New York Union Plumber, Judaline Cassidy, is a big proponent of bringing women into the trades. She first acquired her skills in her home country of Trinidad and Tobago. Judaline found great pride and freedom in her profession. After living and working in the states, she wanted to share the benefits of a Union job with other young people, in particular young girls. Women make up only 3% of the trade force.
Judaline started Tools and Tiaras, a nonprofit that focuses on educating and exposing girls to the trades. She offers workshops and summer programs, all taught by women currently working in the field.
“Plumbing wasn’t always my first choice. I wanted to be a lawyer. I love watching Perry Mason, LA Law, and any crime solving shows. When I was going to University it wasn’t a possible due to the passing of my great grandmother. She was my caregiver and support. I had to look for other means to lift myself out of poverty. Learning a Trade In Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean Island I’m from, was free and I could mostly definitely afford that.
Then came the task of choosing what craft I should apply for next. So many women were applying for Dressmaking, Tailoring, Culinary, and other similar classes. I decided to improve my odds of being accepted by choosing a male dominated craft. My method of deduction then was: Plumbing you get wet, Electrical you get shock. Plumbing it is. The journey to become an awesome Plumber wasn’t a one way journey. I was a housekeeper, babysitter and nanny on my destination to becoming a Union Plumber.” –Judaline Cassidy of @tools_n_tiaras
“What fuels my passion is the heart, pride, and love of Trades. I want people to respect Trade workers and the structures we have been building for centuries. We need more skilled craft workers because there’s a shortage, and I want people to know it is a great option without any college debt, and you get paid while you learn.” -Union Plumber Judaline Cassidy of @tools_n_tiaras
“I wasn’t always confident, and I must admit I struggle with it sometimes. My confidence comes from the fact that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have a super power: Plumbing. Everyone needs a Plumber. Choosing to be a Tradeswomen is in itself a confident and daring action, so why not own it?” –Judaline Cassidy
Check out Tools and Tiaras to see how you can get involved: http://www.toolsandtiaras.org.
Crafted in Carhartt is a blog that whole-heartedly supports women in the jobs that bring them joy fulfillment. It’s such a thrill to see ladies killing it in a male-dominated field. Unfortunately, gender bias in the workplace is still very real today. As Sara Morris, co-owner of Mello Velo Bike Shop and Cafe, says,
“People pretty much always assume I know nothing about bikes. Now with the cafe, people always assume that I run the cafe, and Steve runs the bike shop since we’re husband and wife, and because that’s what gender roles would dictate. In reality, we both do everything.
I never really experienced sexism until I opened up my own shop (which I guess is pretty good that it took that long, but sad also)! People don’t expect me to be able to carry a bike up the stairs, or lift it up into a rack or stand, or be able to do anything mechanical let alone ride a bike while wearing a skirt or heels (on the rare occasions I do). It used to really bother me, but now I’m just more comfortable being myself, and being confident in my knowledge, skills, and competency — I chalk it up to maturity and growing up. It’s nice that the guys I work with notice the sexist remarks I can get and always have my back.”
I like the idea that your own competency and confidence can triumph over others who, whether knowingly or not, try to make you feel small or less qualified. Five years into owning her own business, Sara has learned a great deal about herself and the trade. She gets to be creative in every aspect of her job and she wears many hats. From selling and fixing bikes, to baking and serving the locals delicious treats, to helping spread bike culture in the city of Syracuse as a healthy way of life and a booster to the environment— Sara gets to feel good and proud at the end of a long work day.
Sara’s advice for folks hoping to follow a similar path and open a bike shop:
“A lot of bike shops open with at least $200k start-up capital, and dig themselves into a hole right out of the gate. Also, they’re paying people because they don’t know how to fix bikes themselves. If you want to start small, make sure to do your research, and stay true to your instincts. Be prepared to do it all and work a lot when you’re getting started. You don’t have to be ‘old’ or independently wealthy to start a business, just be smart.”
Sara is wearing:
Carhartt Women’s Force Performance T-Shirt, Clarksburg Quarter-Zip Sweatshirt, & Series 1889 Slim Double-Front Dungaree.
With all the yard makeover shows and reality TV programs portraying outdoor spaces magically transformed overnight, it’s easy to be fooled into thinking that landscaping is a quick and simple process. Don’t be misled, it’s a tough job. Ellen Suarez of Global Landscape in Syracuse, NY can attest to that first hand. She’s been in the business for 16 years.
If you’re the type that avoids working in a cubicle at all costs, this vocation may be right up your alley. You’re in for a fine dusting of dirt all over, saws buzzing the background, the smell of freshly cut grass, engulfed in the peacefulness of nature. Each day engaged hand in hand with the environment, you create a work of art that’s both practical and enticing.
Ellen’s advice to anyone hoping to break into the landscaping business is:
“Don’t take yourself too seriously! Enjoy every moment, even the tough ones. Drink lots of water and eat your veggies!”
Ellen’s wearing: Carhartt Women’s Amoret Vest, Belton Shirt, & 1889 Slim Double-Front Dungaree.
When I pack for a trip, I make sure bring along things that can be used more than once. That goes for clothing and my other road trip hacks. I also take length of the trip into consideration. For a 3 day trip to a cold destination, I bring along 1 pair of pants, a shirt per day, 1 belt, a heavy outerwear piece, and a lighter sweater for layering. If I were planning on a 6 day trip, I would simply double everything but the belt and the heavy outerwear.
I usually pick out my pants first. It helps to choose a pair that goes with everything. Series 1889 Slim Double-Front Dungarees are my go to on a work trip. Then I pick out my heavy outerwear. It seemed fitting to bring along my Gallatin Jacket. It’s covered in pockets, which can be pretty useful when traveling.
Once you’ve decided on your base of pants and jacket, you’re set to mix and match the rest of your clothes. For my lighter outerwear, I went with a Clarksburg Quarter-Zip Sweater. It’s comfy, cozy, a great outerwear piece on warmer days. For shirts, I try to bring along very different styles so I won’t get bored with my options. I went with the Hayward Henley, the Minot Shirt, and the Hamilton Flannel Shirt II. The Logo Loop Belt is one of my favorites and I packed it all in my Legacy Gear Bag. That bag is the best. It’s big enough without being too big. You can fit everything you really need in it, but not enough that you’re unable to carry it easily.
Always aim to pack smart and light. You’ll be glad you did in the long run. Now I’m ready for to spend a few days in Syracuse. Here we go! Follow along in the next few weeks and see what I discovered in the great state of New York.
Eating organic foods and shopping locally is good for body and soul. Red Oak Farm in Stuyvesant, NY is a certified organic farm, not too far from Albany. Courtney, her husband, and another couple work together running the farm. It’s so great to see families partner up to take care of land and produce. Courtney has always dreamed of owning her own bit of earth and farming. I can see why. We took a leisurely walk down the lane to some of their back property. It’s the kind of land you dream about.
Read more about Red Oak Farm here. They sell their goods at local farmer’s markets and offer different teas and herbs.