Tornonto's BlogTO,” he says.

Craving Cork (@cravingcork) began its journey on Instagram in 2020, about a week before the pandemic hit.

Unlike other media pages in Cork, Mark took a social-media-first approach and focused primarily on building his audience and engagements before launching his news website.

“I knew that I needed to spend some time building a relationship with my followers, figuring out what they liked and disliked, and the types of content they wanted to consume.

“About a year later, I launched my news website and that's when things started to really take off. I had found my niche, invested in my skill sets, and upgraded my camera and equipment, and I quickly saw the business grow from strength to strength.

“I launched my social media agency, Craving Media in 2022 which meant I was finally able to make this my full-time job.

“Around the same time, I knew I wanted to add a bit of personality to the business as I realised it was lacking that human element, so I decided to hire two of my best friends Dan and Emma to work as presenters for my videos.

“They've both been doing an incredible job representing Craving Cork and the public absolutely loves them.” 

Speaking about the lifestyle he now has as a full-time content creator and business owner, Mark says that no two days are the same. He is glued to the desk writing some days and out and about shooting content for clients on other days.

Mark says he also prioritises time away from the desk and work commitments by keeping fit and active and has joined the local LGBT running club The Frontrunners.

Speaking about what advice he would give to those who want to make a career out of content creation, he said: “Find your niche, focus on developing your strengths, stop wasting time trying to improve your weaknesses and invest in your equipment.

“It can be hard to overcome imposter syndrome but you just have to let go of your inner perfectionist and trust that your work will consistently improve over time.”

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