Build Community Through Seminars


Smiles all around after Ava’s first seminar at DCF Guns.

Women continue to be a buying force in the industry, but the majority of our peers can’t seem to figure out how to market properly to women — and if we do, we struggle to maintain their attention.

Women are buying guns, but then what? Are they buying holsters and other accessories to aid their initial desire to have a gun? Are they taking classes so they know how to operate what they just bought or participating in shooting events to advance their skills? 

As an industry, what are we doing to retain interest and make it fun and enjoyable for them? We must get creative behind the scenes to keep ahead of the demand.

Many ranges have ladies’ night, and some stores offer women-only firearms training classes, but that’s old news. To stay on top of the game as business owners, we must constantly evolve and reinvent. Recently, I thought about what women love to do most. Call it predictable, but the majority of us love to socialize with like-minded people, eat and drink — especially when it’s wine — and we love to shop. So, I combined all three of these elements and created a women’s seminar event with the intention of building a stronger community, empowering women and igniting an interest that might have recently been dimmed.

Lessons Learned

My first women’s seminar was slightly nerve-racking because I wasn’t sure if it would be a success or not. With any new endeavor, you stress about the turnout. To get the word out, I used all the resources I had. I sent out an email to all my previous students who had taken my classes and extended the invite to all my girlfriends and requested them to extend it to theirs. Before I knew it, all 20 seats were filled. 

I didn’t charge anyone to attend this event; I wanted it to be free as an appreciation I showed to the community. This was my first, albeit minor, mistake. Twenty people signed up for the event, but only 14 people showed up. More than likely, because the event was free, nothing was lost on the attendee if she decided that day to do something else with her time.

The venue I used was DCF Guns West, where I’m a shareholder. The indoor range and gun store in Colorado Springs has a nice lounge area with a kitchen located upstairs and overlooks the entire gun store. They also have their liquor license; although I found out in Colorado this isn’t mandatory unless you plan to sell liquor to the public. If it’s a private event, you don’t need one. This might be the same for your state, but you’ll want to make sure.

The only thing I charged was $5 per glass of wine and I encouraged ladies to bring cash so I wouldn’t have to charge cards. I made a charcuterie board with meats and cheeses, put out pretzels and crackers and offered a few desserts. The expense for all of this came out of my own pocket, but I’m always looking for a good tax write-off.

Building Trust

At the first event, the seminar featured “tips and tricks” I’ve learned over the years. I started with a safety speech, going over all four rules of safe gun handling, and then discussed techniques I used to operate guns, such as the push/pull method when locking a slide back, the Maglula UpLULA to load magazines and ways to absorb the recoil better when shooting. In between, I took time to pass items around the room or have women demonstrate what I just showed them. Absolutely no live ammo was present, and another firearms instructor was there to help supervise.

I highlighted things I preferred, such as eyewear, ear pro, snap caps, red dots and holsters. As I went over these items and shared ways of using them, I could see how excited the women were getting. This seminar offered what seemed to me to be basic advice, but for women who don’t have the resource of another experienced woman showing them what works and doesn’t, this advice was gold.

Every woman who attended my event left happy, encouraged and eager to learn and do more. At the end, a lot of them asked me when the next event would be, told me they wanted to enroll in more classes and/or rushed downstairs to look over or purchase the products I discussed in the seminar.

Sponsorship Opportunities

A realtor and a restaurant owner attended that first seminar. Afterward, they offered to sponsor my next event. The realtor, Wendy Wormal of RE/MAX in Colorado Springs, offered to supply a variety of wines, and Christina Frasca, owner of P74: The Downtown Paninos, an Italian restaurant also located in Colorado Springs, offered to bring a variety of appetizers.

Curious, I asked them why they wanted to do this. For Wormal it seemed like a no-brainer.

She said, “As a realtor and woman, it’s important women are comfortable and knowledgeable with firearms in case they have to protect themselves.”

Frasca shared she really enjoyed lifting other women up and loved the idea of bringing women together with similar interests.

As I planned the next event, I mentioned it to other ladies I see on a semi-regular basis. People I thought weren’t interested in learning about firearms were interested in attending. I told them to bring their business cards so I could introduce them at the event and women could utilize their services if they wanted to.

Before I knew it, I was not only creating a seminar that educated women about firearms, but also a strong network of women who may not be firearms enthusiasts, but who know the importance of the Second Amendment and the ability to be able to protect themselves.

Moving forward, I decided to charge $15 per person for the women’s seminar. This wasn’t to make a profit, but was done more for accountability. With only 20 seats available, I wanted to make sure they were all filled and accounted for. Charging a small fee gave women more of a reason to show up even after they might have had a long day and just wanted to go home instead of attending the evening event. With this fee, one glass of wine and the food I’d provided was included.

Value Of On-Hand Inventory, Coupon Codes

Each event will have a different topic, so the women who attend every event will learn something new. I didn’t set out to make much of a profit from the first event, but if stores decide to do something similar, it would be wise to stock the items covered in the seminars. (After I showed women how the Maglula UpLULA speedloader worked, all of them wanted to purchase one.)

Working with other companies to offer discount codes is effective. For example, I talked about the Flashbang Holster at my first seminar. The ladies who own and operate the company were nice enough to give me a coupon code for the women who attended the event. I didn’t receive a kickback from the code used, but I’m sure affiliate codes could be worked out with businesses you cover in the seminar.

Similar seminars and events could be beneficial for stores and ranges. You don’t need a range or even room in your gun store. This event can be held in a conference room at a hotel or a bar/restaurant with an event room. 

You might not make a ton of money on the event, but getting your name out there, building a strong community and retaining at least part of the largest growing market in the industry will undoubtedly pay off in the future. 

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