After what has been one crazy year, this week’s blog post is about thanking everyone who has supported us along the way to get to this point now.
The world has now known about TradeMutt for exactly 363 days, but for Ed and I, the journey has been a far longer one than just the year that you all know about. After meeting on a building site in 2014, we were both a long way from our respective homes and there were probably not too many reasons that the two of us should have got along so well with each other. Ed had a very healthy appetite for knowledge, which is all you can really ask of an apprentice, but there is definitely a line when a thirst for knowledge becomes a very annoying nasal sounding voice like a mosquito flying around your head on a summer night. Nightmare! Any way I was happy enough to teach him what he wanted to know but it was the sense of humour that we quickly found common ground on. And that was it. As soon as we could make each other laugh more than we gave each other the shits, everything was peachy, and that’s the way its been ever since.
Losing one of my best mates in late 2015 to suicide was a significant moment in my life. Nothing since that day has ever been the same. And while not a day goes by that I don’t think of him, the path that my life has taken since that point often makes me think that he must be looking down here having a good old laugh about some of the things Ed and I have done, least of all making it on the television for spending the night in a toilet in the middle of Queen St mall. I know he would also be absolutely loving the fact that there are thousands of people now getting around the country sporting the letters YNWA on their chest after his beloved football club. This is probably the one thing that I am most proud of.
After we regularly came up with some crazy ideas of different business ideas, Ed and I just kept on going back to the conversation about funky workwear. Why hasn’t anyone does this yet? Can it even be done? Well we started sussing it out and we met a few people along the way. We were introduced to the idea of social enterprise and how we could use profit for purpose. And that was it. We decided that we wanted to create a brand that would take a bit of a different approach to the conversation around mental health and really put a positive and fun spin on things. Under the guidance of Peter Ball from Greater Outcomes, we undertook Impact Academy’s 20 week accelerator where we learnt all the basics of business and social enterprise and really honed in on how we were going to make an impact with our business. Now tackling mental health is a tough one because not only is it an invisible issue, but we were backing ourselves to actually encourage a shift in human behaviour and really try to impart a message around understanding emotional intelligence. Given the fact that we are two tradies targeting other tradies and blue-collar workers, this is a fair undertaking. We believed in what we were doing, or at least planning on doing, but until you’ve done it, its pretty difficult for anyone else to believe in it too. But that’s the best thing about having a cofounder. Having someone there who not only believes in the mission as much as you do but will also work as hard as you as well and someone who can take the lead when the other one is out of gas.
We’ve formed a lot of amazing relationships along the way that we are so grateful for and we have also had some pretty amazing experiences that we otherwise wouldn’t have. From the toilet stunt, a couple of TV appearances and a handful of guest speaking gigs, it’s all been a pretty big change up from flogging nails on a building site. But nothing that we have done comes remotely close to the family that we have created who now wear our shirts. Everyday we are absolutely blown away by the messages of support and the touching stories of people who have struggled with mental illness and not found the courage to talk about it, led alone act on it and seek the help they need. It is an absolute pleasure to get out of bed everyday and go to work knowing that there are so many people out there who have been uplifted by a simple work shirt. Ed and I definitely put ourselves out there in a very big way starting this business and to say that we feel completely humbled by everyone who has supported us on this mission is a complete understatement. It is because of everyone out there that have jumped into this with us and sent us messages of gratitude, that we know we have an obligation to not only keep this thing going, but we are now more focused and determined than ever to grow and evolve TradeMutt into a highly impactful business that will not only bring a lot of joy into people’s lives but to positively change the way we perceive mental health in this country.
Looking back on the year that has been, it all seems like a whirlwind. We are so grateful for everyone who has supported and helped us along this journey and without you there really would be no reason to do this.
Looking ahead, the future is very exciting for TradeMutt. We have been working our arses off on some pretty cool and exciting new projects that we can’t wait to share with everyone. We have been working tirelessly to set up our charity, This Is A Conversation Starter foundation, which is a very clear-cut project for us that will change the way people access mental health services for the better and this is something that we are super proud of and pumped to launch. Along with some new designs and an expanding product line, things are looking very exciting around here.
For now, it’s just a massive thanks to everyone who has supported us and got behind the Mutt’s. We hope that we can continue to do everyone proud and help to drive the social and cultural shift in this country that can ultimately see a reduction in the rate of suicide, particularly among young men.