When we were just tulip bulbs? Ah bad joke, when we were little we didn’t really spend much time at
the farm, our parents moved to the lake right after Stef was born. They needed the separation from family and work and their new house provided that. We grew up on the lake but suppers were still out in the field with equipment rumbling around us. Childhood memories include combine rides, tractor rides and mowing the lawn on dad’s knee. I remember loving the combine so much. A factory on wheels; I was mesmerized. Our dad always stopped the drill or equipment for animals that were in the way or might be hurt and we often got to see them up close before he released them somewhere safer. Growing up as farm kids is one of life’s greatest blessings. The adventures, the life lessons, the stronger immune systems (seriously its true), the work ethic, we could go on and on and we are so grateful. Our dad wasn’t home much when we were growing up. He was building Springland mfg with his brothers, running the farm with his brother and getting his private pilots license and then commercial one so he could also be a spray pilot. These memories of farm suppers are when we got to see him the most and that really stuck with both of us.
Both Stef and I went to post secondary school with the intent of working for Springland mfg. they manufacture grain handling equipment, specifically bin unloads, sweeps and commercial sweeps that are sold world wide. While in our programs we both worked at the farm on weekends and any time school allowed. We both fell in love with the lifestyle and the career. Stefanie pursued modelling after her diploma and had opportunities there but in the end came back to the farm. We gradually became the ground crew with Rivers Air Spray too. It worked with the farm timeline and in those early years our dad’s usual ground crew was often on call with his other plane fighting forest fires in Manitoba. So, we learned and took over, when the guys came back, we had taken their job. Our dad always has other projects that need attention so they didn’t mind. Springland was still a goal for us though and we began working as the sales team for the UTL auger line. We loved it. We both got to utilize our schooling and travelled a lot. We were constantly on the road moving augers to dealerships and selling at trade shows. The UTL was the first u trough auger and it was exciting to create the market for an innovative product our dad had created. Some of the best years we had in our careers.
Selling augers we learned very quickly that not everyone was interested in getting their information from women though. I remember one man at a trade show telling us that our husbands had bought us the farm and we were nothing more than farm wives. Wildly offensive to us and to farm wives who do unprecedented amounts of work and are the glue to many farms, our mom being one of those women. Our fiancé and boyfriend at the time didn’t and still don’t own any farm land. They have their own careers. Although this man was more aggressive than most that underlying feeling was there for many of our interactions. We often found that people expected an explanation for us being farmers, they didn’t usually accept it as a statement. When a man says he is a farmer no one questions that. This forced us to know the product line inside out and backwards. Anything we said was calculated and fully backed with knowledge and facts because if we took even a tiny misstep it often felt like it was being attributed to us being women. It’s wild how often we were made to feel small simply because of our gender. It made us fight harder to be respected. It made us want to break that stereotypes and change the conversation. Our parents never made us feel less than even though they often were asked if they wished they had a son to take over. They always answered that question with; why would we wish that when we have our girls? This isn’t an uncommon question and we want to be a part of changing that.
Stereotypes aren’t harmless. Little girls are constantly told they will not or can not keep up with the boys. Our parents never did but that didn’t mean we didn’t hear it even when we were little. It’s detrimental and we are so thankful our parents put us in the tractors and taught us to drive, gender didn’t matter to them, we were capable. Of all the messages we want to share this is the one we are most passionate about. Women can do anything; anyone can do anything. We are inspired by powerful women and we hope that we can be inspiring to those little women following in our path someday. You can do anything but it’s easier when you see someone who looks like you already doing it.
We started throwing around the idea of starting an Instagram page in 2017. Then in May 2018 we
finally committed to it. We’d read that you should post everyday if you want to grow your audience so that first year, we posted every single day. We had also read that you should pick one topic and stick with it if you want to have a successful following. That didn’t fit who we are though and we don’t believe that fits who many people are. Humans are diverse, multifaceted and we all have unique stories to tell. We wanted to incorporate our other interests in hopes that those who chose to follow us would be a broader demographic and not just other farmers. Agriculture often is represented in a negative light in media coverage. Our initial thoughts were if we incorporated editorial style fashion into our shoots it would create interest and we could also talk to those far removed from where their food comes from. We want to be a positive voice for the industry. I think we were a bit of a shock to some when we first started, maybe we still are. But things are changing. Just look at Courtenay DeHoff’s #fancyladycowgirl movement. It is exploding! Initially many people thought we were just posing with tractors but our stories are us actually doing the work. It took awhile but it slowly started gaining traction and here we are today.
We’ve had amazing conversations with multiple people, we’ve met other amazing women in male dominated careers, and we’ve grown a lot ourselves through sharing our story with our audience. We’ve met people who have grown into some of our dearest friends. We’ve inspired people and received the sweetest messages. We’ve been fortunate to work with some pretty incredible brands and this spring for the first time we will be releasing our first branded piece! It’s all pretty surreal still. We are truly humbled by the support we’ve received. This year more than ever we are thankful for The Tulepps. When everything shut down it gave us a reason to still dress up and get creative and a community that 99% of the time is incredibly supportive of us. It continues to be fun for us and that’s why we continue to tell our story. Social media can be a negative place but it can also be a place of connection, growth, learning and new friendships. It’s been an oasis this year. We hope you enjoy it too! Thanks for stopping by!
Cass and Stef