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TradeMutt, Coalface

Dan and Ed were two larrikin tradies who would go to work every day needing to come up with creative solutions to a myriad of problems. One day instead of doing that on the tools, they decided to do that with TradeMutt, eye-catching high vis workwear that encourages tradespeople to start a conversation about mental health – a huge problem nationwide.

In 2015, Daniel Allen lost his mate to suicide, and he turned to his number one tradie mate Ed Ross.

“We used to talk about a whole lot of ideas and things we’d like to do with our lives. One thing we talked about is why did we wear the same, boring high vis workwear every day and then we had this idea for fun high vis workwear and that was the very start of the idea,” said Dan.

“Ed and I were spending so much time together working, I’m talking seven days a week, that he became my main support network. Some of the conversations that happened after I lost my mate were about mental health and the approachability of the subject itself and how it’s sold to us in the media.

“It’s sold as dark and negative. We thought no wonder people aren’t talking about how they’re feeling because the way it’s sold to us everywhere is dark and scary and negative. So, we thought something needed to be done to bring some colour to a dark conversation.”

That is how TradeMutt was born.

“A social impact workwear company by tradies for tradies. The funky, eye-catching workwear starts conversations making an invisible issue impossible to ignore.”

Dan and Ed launched their venture in 2018 by accident.

TradeMutt, Coalface

“We got our first correct shirt samples back from China, so we wore them down to the pub one day in Brisbane and a bunch of different people came up to us asking us what we were doing.

“The last person who walked over to have a yarn was one of the editors from the Courier Mail. He wanted to write a story about us, and we were a bit in shock. We said, ‘this is pretty funny but go for gold, it’s your career on the line if you want to publish a story on two of the biggest dickheads in Australia’ but he did it and Channel Seven contacted us before the story was out and before we knew it we were on the news and we’d made our first TradeMutt shirt sale.”

Five days after being on television they were cashflow positive and three months after that both Dan and Ed were off the tools and full time with TradeMutt.

Dan and Ed set TradeMutt up as a Social Enterprise. That meant 50 per cent of their profits had to be given away to an organisation that advocated for the cause they were related to.

So, the boys started TIACS – a not-for-profit text and call counselling service that stands for ‘This Is A Conversation Starter’.

“For Ed and me, we never wanted to just say ‘we give 50 per cent of our profits to Lifeline’ and just tick the box. There are some amazing crises support networks out there like Lifeline and Beyond Blue which are overrun and need all the support they can get. But we thought, what if you’re not at the point of crisis? How can we prevent people from getting there? That’s when we realised there was no service to fill that early prevention space.

“We wanted a solution that was tailored to our audience, so we got the phone line, hired a psychologist, and started TIACS.

“One of the key differences with TIACS is you text or call, then get 8 to 10 sessions with the counsellor that answers and you speak to the same person every time, so you don’t have to retell your story over and over again.”

Since TIACS started, they’ve helped more than 18,500 people and $3 million in services has been returned to the community for free.

Now, ten counsellors work for TIACS, Monday to Friday 8am to 10pm.

TradeMutt, Coalface

Jason Banks, the Co-CEO of TIACS, said since making its first call in June 2020, TIACS has reported over 19,000 hours of conversations between the professional counselling team and those who have reached out for support.

“TIACS is removing the financial and physical barriers that prevent hard-working blue-collar Australians from accessing the support they need. The service is free, and you can either text or call to get access to the support.

“There are so many things that set TIACS apart from other counselling services.

“We are for blue collar workers and their loved ones, so tradies, truckies, FIFO and farmers, any blue-collar worker. We have qualified professionals on the other end of the phone, both male and female and there is absolutely no waitlist.”

In 2023 the profits from the sale of the TradeMutt shirts raised about $250,000 which was enough to fully fund two counsellors’ full time.

Emblazoned on the back of the TradeMutt high vis work shirts is ‘This Is A Conversation Starter’, under the flap of one of the front pockets is a QR code to TIACS and on the other side is YWNA – a tribute to Dan’s mate who took his life and a reminder to anyone wearing one of the shirts that You’ll Never Walk Alone.

TIACS is available Monday to Friday 8am to 10pm AEST on: 0488 846 988

If it’s an emergency, such as if you or a loved one is in immediate danger or risk of harm, please call 000. For crisis support, such as suicidal intentions, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

To purchase TradeMutt shirts head to:

TradeMutt, Coalface

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