WORKWEAR & PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT M akers of the iconic ‘Tradie’ brand, SOJO is a family business that has steadily progressed for around 20 years now in the outer-Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Ironically, founder Ben Goodfellow made his mark in the busi- ness when he was just 26 years old, when he came up with the well-known ‘Tradie’ brand name. Today, Ben says it is exciting to be working within the work- wear/outerwear space, particularly as it gains momentum amongst both male and female Aussie tradies. Ben believes it only makes sense to expand the brand into this space as tradies continue to opt for fashionable work gear under a much-loved Aussie brand. “The idea around this brand has always been to just have fun. We understand that Australians are very proud of our tradies who are also known to be quite humorous and love the outdoors, so it seemed like an obvious brand name to build.” “I started the ‘Tradie’ brand name in underwear, which then quickly moved into socks, workwear and work boots. More recently we have moved into the beauty category and launched body sprays and body wash. Ideally, we have achieved a nice balance with the brand now well known in multiple catego- ries,” he said. When looking at future opportunities for workwear brands such as ‘Tradie’, Ben said it is so good to see so many up-and- coming brands, considering just 10 years ago only a couple of brands dominated this area. In the past, a lot of the brands tradesmen famously wore have now become outdated and daggy, but more recently Ben is seeing more youthful brands come through and “would like to think we are one of them”. “Companies are doing some fantastic stuff in workwear and the new designs are really blurring the lines between streetwear and workwear. That is what is so exciting about this space at the moment. The local hardware store can now sell some really on- trend workwear as opposed to the brands a 50- or 60-year-old tradesman wants to wear.” “The younger tradies seem to be the ones that are really driving this space now because they come into your home, or they work on big corporate sites and they know they need to present well, look trendy as well as professional. There really is no reason why they can only wear stylish clothes on the weekend and then during work time they have to wear things that are not well fitted. They should dress on trend every day of the week,” he said. Although ‘Tradie’ predominantly stocks workwear and boots within the hardware independent space, the brand does have some underwear in hardware stores during gifting times, such as Father’s Day. Ben said hardware stores act as a bit of a general store in the smaller communities and range a lot of underwear as well, but the core products in this space is workwear. “In saying this we are certainly most famous for our undies at this stage because we have had so fun advertising with Nick ‘The Honey Badger’ Cummins. Nick has worked with the ‘Tradie’ brand for eight years now so we have been on this journey together and will keep doing things with him across workwear, underwear etc.” “Thirteen-to-eighteen-year-olds really relate to him, and he is an incredible guy – one of eight kids, always helping out his family. When we filmed our baby ad a few years ago you have never seen someone so good with babies There is no doubt the well renowned ‘Tradie’ brand continues to grow as it expands its offer throughout the underwear, workwear and work boots segments, particularly within the independent hardware market. ‘Tradie’ brand proves to be more than just undies Nick ‘The Honey Badger’ Cummins has worked with the ‘Tradie’ brand for over eight years.