Innovation That Matters

Steel-toes and tool belts for women

Work & Lifestyle

We’ve covered products for female DIY-ers before, as well as women-only construction crews. Tomboy Trades, a Canadian start-up, is tackling yet another aspect of the male-dominated construction industry: what to wear. After leaving a corporate job at IBM, Tomboy Trades’ founder Marissa McTasney enrolled in a skilled-trades course for women, with the aim of starting her own construction company. She spotted a gap in the market on her first day of school. When she and her classmates went out to buy work boots, she was surprised to find they only came in tan and black: men’s shoes in female sizes. According to salespeople, McTasney wasn’t the only one disappointed in the limited choice of working gear for women. Not one to pass up an entrepreneurial opportunity, she found a manufacturer in China and developed steel-toe boots in pink, green, blue and red. Matching tool belts, safety glasses and hard hats soon followed, as did retail partnerships with Home Depot and Zellers, a Canadian department store. Tomboy Trades is now looking for retailers outside Canada, and also mentions that franchising plans are in the works. In a wider context, professional female construction workers and amateur handywomen are still an underserved market. Which means interesting opportunities for entrepreneurs who know how to cater to them. More on creating products and services for women in’s Female Fever briefing. Spotted by: Anthony Pangalos



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