TradeTools heiress smashing stereotypes

 

Should Mattel ever have a notion to release a new "Builder Barbie", Rachel Ford could be the prototype.

With her long blonde hair and model proportions, she doesn't look like your average DIY enthusiast, but she's more skilled than most, and that includes her fiance, Travis Telser.

The 26-year-old is fast making her mark in Queensland's tool industry as marketing manager of her father's company, TradeTools.

Rachel Ford is a fashion-savvy Instagram influencer and the marketing manager of her father's company, Trade Tools. Photo: Russell Shakespeare
Rachel Ford is a fashion-savvy Instagram influencer and the marketing manager of her father's company, Trade Tools. Photo: Russell Shakespeare

And while she enjoys wearing makeup and dresses, she says she's just as happy in work boots and a hi-vis vest.

"I'm very adaptable. If I need to be hands-on doing a tool demo, then I'm in my tradie gear, but the next minute, I could be at a business networking event in heels and red lipstick - it's the best of both worlds," she laughs.

"People under estimate what I can do with power tools because I look like a girly girl. They shouldn't be fooled by appearances."

Not a tomboy either, but "something in between", Rachel says she was always destined to work in the tool industry.

When she was born, TradeTools - founded by her dad, Greg Ford - was only four years old, so she grew up with the business, eventually getting a part-time job filling oil bottles at the age of seven.

 

Rachel’s father Greg Ford was a ten pound pom who built one of the largest tool businesses in Queensland. Picture: Luke Marsden.
Rachel’s father Greg Ford was a ten pound pom who built one of the largest tool businesses in Queensland. Picture: Luke Marsden.

After high school, Rachel studied a diploma of graphic design at CATC Design School but never really felt comfortable until she returned to TradeTools, first as a part-time receptionist and then full-time when the company launched its marketing department three years ago.

"I couldn't help myself," she says.

"It's a company with so much potential, and it's so great to be able to work with dad again and keep things in the family. We're both very stubborn so we've had some clashes over the years, but we do get along really well."

With no brothers or sisters waiting in the wings, Rachel, of Morningside, is the heir to the TradeTools empire.

She also has a thriving Instagram account, @rachelsuzannahford, with 11,000 followers, many of whom are tradies, which reveals her love of fashion.

 

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Game. Set. Match 🎾

A post shared by Rachel Suzannah Ford 👋 (@rachelsuzannahford) on

 

Rachel says she is keen to use her social media profile to break down the stereotype that manual labour is just "for the boys".

As well as writing tool reviews from her own test runs, every second week Rachel heads into TradeTools' Capalaba store (one of 18 across Queensland), where she works as a sales assistant.

"I'm very confident and capable in this male-dominated industry," she says.

"Of course there are times when men bypass me at the store to speak to a male member of staff, but they actually do it without thinking and have all apologised to me for it.

"At home I'm the one who does all the DIY too. Travis is in the fitness industry so he leaves the power tools for me. I'm more than happy with that."



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