From family farms to one-man contractors, Dirt Stories is about seeking those what embody the heart and soul of the construction, agriculture, and landscaping industries. There are inspiring stories to be told by people in each of these industries. We want to share these stories with the world. So I thought it would be fair to first share our DOZR Dirt Stories.
DOZR has been travelling around North America to speak with business owners, farmers, operators, and everyone in between. Our hope is that we can learn about the strong, passionate, hard working people who make up these industries. Then, we want to share these stories with the world.
As we’ve been kicking off the Dirt Stories series by connecting with industry people, we are often asked the same question:
What’s in it for DOZR?
While we work to release our first episode of Dirt Stories (expected January 2020!!), I wanted to take this time to share with you why DOZR is taking on the project of Dirt Stories and what it means to us. More personally, what it means to me.
You may know me as the DOZR CEO and co-founder, but DOZR is not my first business. I started my landscaping company after completing my degree in Landscape architect design. I was offered a job at another company, but turned it down to begin my own business. Even though I worked to grow my business from a one-man show into a well-known landscaping businesses in Ontario, I experienced something that I think many people in the industry can relate to.
The conversation happened many times. I’d be at an event, or networking, or meeting other business owners and the topic of university degrees would come up. Much in the same way that being a gym teacher is seen as “what you do if you couldn’t be a real teacher”, landscaping would come up as the joke degree that someone would study in the industry. “What would you study then? Landscaping?” they would say as they laughed. I could feel myself shrink. My walls would go up and I’d shut down.
My livelihood, my life, my business, and my career were seen as a joke. It was a “last resort” career that those who were capable of nothing else would “fall” to. It didn’t matter how successful my business was. The assumption is that the labour industry is something people settle into because they aren’t smart enough, savvy enough, or educated enough to get a “proper” job. Their entire image of you as a person changes based off of your career.
What’s in it for DOZR to introduce Dirt Stories into the world?
The ability to challenge the stereotypes about those in the construction, agriculture and labour industries.
We can do our best to destroy these assumptions of the public. We want to take the stories from big business owners and independent contractors, and share them with the world. We want to expose the families, entrepreneurs, moms, dads, siblings, women and men who build our feed and world in a celebration of the industry.
Every single person and company we speak to has had a unique journey in the industry. There is no single path, nor a “right” in the industry. The only similarity between each Dirt Story is the passion and heart that is found in every single person. Every individual has personal experience and insight into what the industry means to them. What makes this industry so great is that there is such a vast diversity of people, roles and businesses. Where people came from and how they got their businesses started will be a different tale for every person.
DOZR Dirt Stories
DOZR itself is an example of this; Erin (my wife), Tim (my brother) and I were talking about a problem we had with their own equipment. It sat idle for days, weeks, sometimes months at a time with no one using it. Thousands of dollars would just sit there. Making use of this idle equipment is what DOZR was born from.
Our own story is just one of thousands. If no one takes the time to ask, then it will be lost like many other origin stories have. We wanted to bring these stories back into the light. We want to ask the questions and let everyone know that there’s more to for others and ask the questions that no one else is.
The industry is made up of labourers, equipment operators, farmers, and skilled workers. But it also involved marketers, recruiters, project managers, human resources, managers, budgeting and finance, planning, and everything in between.
It’s time to challenge the stereotype about construction workers, landscapers and farmers. It’s time to highlight the people who make up this industry and the creative, skilled, technological and professional work they do every day. Many aspects of our local, national and even international economies depend upon the work of these labour industries.
Dirt Stories strives to take these stories and share them in a digestible way that will reach both those in and outside of the industry. We want to challenge the stereotypes that exist about the industry. There is plenty that both those in and out of the industry sphere can learn by hearing about the challenges, struggles, and path to success of other businesses.