From the Field: Truewerk Ambassador Program
Want a peek into what it’s like to be a part of our ambassador program here at Truewerk? Meet Josh Ferguson, Kurt Stenberg and Ken Ballin -- three skilled trade professionals in different industries (woodworker, arborist and tiler) that love reppin’ our brand as social media influencers. Check out our Q&As to gain insight about what it’s like to be a content creator for Truewerk. Maybe you or someone you know might want to join the Truewerk Ambassador fam, too.
What trade are you in?
Josh Ferguson: My day job is a Sr. Project Manager for a solar developer and by night I’m a woodworker. I’ve been in the renewable industry for 18 years and have been a life-long tinkerer. That has ultimately led to my passion for crafting things out of wood.
Kurt Stenberg: Arboriculture 2 years. “Arborist” “Landscape Horticulturist” “Permaculture Designer” Owner Operator.
Ken Ballin: I'm a Tilesetter/Floorlayer for 12 years now.
What made you pursue working in the trades?
JF: I grew up in a family of tradesmen. So it wasn’t really an option to deviate! Which, I’m very happy about.
KS: Past history as a firefighter EMT. Needed a new career due to mental health PTSD. Decided to work for myself. Be outdoors. Interested in Horticulture. Climbing trees looked fun.
KB: I've always enjoyed working with my hands and have always been into art. My grandfather put tools in my hands from a young age and we did everything from building pinewood derbies to painting to working on the house.
What is your favorite thing about your trade?
JF: I love the process. I love taking someone’s ideas, planning the build, and bringing that idea to life. Being solutions oriented has been an angle I’ve always always gravitated towards. Challenges are merely opportunities to find solutions.
KS: The tree health side. Helping people understand and recognize how to properly care for their trees and garden without inorganic materials and herbicides etc. Also being able to work alone or for myself. You get out of it what you put in.
KB: My favorite thing about the trade is knowing that something that I made/built/installed is being a part of a family's life for many years to come.
Why did you decide to join our Ambassador Program?
JF: I wanted to be part of a program that had like-minded individuals, that weren’t necessarily in my trade of choice.
KS: I mentored under Johnny Korthuis. He told me about you. I loved the gear and how it was made for athletic style durable environments. Industrial Athlete clothing spoke to me.
KB: I had reached out initially after becoming frustrated with another workwear manufacturer because I was looking for something comfortable that would hold up to my day-to-day abuse.
What’s your favorite part of being a Truewerk Ambassador?
JF: I love standing behind a brand that I feel confident about. Not only the killer gear, but the mission and the people behind the scenes.
KS: Being able to try new clothing and use it for work and casually. Yet people comment on the quality and style of clothing and I get to share my experience and enjoyment. I also enjoy giving feedback and being a part of the “team” in the field offering insight after trying new gear.
KB: I enjoy seeing the new apparel as well as modifications to the existing line as it's updated.
What’s your favorite kind of content to create?
JF: I enjoy making quick, fun videos that don’t suck up too much of people’s time. Ones that show accomplishments as well as failures. Ones where people can learn how-to, as well as learn that not every job is a home run. It’s all a learning process and an attempt to become more efficient. It’s not about being perfect.
KS: Photography. Action stuff while working. For example in the canopy of a tree roped in.
KB: The best content is organic and taken on actual job sites. Pictures, videos, it's all great for brand building and I enjoy sharing the things I like with others.
What’s your favorite piece of Truewerk gear?
JF: Hands down the T2 WerkPants. They’re so comfortable and versatile. From working in the shop, to out in the field. They’ve also become my top choice for hiking!
KS: Work hoodie! And pants. And... almost everything equally.
KB: My favorite line is the T-series pants and shorts. Being a tile setter and working with levelor and thinset regularly it's nice to be able to wipe my pants off with a sponge and stay soaking wet for the rest of the day.
What’s the most difficult part of being our Ambassador?
JF: There really isn’t anything difficult. It’s only going to be difficult for people that don’t love what they do, or love the company they’re working with.
KS: Nothing is difficult but wondering if I’m providing any value or having to feel obligated to post something can be challenging because it is difficult to get photos of myself organically. Or difficult when you are tired in the field and want to finish without stopping to get photos etc.
KB: I don't think anything is necessarily difficult. I'm always concerned that I'm not making content as well other ambassadors.
How is being a Truewerk Ambassador different than being an ambassador for other brands?
JF: I’ve worked with other brands that I haven’t totally loved. That’s the difficult part. As you grow, you tend to try different avenues. What I’ve found is, if it’s not a fit, then it’s going to be a struggle. That’s not fair to you, nor the brand.
KS: So far it’s very similar. Trading product for casual posts. The best relationships i have are with companies like Jobber that stay in touch with me regularly and include me in a variety of content they also share. Entrepreneurial advice or speaking at events or other value added things they offer. The companies I don’t hear from or that don’t re-post or engage with the posts I do put up, get lost in the noise and I put less effort into keeping anything going.
KB: I feel like Truewerk makes a consistent effort to take feedback and implement adjustments as well as promoting their ambassadors on social media as well. Mutual promotion is important to the relationship.
What’s it like to be an influencer within the trade community?
JF: It’s a bit different than other communities I would imagine because it comes easy. It doesn’t feel like I’m “selling” anything. I’m promoting something that is functional. I get to do what I enjoy and get to look good while doing it!
KS: I love it! I love photography and sharing my experiences with others so it’s perfect. Being into Instagram and photography is perfect for the relationship.
KB: It makes me feel like I'm helping other tradespeople see what's possible. Building each other up is important especially now.
Is it worth it to be an ambassador? What would you say to someone who is considering joining the Truewerk Ambassador Family?
JF: It’s worth it if you want it to be. It really is up to you to make it what you want. My personal opinion is that Truewerk has been a huge supporter of my work and growth over the last few years. The people behind the scenes are awesome and the gear more than exceeds my expectations. The gear is just a side benefit though... the main experience is getting to be part of the Truewerk family.
KS: I think it’s worth it if both sides are invested. It’s likely easy to find a variety of new people to trade products for free posts -- but for better content, real feedback, or consistency etc., I think it’s better to have a relationship. People need to see something a few times before they consider or remember where they heard about Truewerk. This is where longer term relationships help.
I also really appreciate check-ins or brainstorming posts together over the phone. I stay more motivated when there is a plan.
If companies want consistent, quality posts, it’s worth it to have an agreement in place. But if there is an agreement I think there should be some type of compensation. Spending time on IG or answering followers questions and comments or just maintaining my own page takes a lot of time. Time that becomes very valuable especially in the busy months. As a company, I would want to stand out amongst other companies trying to do the same thing. I’m always happy to share my experience with other companies for comparison, etc.
KB: I think it's a worthwhile experience. I would say to post honest organic content and don't force it. The best content doesn't have to be over thought or planned out.
How can our readers check you out?
JF: https://www.fergusonwoodcraft.com // @fergusonwoodcraft // Facebook
KS: www.cochranetreecare.com // @cochranetreecare // @kurtthearborist // YouTube
KB: http://www.skyrofloors.com // @skyrofloors // Facebook // TikTok
Think you might be a good fit for our Ambassador program or know someone that is? Head here for more information on qualifications and how to apply.
Reimagining Entrepreneurship - Small Business Month