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Shooting Industry November 2011 Digital Edition - Page 24
Arms Arms and the woman Establishing A New Generation Of Shooters reating a solid customer base is essential for a successful business. If you’ve noticed one segment of your customer base is fading away or is underrepresented, then it’s time to reassess your business plan and determine what target groups you need to reach out to. Many dealers have noticed the population that was once the mainstay of their business — older, white males — has reached a point where they are no longer buying a large amount of firearms. The reasons for this vary from age to shifting interests, but the fact remains it is time for dealers to move their attention away from their traditional customer base — and reach out to a different audience. “We need to establish a new generation of shooters,” said Jeff Lepp, who co-owns Specialty Sports & Supply in Colorado Springs, Colo., with his wife, Kim. “We want to capture people who aren’t already looking at guns — young people, women and minorities.” Specialty Sports & Supply is a large, well-known store in Colorado Springs, Lepp notes. “I’m totally committed to the women’s market. We have quite a few women customers,” he said. “I’ve probably had a dozen women buying guns here on their own this week.” The key to Lepp’s success with the female clientele is a commitment to making them feel welcome in the store, and a diverse product line that appeals to women. “My goal is to get women comfortable in the store, and motivate them to get interested in products they weren’t into before,” he said. Lisa Parsons-Wraith C This hunting season, Lepp plans to invest heavily in women’s hunting clothing. “It’s a big test this year,” he said. He plans to stock clothing, boots and other athletic wear. The store carries a lot of Under Armour clothing, and Lepp says he has already ordered over $80,000 worth of Under Armour’s new women’s hunting clothing. “The Under Armour hunting line is pretty impressive,” Lepp said. The Under Armour women’s hunting line is part of its Always Lethal series, and consists of moisture-wicking undergarments, plus waterresistant outerwear. All garments also feature odor-blocking technology. “Women’s clothing is the first recognizable space in the store,” Lepp said. “We now have more women’s clothing than men’s. Women are buying clothing here, and I’m really getting excited about that.” Under Armour’s new Women’s Ridge Reaper line features moisture wicking and odor-dampening technology. “The Under Armour hunting line is pretty impressive,” said Jeff Lepp, co-owner of Specialty Sports & Supply. Stocking Beyond Guns S pecialty Sports & Supply carries a wide range of guns, ensuring there’s a gun to suit any woman’s needs. “We carry plenty of guns that would definitely appeal to women,” Lepp said. The store also carries quite a few guns featuring the color pink from major manufacturers such as Taurus, Charter Arms and Smith & Wesson. Lepp says they also have the ability to DuraCoat firearms in various shades of pink. “Women get all excited about pink guns, even if they don’t buy one,” he said. The pink guns send the message that women are welcome in the store. A welcoming atmosphere for women has led Lepp to offer some diverse products. In the past, Lepp noticed women who accompanied men to shop looked bored, so he decided to give them something to buy. He started going to shows and findNOVEMBER 2011 ing items other retail establishments didn’t carry. Now, pink camo flip-flops and pink canisters of pepper spray are some of his best sellers. “Women will come in and buy a Beretta pink visor,” he said. “They might not even have a gun; they just think the visor is cool.” The store also does a brisk business in purse holsters from companies including Coronado Leather, Galco Gunleather and Gun Tote’n Mamas. Lepp says the Gun Tote’n Mamas line has been particularly successful because of the affordable price point. The lesson to be learned from carrying women-oriented outdoor products? Women who aren’t yet interested in firearms will buy small items — with high profit margins — such as earrings, flashlights and flip-flops. Women who are interested in firearms will immediately feel Gun Tote’n Mamas Concealed Carry Basic Hobo Handbag features full-grain leather and is designed for right- and left-hand use. The Gun Tote’n Mamas line has been particularly successful at Specialty Sports & Supply because of its affordable price point. welcome in your store because you carry products that appeal to them. Those products will give you the opportunity to make add-on purchases when women do come in to buy a firearm. www.shootingindustry.com 24 Subscribe to SI DIGITAL