By Ashley McGee
Alexo Athletica is a promising newcomer in the CCW women’s segment. “Our company set out to develop
the most functional, fashionable active wear on the market,” said Amy Robbins, CEO and co-founder.
Major manufacturers are doing more to accommodate female shooters and hunters than ever before, but many are still missing the mark. The majority of products on the market for women are simply modified versions of those made for men or only distinguished by aesthetic design features like color. Want to increase your female customer base and retain what you already have? Consider carrying products made by women, for women. From firearms themselves to apparel and accessories, there are great brands to consider in every category. Here are just a few:
Firearms By Design
Although there are certainly firearms on the market catering to women, there is currently only one manufacturer making shotguns specifically for women — Syren USA.
When Syren debuted in 2014, it didn’t take long for Green Top Sporting Goods to make the decision to become a dealer.
“Our gun buyer saw a need for the serious female shooter,” said Blaine Altaffer, CEO of the Virginia-based retailer. “Not something that had been modified, but something truly designed from the start with women in mind.”
A female management team leads Syren, a division of Caesar Guerini and FABARM, and its pro-staff is comprised solely of women. This firsthand knowledge of what women truly want allows them to offer the ideal field, sporting and trap guns for a highly valuable, often underserved market.
“Women make up roughly 30–40 percent of our overall customer base,” Altaffer informed. “We want them to feel like Green Top is their store, too; not just their husband’s, father’s or brother’s.”
Green Top is able to carry a diverse and comprehensive product selection in its 70,000 square feet of retail space. The store currently stocks the Syren L4S Sporting O/U in 28-inch and 30-inch lengths, and the XLR5 Waterfowler. Other Syren models can be ordered upon request.
The firearms are not modified versions of the Italian group’s existing shotguns. Instead, Syrens feature a smaller grip, shorter length of pull and adjusted cast and pitch which provide reduced recoil and make for an easy-to-handle firearm.
To aid in the purchasing process, the store also employees a female gun sales associate — something you don’t often see, especially at big-box sporting goods stores.
“Some women, certainly not all, may find the gun buying process less intimidating when the person behind the counter shares the same perspective and can relate to their needs,” said Altaffer.
In addition to Syren shotguns, Green Top Sporting Goods also carries other product lines for women including concealed carry handbags by Gun Tote’n Mamas, hunting apparel by Banded and tactical clothing by 5.11.
Concealed Carry Innovation
While training for a marathon, Amy Robbins found another hole in the firearms market for women: lifestyle active wear that could accommodate personal defense tools including handguns. At the time, she was also hosting NRATV’s “NOIR” and Pursuit Channel’s “GUNTV” which furthered her passion for firearms and empowering women to take control of their own personal safety.
In October 2017, she launched Alexo Athletica, a complete active lifestyle clothing line focusing on performance and functionality allowing women to carry all of their daily essentials including self-defense tools.
“Our company set out to develop the most functional, fashionable active wear on the market,” said Robbins, CEO and co-founder. “One that one could easily transition from workout to weekend wear without missing a beat.”
One of Alexo Athletica’s bestsellers — the Signature Pant — is a high-waist legging featuring nine pockets for individual storage.
“There are three specific places to store a firearm if the woman chooses to do so with locations in a right appendix position as well as left- and right-kidney carry positions,” said Robbins. “We have a very unique, patent pending double pocket design system that allows for an option of a hard trigger guard by simply placing a credit, ID or CCW card in the front pocket in front of the holster.”
The pockets can also be used to carry a knife, pepper spray, stun gun or other self-defense tool. “Alexo means to defend and to help,” said Robbins. “We know not all women have the ability to carry firearms or even want to, so we created our line with functionality in mind to fit all lifestyles and all choices.”
Although Alexo is currently only sold direct-to-consumer, Robbins encourages retailers to carry products made specifically for women. “As retailers start to see a demand in functional products from women across the country, their business’s growth will depend on the ability to meet that demand or not,” she said.
OffHand Gear NORB Kryptek
Focus On Apparel
Women are one of the fastest growing demographics of hunters, making hunting apparel a smart choice to stock for businesses wanting to better serve their female customers.
Celebrating its 10th year in business, Próis hunting apparel is designed specifically for women hunters who want to be comfortable, yet fashionable at the same time outdoors.
“As we evolved, we started adding more options to the lineup to include more types of hunting like upland, high alpine, etc.,” said Kirstie Pike, founder and CEO.
What makes Próis even more unique is their focus on layering to get the best base layer, core insulator and shell for whatever hunting a woman is planning.
“We developed an entirely new layering system including merino wool, performance lightweight options, down options, wind/waterproof options and new rain gear,” said Pike.
New for 2018, Próis will offer their entire assortment in the new Cumbre pattern. Through a partnership with Veil Camo, Cumbre was designed after years of R&D concerning the connection between camouflage science, animal vision research and mathematical concepts found in the form and chaos of the natural world.
“Women are doing their research and demanding products made for them,” Pike shared. “This does not mean products that are merely scaled down men’s products.”
As a retailer, your product offerings should reflect that.
Regardless of her reason for using a firearm — hunting, self-defense, competitive shooting or just a hobby — every woman is bound to spend her fair share of time at the gun range.
When Sandi Keller’s husband took her to the range she was hooked, but her excitement turned to frustration when she couldn’t find a range bag to suit her needs. Making it her personal mission to change the women’s apparel and firearm accessories landscape, Keller started OffHand Gear in 2012.
One of the company’s most popular items — No Ordinary Range Bag (NORB) — negates the need for women to carry both a traditional handbag and a range bag. According to the OffHand Gear website, the NORB stays slim while having room for a large wallet, makeup, hair ties, cell phone and everything you need for the range including pistols, magazines, ammunition, eye protection, ear protection and even a cleaning kit. The bag is offered in a compact version, as well as a variety of fabric options.
“With all of our products, the focus is first on improving the function from a woman’s perspective and then adding the style they like to see,” said Keller. “A lot of the brands before us would just throw some pink camo at the same old designs and call it a woman’s product. But the problem wasn’t with the fabric choice; it was in the core of the design.”
Over the last six years, OffHand Gear has added a rifle bag, No Ordinary Range Mat, MSR handguards and other accessories.
“Just recently the handguards have edged out slightly in front of the range bag in regard to sales and popularity,” said Keller. “They have helped take the intimidation factor away from the MSR platform for many women.”
For retailers interested in carrying their products, OffHand Gear offers a dealer discount program. “Women are a very diverse market of gun owners ranging from stay-at-home moms, professional business women, country girls, city girls and everything in between,” Keller said. “We’re built different than men and our lifestyles are so varied products really need to take that into account.”