Featured, Tradie Profile

Tradie lady, businesswoman and mum: Aimee talks shop

Zadie Workwear

Imagine starting not one, but two businesses, being a lady tradie in a bloke’s world, wading through sewage, and raising a kid. Well, Aimee Stanton has done all that and more.

Aimee admitted she could be quite stubborn. Many decisions in her life have come after someone has dared to say she can’t be or do something.

“I remember someone saying ‘women can’t be tradies’,” she said.

“I’m pretty stubborn so I chirped up and said ‘yes they can’ so I went and did my pre-apprenticeship before applying for like 120 jobs.”


That moment launched Aimee’s career in the trades, but it was the start of something much more.

The Magnum formula

When it came to figuring out what trade Aimee wanted to train in, a particular childhood memory led the decision making.

Aimee’s dad – Peter is a builder, and when she was young he used to take her around on work trips.

Images: supplied by Aimee Stanton

When they stopped at the tuck shop, Peter jokingly told Aimee that Magnums were off-limits for mere builders, who could apparently only afford Frosty Fruits.

Magnums, you see, were reserved for plumbers.

“What’s this plumber gig? It sounds like a good gig,” Aimee said.

“Of course, you have to deal with excrement and stuff, but I could have all the Magnums in the world.”

Plumbing can draw plenty of toilet-oriented stereotypes, but Aimee quickly learned there was much more to it.

“I didn’t realise all the avenues there were in plumbing – I thought it was just changing people’s toilets over,” she said.

“But I started off in roof plumbing then moved into mechanical plumbing such as industrial high-rise aircons.

“All my friends still think I’m handling poo, but I’m not often touching poo.

“I didn’t change a toilet until about five years ago – there’s so many types of plumbing and that’s why I like it.”

Wading through waste

Aimee’s journey to where she is today wouldn’t be complete without a trial by fire.

However, her first week on the job may arguably be the worst ever.

“I had the worst first week you could have,” Aimee said.

“I got my head stuck in a scaffold, I crashed my car through the jobsite fence, I sat on a piece of metal stuck in my butt which had to be removed, then I fell on a guy through a roof while he was eating a sandwich.

“After that week, I thought maybe I couldn’t be a tradie.”

But she persevered, and eventually completed her apprenticeship in plumbing. Aimee was swimming in Magnums. A qualified plumber’s life had her living quite well. Something was missing though.

From little things…

“I was 21 with a house and a mortgage with a new car, but I was unhappy,” Aimee said.

“I thought ‘nah’ there’s gotta be more. So I sold everything, broke up with the partner at the time, I got a pet pig called Constable Crackles because I could.

“It looked like I was living the life, but then I decided I wanted to live the life for the experiences and not the materialistic stuff.”

So Aimee went on a journey of self-discovery across Australia, doing all kinds of gigs including appearing on reality TV. Aimee and her brother – who had also quit his accounting job – decided to hop aboard the tiny home craze with Tiny Stays.

“We bought a trailer – no plans – we just started building one from the ground up,” she said.

“Then we rented some land off farmers and put it on Airbnb and it went really well.

“We build them, rent land in beautiful locations and rent them out.”

Try-on haul

Workwear for women in trades is a struggle many experience when trying to get into the industry. It’s something Aimee is all too familiar with, and again she saw a challenge to rise to.

“The more I went to women in trade events, the more I was told women weren’t happy with their workwear,” she said.

“Throughout my 10 years on the tools, I felt the same. No one was really addressing the issue, so I thought I’d give it a crack.

“I interviewed about 2000 women in construction about what they want.”

From the thousands of respondents, Aimee had her apparel business – Zadie Workwear – up and running two years later, officially launching in late 2023.

“You obviously get treated different on site, but I don’t hold that against guys that look at you differently,” Aimee said.

“It’s more common now, but back 30 years ago you wouldn’t see a woman rock up on site in pink socks ready to give it a crack.

“The one thing I did want was to be comfortable in my clothes.

“I wanted to make a workwear brand that fit the hips, butts and thighs because those were the problem for women in the industry.”

Sweet Delilah

While Aimee was venturing across Australia to prep stores for Zadie’s launch, she also had another major addition to her life along the way.

“When I found out I was pregnant, it all kind of rolled in together, travelling around Australia setting up stores with Zadie gear,” she said.

With young Delilah around, Aimee and husband (and plumber) Kayne have their hands full.

Images: supplied by Aimee Stanton

“You just make it work. I work while she sleeps, get up at ridiculous hours to work,” she said.

“The passion’s there, and the more I get feedback from women about having workwear that fits, the more I want to do it.

“I don’t need sleep, I’ll be fine.”

Aimee fits in well as a huge advocate for women in trades. A member of Empowered Women in Trades (EWIT); she’s witnessed the shift in culture as more women take up the tools.

“We didn’t have something like EWIT when we were younger – a way to see a path in the trades for women,” she said.

“To see where it’s come from in four years … what EWIT’s doing for women in construction, it’s on a completely different level.”

Aimee’s advice to women looking to get into trades? Find the passion, and you’ll find the path.

“The main thing for me being a woman rocking up – you just have to do your best to relate to everyone,” she said.

“Show your passion, and no matter what you do – just give it a crack. So far, that’s worked out really well.

“You be a quota! And you be the best damn quota you can be.”

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