Jen Murnaghan: From Ireland to Island
Jen’s Digital Dandy tells stories that make human connections
Irish-born Jen Murnaghan and her New Zealand-born husband Vinnie Trim were living in Sydney in 2007 with plans to relocate to Ireland. Then the Global Financial Crisis hit. So instead of heading overseas the pair left the Sydney rat race and moved to another island, a little closer – Tasmania.
Jen and Vinnie only had two contacts in Hobart, but after an unplanned cup of tea with one, an opportunity for a chef at MONA’s Moorilla Estate came Vinnie’s way. Soon after, the family were packed up and on board the Spirit of Tasmania ferry heading to their new island home.
“Ninety per cent of people we spoke to said if you want to bring up kids in Australia, do it in Tasmania. At the time, Jack was two and Charlie was nine months old. I remember the journey distinctly. “We had the most beautiful early morning drive from Devonport to Hobart. It was misty along the Midlands Highway and as we drove the fog gently lifted.”
Vinnie began work at Moorilla and is now Executive Chef at Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). Jen meanwhile busied herself creating the new family home and then began The Brothers Trimm blog with tips on raising young boys. This creative outlet led on to her becoming co-curator of MONA’s innovative MoMa market.
During her six years as co-curator, Jen developed her Dish Pig brand, a range of tea towels based on old tram scrolls. She carved out new skills in social media marketing and soon became the go-to for others seeking digital marketing advice. This led to her launching Digital Dandy in 2014, a Tasmanian-based digital marketing and online communications agency which allowed the Irish ex-pat to deliver her 20 years of creative production experience to the local community.
Today Jen is a coach for the Department of State Growth’s Digital Ready Program. She develops digital marketing campaigns for Tasmanian businesses and runs a suite of workshops across the state. Her expertise is sought by non-profit organisations, TV productions, film festivals and major Australian financial corporations. But it’s the personal contact with clients she finds most rewarding.
“When a client’s eyes light up in response to a new idea or strategy, that’s my reward. Regardless of what happens with technology, human contact is still paramount. It’s why video as a digital trend will continue to escalate. Humans need that connection.”
“Digital Dandy is not 100 per cent technical. We also try to create a foundation for the business that empowers a client to share their story. It always comes back to storytelling. I’m from a country where they’ve been telling stories for ages. It’s in my DNA.”
With Vinnie’s hours as a chef, Jen was keen to craft a flexible career that could fit around school holidays, sporting commitments and quality family time. In Tasmania, she’s found the right blend.
“I love the people in Tasmania and the pace. There’s no big city pressure. I didn’t realise how nice that is until I went back to Sydney for a visit. The proximity to everything in Tasmania is still a novelty, even after eight years. Any consultant who has to regularly travel to and from meetings understands distance can limit what you can achieve in a day.”
Digital Dandy has now grown into a team of four, so what’s next for this digital marketing entrepreneur? “I look forward to more collaboration and bringing digital marketing specialists to Tasmania. I also look forward to nurturing my small team and learning from them. I want to begin podcasting … and there’s a book brewing. Many bold plans are in the making.”
Are you interested in making a move? Make it Tasmania.
Find out more about Digital Dandy.
For information on starting a business in Tasmania look through our stories or visit Business Tasmania.