Bathware Direct: Proud to Platform Females in Plumbing

Our team at Bathware Direct are (would you believe it!) passionate about more than just a statement tap or bathroom vanity. Alongside industry leaders, we’re doing our best to pave a path for females in renovation, interiors and more recently, in the world of plumbing. 

Last Thursday, we were the proud hosts of an event dedicated entirely to spotlighting females and their place within Australia’s ever-growing plumbing industry. At our local Abbotsford showroom, we had the pleasure of listening to Kimberley Smyth from Hey Sista Plumbing, who walked us back to the beginning of her career. 

Kimberley Smyth from Hey Sista Plumbing.
No story of triumph comes without its fair share of resistance. Smyth’s is no exception. The good news? She’s one relentless and resilient character. Even friends and family had advised Smyth to abandon her plumbing ambitions. Looking back, it’s difficult to place blame on her network. Based on gender ratios in the industry, you can only imagine the kind place they were coming from: there was simply little proof of females succeeding in the space. 

Come the age of 30, Smyth was determined to change that. She’d long set aside her career aspirations, instead balancing night shifts at The Age with mothering four children. Aware that it may become too late to try, Smyth announced to her husband [also a plumber] her bold new plan to begin a new career in plumbing.

Years down the track, the two still work together but not exactly as you might expect. Once following the footsteps of her husband, today, Smyth brings in 70% of her household’s income and work. Her husband caters to the remaining 30%, supporting Smyth’s every stride and assisting with shared jobs.

Smyth’s story was one that touched every female in the audience of our latest event. It wasn’t only Smyth’s tenacity that served as great inspiration. It was the recognition that traits commonly held by females (including attentiveness, the quality of being highly personable and pleasant to interact with) could actually prove extremely valuable in the industry. 

Within the luxury market especially, there appears to be an inherent trust associated with female plumbers. This stems from the belief they’ll conduct a thorough and comprehensive job, much the way they would for their own families. 

That’s not all. Female clients tend to be far more comfortable with welcoming fellow females into their homes. This is particularly true for those who have suffered from abusive relationships, and rightly so, fear a circumstance where they’re forced to be alone with the opposite sex. Having more females in the industry offers a comforting alternative, for those who value the option most. 

Following on from Smyth, our founder at Bathware Direct, Alana Stewart took to the stage to speak on her experience in the eCommerce space.

Alana Stewart (right), Founder of Bathware Direct.

For those less familiar with her career progression, Stewart found her feet in retail; a space where females often find themselves staying, based on lack of opportunity in managerial positions.

Much like Smyth, Stewart sought to break tradition, both for the sake of herself and other females aspiring to enter and excel in the industry. 

To this day, Stewart prides herself on empowering and making room for females in a male-dominant field. We’re proud at Bathware Direct to recognise and to honour the unique skill-set that females can bring to the industry. We’re eager to dispute the myth that there’s only space for one female, and that there’s a need to stand against one another in order to reach the top.

The truth is, there’s room for us all. Rather than pushing other females down, what we really ought to do is lift one another up. In every instance, we are stronger when we work together. We are more effective when we embrace our differences. Better yet, when we refuse to see these as reasons we shouldn’t be successful in our careers... but as reasons we should and can be!

Founder of Bathware Direct, Alana Stewart, left attendees with an important message to conclude our Female in Plumbing showcase. It’s one that we’d like to echo over and over again. 

“Some females might have home lives that preclude them from working regular hours. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a set of skills that can’t help boost our businesses and equally, their own career progression. 

If you’re in a position to hire other women, I urge you to think outside the box. How can a role be structured to see that more women reach executive positions? Let’s not attempt to replicate a male’s path. Let’s create one that appreciates the unique attributes and responsibilities of the female. Her potential role as a mother included.”

(from left): Kimberley from Hey Sista Plumbing, Suzi from Mrs Plumber Mumma and Breanna from Vixen Plumbing.