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My Trade Story – Nicole Cox The Builder’s Wife

My Trade Story – Nicole Cox The Builder’s Wife

While I don’t have a trade story as such, like we previously shared from Rebecca Senyard, Bec Sparky or Amelia Lee, I still do have a story to tell as to how I became a business manager for our construction company Fernbrooke Homes.

My Trade Story – Nicole Cox The Builder’s Wife

My trade story the builders wife

My story began in late 2009, when while working in Pharmacy, my chosen career for over 13 years, my partner at the time (now The Builder) asked me to assist with the paperwork for the company he shared with his father. I was rather excited to help out, as though I was new to the building side of construction, I had grown up with a plasterer as a Father, and had always fantasized about helping him out with his business.

At first I thought it was a completely different industry to the one I was working in day to day. However as my role began to develop from simple data entry to occasionally dealing with clients, I had the realisation that in fact building was very similar indeed to my role in pharmacy. In pharmacy I was managing teams of staff, working with customers and negotiating with suppliers and wholesalers. We relied heavily on repeat business, so communication was the key to our success. Over time my pharmacy role developed so that I was managing the buying for 13 pharmacies, I got to dabble a little into managing a sales campaign and was working very closely with company reps and staff from all 13 pharmacies, while having to communicate with the owners of the businesses as well. This is where I learned nearly all of my skills.

In 2011 The Builder and I decided that we would give running a company of our own a chance and the now version of Fernbrooke Homes was born. At this point I was working more closely with Adam trying to learn the scope of a construction job and how the process flows. I was on site a lot, and this was met in the beginning with much hostility. We had a large trade base of older men who thought that women should be not on site. It took a little while, but we weeded out those men, and sent them on their way. In their place we built a stronger, supportive and dedicated team of sub-contractors who were as happy to answer to me, a joint director of the business, as they were to The Builder.

One of the biggest struggles I have found is finding my feet in the business. Because I had no formal training as such, I had to carve out my role. As our business has grown, my role has continued to change, while I still am responsible for data entry, I have now begun to work side by side with The Builder to actually manage the jobs as well as the business. At the moment, I can be found most days either in the office or on site checking the job for safety compliance or progression of our trades. I manage the booking of our tradespeople, as well as forward planning of the jobs, all while continuing to manage the business side of things, including this blog.

I feel that in the last 5 years my position has progress from simply being The Builder’s Wife to being The Builder’s equal. We stand shoulder to shoulder in what we do, and I wouldn’t change a thing! I love the construction industry, especially at the moment as it is beginning to make some dramatic changes in the way in which it looks at women in traditionally male held roles.

There is plenty of opportunity in building, for a wife or partner to be as involved as you wish. When making the decision to join the family business I knew that I would do so giving it everything I had. I love jumping in feet first and feeling my way around. I have learnt so much in my short period, and have found so many challenges to overcome, I love it!

Did you ever fall into a role that you love? What is your dream job?

Nicole xxx

11 Comments 3560 Views

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  1. Loved reading your story! Isn’t it amazing how the skills we learn in one job can then translate for another. I say this to my children, skills learnt from here and there will one day add up to a whole picture, you mightn’t yet know what you’re working towards but one day you’ll see.

    I’m just baffled by this whole hostility to women on the building site, what is the issue? why?
    My s-i-l and her husband run their own business, Harborside Homes way d own south, and now three of their children work with them. I guess I’m just used to women working alongside and don’t see the issue.

    Just love how your passion for the building industry comes shining through ?

    1. Thank you Erin, I do absolutely love what I do. It’s been a steep and often challenging learning curve, but the rewards are tremendous!

  2. I loved reading your story and to see how your role has grown into the one you have today – should we rename the blog “The Builder’s Equal”?! I think what you’ve achieved is amazing and how wonderful that you’re doing something that you love! Living and working the dream!

    1. Ha ha ha Sammie, that’s cool. ? And you are right, I am most certainly living and working the dream. xxx

  3. Love this Nicole. The Builder’s Equal! Too right you are. Without paperwork, there is no business. Even though I knew part of your story, it was great to read again. I think your story is one that needs to be shared to show other women the vast opportunities working in construction. x

    1. Adding the project management to my skills has been my favourite part so far. People are people, no matter the industry or the situation, I’ve been blessed with great teachers and awesome opportunites. xx

  4. I third that, the builders equal! Love it.
    I think you have a wonderful job, creating and building dream homes for people, it’s such a great experience more women should be doing it. X

  5. […] Saturday I shared my trade story of how I came to hold the position in our company that I do. I really just fell into construction, […]

  6. Your story sounds so familiar to me! A Tradies Wife – self taught myself the construction industry and now living and breathing in it! If you want another lady to feature, I would love to share my story! xx

  7. Inspiring post. I like how you landed and love construction industry, especially that you are a woman. Thanks for sharing your story with your avid readers!

  8. […] different to what you might imagine, though it is certainly similar to other small businesses that cease trading for the Christmas break. In years gone by, we have had years where it was bliss and other years […]

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