The Inspired Unemployed: ‘Our dreams have come true’

Former high school mates Matt and Jack found success by being larrikins. Now they’re adding a signature fragrance to their brand — and it smells like team spirit.

Matt Ford and Jack Steele are feeling pumped.

When The House of Wellness catches up with the pair, they’re still oiled up after “the most epic day” shooting a spectacular ad campaign for their debut fragrance near their home of Kiama on the NSW South Coast.

Having grown up surfing the breaks near Kiama and working on nearby building sites, the fact that they have come full circle is not lost on the former tradies-cum-dynamic duo who are the frontmen of global viral sensation The Inspired Unemployed.

Since posting their first homemade video of their Aussie-style larrikinism in 2018, the pair have created an enviable brand, boasting almost 4.5 million followers across Instagram, TikTok and Facebook.

From kooky dances in the streets around home with their “motley crew of mates” as co-stars, to situational humour and sketches with celebrities such as Margot Robbie and NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, The Inspired Unemployed have taken their particular brand of Aussie fun worldwide.

That brand also includes hosting a Spotify podcast, their own beer brand – Better Beer – and a TV show on Paramount+ and Network 10, The Inspired Unemployed (Impractical) Jokers, with talks under way for a second series of the prank-style comedy show.

The Inspired Unemployed: Eu de comedy

But now, with the first day of their ad campaign shot around Shoalhaven Heads, Matt, 28, is feeling saddle sore, having started his morning naked while riding a horse bareback along the beach at sunrise.

The fact that it was his mum’s horse, Obie, just added to the absolute craziness and hilarity of the situation, according to Matt, otherwise known as Falcon.

“I’m not sure who was more nervous – Obie or me,” Matt jokes.

“Yeah, Falcon’s mum will never ride that horse again,” Jack, 29, quips.

Matt says the vision for the campaign – a satirical take on some of the most iconic fragrance ad moments – was something the boys had ideated for several years.

So when the opportunity came via Chemist Warehouse to create an actual fragrance to go with the video, they jumped at the opportunity.

The duo collaborated on all aspects of the fragrance, from its name – aptly called   – to the scent, the bottle design and, of course, the ad campaign, with scenes including everything from oiled-up bodies silhouetted by flames at sunset, to air-guitar rock star moments among the rock pools and frolicking in the waves at the water’s edge.

“With the crew, the location — it’s epic. It’s even bigger than we imagined,” Matt says.

“It is so good to be shooting around here. It is like the perfect place; it’s just so beautiful.

“The fact that it is where we grew up, it feels even more fun and special.

“It is pretty cool when you have an idea and then you film it and edit it and you are like, ‘What the hell? This was just from a conversation we had late one night’,” Jack says of the campaign.

The Inspired Unemployed: From dream to reality

But it’s all in a day’s work for the content creators who have built their career by never saying no and truly believing in themselves.

“It’s crazy, our dreams have come true,” Matt says.

“I mean, we literally played at Splendour in the Grass (Matt sings and Jack plays piano and drums) in front of 20,000 people – that was just nuts.

“I feel like we just manifested everything, we just imagined it and it just happened.”

“But we have put the hard work in,” Jack is quick to add.

“You can’t manifest and sit on the couch.

“It is a lot of work. We work triple probably what we did on the work site (Jack was a plasterer and Matt a carpenter).”

The Inspired Unemployed: A team effort

But while their work hard/play harder persona looks like a lot of fun, they admit it can be exhausting.

That’s where having your “best mate” as your business partner comes to the fore.

“In four years, I don’t reckon we’ve spent longer than a week apart,” Jack says of his housemate.

“We literally go to the gym together at 6am, work all day together and then see each other before bed.”

“Most weeks we are lucky to spend three hours apart, unless we are sleeping. It is insane,” Matt says.

“Sometimes we get worn out, but I think it’s easier because we have each other to bounce off.

“If you are getting tired someone says, ‘Oi, snap out of it’.

“Sometimes you can get a bit sooky and then you look at what you are doing.”

“Yeah, it is like anyone – you can’t give 100 per cent all the time,” Jack says.

“But even when you are on 50 per cent you realise what’s going on and go, ‘Ah man, just pep up and go for it’.

“It’s so fun. And then you make everyone else happy and they are giving good energy back and it’s like a win-win.”

How The Inspired Unemployed have grown together

Asked whether fame has changed them, the former high school buddies, who are both single, are quick to respond.

“I like to think we are the same people but we are always evolving,” Matt says.

“We live in the same town we have lived in forever, in the same share house with the same mates,” Jack says.

“We have the same values. Same everything.

“We just honestly have a bit more financial freedom to travel now.”

But while the boys share the same values and outlook on life, when it comes to business or emotions they are very different.

“At the start I thought we were very similar but I have realised we are very yin and yang – it’s what makes it work, I guess,” Matt says.

“But then our vision and our outlook are the same,” Jack says.

“At the end of the day, if you don’t have the same trajectory it’s not going to work.”

The Inspired Unemployed: Helping everyday Aussies

The Inspired Unemployed are giving back to everyday Australians, thanks to their new fragrance.

Matt Ford and Jack Steele are donating 100 per cent of the profits from their scent, Inspiré by No. Emploi, to those in need.

The boys are calling for submissions from people doing it tough for a chance to win a share of the proceeds from fragrance sales.

“There are so many deserving Australians and we can’t pick just one charity so we have decided to open up applications to everyday Australians,” Matt says.

Jack explains the pair want people to tell them why they need some financial help.

“It may be a mum who doesn’t have enough cash to buy gifts at Christmas or it may be a kid who really just wants to get a pair of Nikes for school for the new year.”

Matt says the duo are “acutely aware of how tough the economic outlook is for many in Australia right now”.

“There are a lot of people who need a bit of a helping hand but they are not necessarily the sort of people to front up to ask for help.

“We want them to know it’s OK to go through hard times and it’s OK to ask for help.”

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Written by Laeta Crawford.

Photography by Steven Chee.