Not many people would find inspiration for a clothing line from the burnt flats of North Queensland's gulf country.
Tess Cox was watching as the chopper overhead directed a mob of bulls between the tusiks of grass and out to the burning flat where they were destined to be caught.
The Chillagoe boys were in fluros, flat brimmed hats, and no shoes, running through the motions of their bull catching adventures when inspiration hit her.
"The clothes that you see on Ringers Western are not what we wear," she said.
Tess left school when she was just 15 to take on mustering jobs in the Gulf, but she always envisioned herself owning a business one day.
It was during that routine bull catching outing five years that she found inspiration to create her own clothing line, Tusik Flat, for people living and working on the land.
She produced her first custom order of fishing shirts, before "everyone else was doing fishing shirts" and also gained 700 orders for her first cap design.
"The worst thing was having no phone service," she said.
"It's a lot easier now because of Starlink.
"I would do things when I went back to the station and I ended up going, 'Righto, this is making more money than mustering so I will try to move to town and do something different'."
Tess traded in the remote life for acreage in town and got her real estate licence, but quickly drifted back to Tusik Flat and began horse breaking.
"I did a couple of years of horse breaking so I could get a deposit for a little block and I would be wearing the clothes every day and doing stories and getting photos," she said.
"I bought a little bock (at Townsville) and with internet being better we have now gone back to contracting."
Alongside her partner Timmy Bethel and daughter Addi-Lou Bethel, the trio returned to the north running their own cattle at Croydon and contracting in Chillagoe and Normanton.
This lifestyle means Tess still runs much of the business from isolated parts of North Queensland, but not without the help of her employee Jodie Mara based at Capella.
"I initially sent orders out myself...I was saying, 'Oh god, I can not stay in the house and send out parcels for this long'.
"Everything is stored down in Capella and Jodie sends everything out. If I am going out of service she is the second me and she can do everything I can do."
The brand has grown rapidly and now features active wear, sunglasses, fur cowboy hats and rugger shorts, just to name a few.
"I think the only thing I don't make is socks," Tess said.
"My family always said, 'How are you going to make money off of that?' and it makes more money than people with big cattle properties.
"Small business have a lot of potential to make money...but it goes up and down.
"People sit on their phones and do nothing, it's just a matter of sitting on your phone and answering emails instead of scrolling through someone else's life."
Tess is proud of her achievements but, despite having 34,000 followers on Facebook and selling out of products regularly, she still wants more for the brand.
"I'm very lucky everyone keeps coming back but it's got a lot further to go if it is anything like I imagined," she said.
"I think one thing I have learned is focus on one thing and do that well.
"The biggest thing to do is just stay relevant. Anyone can make a fishing shirt, anyone can do what we actually do with a bit of effort, but you are putting yourself into it and saying why you love it and why you do it."
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