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Take Off the Kid Gloves!

I've been away! Work has me busy and I got to travel to California last week for a little bit of "work" and a little bit of play, so I'm just now trying to catch up on life.  Missed y'all...

Last week I attended Specialized Bicycles annual dealer event. This is where dealers are educated on all the brand new products and ideas for the upcoming sales year. I was out 2 years ago in Utah and this year the event was held in Monterey, CA! That's a stone's throw from my birthplace and family...I HAD to go, right?! I can't not get almost giddy when surrounded by the sport that I'm passionate about along with 600 other people who have that same passion. We sit through presentations, go through the trade show and meet other dealers to talk about business trends, etc. It's a big ole bike lovin' week (with beer included) and it's heaven in my eyes. 

So after the women's product presentation, the question of whether I was offended by how women's merchandise in the cycling industry is presented and sold came up from a male shop owner. It went something like this,

Dude: "How do you feel about this women's stuff and how they sell it to you?"

H: "What do you mean?"

Dude: "I would think it's offensive to a woman. Why do they think you need to be treated with kid gloves? Pink and purple and 'women's only' clinics & rides, women's product in a separate and shorter presentation? Yes, you're women, but you aren't SO different that you can't join in with the rest of us."

H: "Well...I'd never thought of it that way. You have a point, actually."

Obviously this is his opinion and we weren't going to get into any debate over it. But I couldn't help but think that maybe there's SOME truth in what he said. I mean, I've never been a big fan of sitting through women's product presentations because teal and purple on bikes that will NEVER fit me annoys me (re: I ride the biggest men's bike they make), but I figured that was just me being, well, me.

I'm told that the women's market in cycling is growing rapidly. I'm not seeing it. I'm told that if I break women's product out in a separate area on my sales floor and hold women's only events that they will come in droves. Nope. I'm a freaking woman and I don't understand why I (like MANY other shops) am not seeing this big "boom" in women's business.

And then I heard a quote that made me chuckle at it's undeniable truth:

"Women LOVE pink. Unless they don't. They LOVE all women's group rides. Unless they don't. They love bicycle products are marketed just for them. Unless they DON'T."

It's true. We're opinionated and those opinions vary in vast directions. And that makes me wonder what we're doing wrong and how my shop can crack the code. I want women on bikes more than anyone, but I haven't been super successful at it.

So, maybe....just MAYBE I should try something different in my own store. I'm not quite sure what that thing is just yet, but my wheels are spinning. Pun intended. 

What do you think? I'd love to hear your suggestions and opinions. We can only get better right?

Now, go ride a bike ladies!!!


Comments

  1. I'd like to see store events for women that cater to the serious cyclist. It seems like most of they are to get new women to ride-not that there is anything wrong with that. I don't need a skirt to ride in and a pink flower on my handlebars. I want high end bikes, good technical clothing, and the right bike for the job.

    I'd also like to see harder no drop group rides--true stay together rides. Most group rides seem to be hammer-hammer-wait at top of hill for 10 seconds & drop half the pack-hammer-hammer. Ride at a good pace-ride at a good pace-stay together-regroup at the top of hills is better and more fun...but not at 10 mph.

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  2. I think that's a great perspective. Maybe we should stop assuming every woman who comes to our events is a "newbie" and show a little respect!! Thanks for commenting!

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