MY “AHA” MOMENT:
As the father of a child diagnosed with autism at age 2, I began looking ahead at what kind of future our local school district might prepare him for. While describing their programs as successful, the unemployment rate for an adult with the same diagnosis was around 95%. A decade later, there had been very little change in methods or unemployment rates. We felt we could do better independently, so we chose to blaze our own path and develop a meaningful plan for Tuck’s future.

TUCK’S BIG IDEA:
In December, 2012, we launched Tuck’s Tooques (say “toox”), as a teaching/learning platform to help Tucker develop a marketable skill-set. With the help of a Nepali expedition leader, we formed a partnership with a Himalayan artisan co-op, and began importing their amazing line of handwoven Himalayan Sherpa hats. We soon realized that we had created a great platform with which to reshape society’s understanding of Autistic people, on a personal level, with each sale. In November, 2015, I resigned my career position with the federal government, and we filed our LLC in January, 2016.

WHY TUCK’S IDEA IS BETTER THAN THE REST:
Tuck’s Tooques is a ProAutism Endeavor - Socially-innovative, sustainable, Autistic-owned.
Our superior product is endorsed by one of the world’s leading polar explorers. Lonnie Dupre and One World Endeavors have selected Tuck’s Tooques as the official winter hat for their 2016 Vertical Nepal expedition. Dupre has been featured in every major media outlet across North America. He uses and endorses only the best Arctic-grade cold weather gear and clothing. Dupre’s belief in Tuck’s Tooques is so strong that he refused any compensation for endorsing our company, expressing that Tuck’s success would be his compensation. We support the livelihood of Nepali artisans as their villages recover from a devastating series of earthquakes, mudslides, and floods in 2015.

THE SKY'S THE LIMIT:
Literally. Dupre has secured governmental clearance to establish summit routes on Himalayan peaks which have never been climbed. Each expedition team-member will wear our Himalayan Headgear, so Tuck’s Tooques will literally be on the roof of the world.
In January, 2016, Tuck’s Tooques was featured by the Washington Times, Detroit News, Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader, Lansing State Journal, Mount Pleasant Morning Sun, and Midland Daily News, as well as education and disability websites The Mighty, Autism Society of America, Connections Education, Autism Alliance of Michigan, Think Freely Media. Television network affiliates have featured us in three Michigan markets, St. Louis, MO, the Tri-State Region (CT/NY/NJ) and South Florida.

In February, 2016, we are scheduled for a week of meetings and presentations with corporate leaders, policymakers, and disability advocates, in Washington, D.C.

On April 15th, we will embark on a 6-month, coast-to-coast, border-to-border sales and promotional tour, dubbed “Tuck’s Tooques on Tour.” In addition to meeting with potential retail partners and distributors, we will meet with media representatives, public opinion leaders, individuals, families, educators, clinicians, and policy-makers, who have a vested interest in improving the school-to-work transition for atypical students.

Key needs at this point are: Legal structure and appropriate protections, Logo design, and development of quality sales and investor pitches.

Location: 
Midland
Entrepreneur(s): 
Tucker Mashue and Dennis Mashue