A Disservice To Focus On Women?


2023 Woman’s Issue Now Available

Jade Moldae

The 2023 Woman’s Issue is now available — marking the fifth time Shooting Industry has presented this reader favorite. When the first one was published in 2019, we had the aim of using the issue to help dealers “equip, empower, educate and expand sales to women.”

This year’s edition was no different, but with women routinely being recognized as the industry’s “fastest-growing segment” for some time, we asked female-owned businesses to share whether or not focusing “too” much on women could result in negative impressions.

Jacquelyn Clark, co-owner of Bristlecone Shooting in Lakewood, Colo., didn’t seem to think this approach caused much harm.

“Is the industry doing a disservice to women by focusing too much on encouraging dealers to welcome them? I don’t see any negative in that. If the fastest-growing segment was a different demographic, I’d expect the industry to put the same effort into communicating this and encouraging dealers to welcome said demographic,” she stated.

Clark did contend, though, there’s a right and wrong way to approach prospective female customers.

“I do think the encouragement needs to be done in the right way and with the right message, though,” she added. “Encouraging dealers to buy lots of pink and purple guns because ‘that’s what all women like’ and they represent the fastest-growing segment doesn’t work.”

In a similar vein, Heather Carpenter, owner/office manager of Generational Guns in Bondurant, Iowa, highlighted education and experience are key to welcoming women well.

“I don’t think it’s a disservice to women as a whole, but there is a line where it could be too much,” she replied. “However, it’s great to welcome women into this industry! What I’ve seen over the years is a lot of women who are unsure of the industry because of the unknown and the stereotypes that follow it. A lot of the time, with education and experience, women love the industry just as much as men. First-time intimidation is a big factor too.”

At Generational Guns, Carpenter has made it a priority for staff to recognize differences and maintain a welcoming presence.

“As things are changing, the industry is still mostly a man’s world. For a woman stepping into it and unsure of everything around her, it’s very intimidating. In our store, our team is trained to understand this and be cognitive of it. It’s important for our team to recognize this, but treat them as equals. Our goal is to make people feel at ease, understand there are no stupid questions, share our expertise with them and have fun while doing it — whether they’re a woman or a man.”

It’s certainly encouraging to see more and more stores making a concerted effort to make guests feel welcome, even if there are differences. The more our industry can break down negative stereotypes, the better.

If your brand or client(s) is supporting storefront dealers with new programs, we want to hear about it! Drop me a line anytime: jade.moldae@fmghq.com.

Switch To A Zone

In closing, I have some fun family news to share: My wife and I welcomed our daughter, Addilyn Grace, on the very memorable day of 2-3-23. Pink, bows and dresses represent a whole new world for us — Jackson (4) and Hudson (2) are proud (i.e., very involved) older brothers and it’s been surprising to already see a “softer” side to them having a baby sister.

The switch from a man-to-man defense to a zone has gone mostly well — other than the occasional near-miss with toys being thrown around in her close vicinity — we know it’ll be a whole new ball game when she’s no longer stationary in a few months. I’m already considering investing in Dads Against Daughters Dating …

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