Today I want to share with you the "other side of the coin". While I had no better luck with the firearm dealers than Jane did, We did find several vendors who struck us at our very core. Vendors who understood that women are a huge part of the outdoor market, have thoughts, values, ideas, and wallets. So, without further ado, let's have a look at a few of the vendors who took that extra time with us. Vendors who did not talk down to us, ask if we were shopping for our husbands, or treated us any differently than any male attendee.
|Sparky and I after he outfitted me in a full set of M2D Camo|
|Sparky with Jane following their technical discussion of sublimation printing, color management and how the pattern adapts to changing light|
Jane mentioned "Sparky" President of M2D Camo in her post yesterday - Sparky spent a huge amount of time with us discussing his innovative M2D Camo, lamented the fact that he did not yet ( heavy on the yet) have a women's hunting clothing manufacturer on board, and discussed with us at length what we would most want in hunting and outdoor apparel that would utilize his pattern. I had him examine the Prois Pro Edition Vest that I was wearing as an example of what women consider the best in female hunting apparel. Yes, we want a feminine form, a good fit, but most of all, like our male counterparts we want function and value for our hunting dollar. He treated us as respected members of the outdoor industry, recognized our abilities, interests, and purchasing power, and readily grasped that we were interested in this innovative new camo pattern and deserved his time.
Sparky put his money where his mouth is. He generously provided both Jane and I with items from his M2D collection, I was the lucky recipient of a full set of M2D Camo clothing to field trial, test, drag through the muck and the mud, in general; give his product my best shot and report back. Not once did we encounter an ounce of condescension, or feel that we were in any way less important or less valuable to him than our male counterparts present at his booth. Sparky and M2D Camo get a big thumbs up from me!
|Scott an dI sharing a laugh about one of my less than successful turkey hunting adventures|
Jane and I encountered Scott Wilper of Wilper Custom Calls very early in our convention roaming. From our first conversation we felt that not only had we met a great call maker, we had made a new friend. Scott, like Sparky, never once, even dared to hazard a guess that we were shopping for husbands, brothers, friends or sons. He talked turkey with us, along with discussing family outdoor adventures, the importance of women being able to hunt successfully and provide for their families. He shared his call making process, and helped me to make a sentimental Valentine's day purchase You can read about that here); along with providing Jane and I each one of his special "Pocket Rocket" calls- just for us. Not for the guys, JUST FOR US. Big thumbs up to Scott, his warm , enthusiastic personality, and his support of hunting as a family sport and heritage!
|Berkley Giles of Ear.Inc prepares to mold a set of custom ear plugs for Marti Davis|
|Mr. Giles explaining what product would best work with my outdoor passions and my sensory overload issues|
Berkely Giles, director of Business development for EAR.Inc was another stand out for me. My outdoor sister Marti Davis could quickly see that the noise level was causing issues for me - I was raiply falling into sensory overload, and she literally, hand on my shoulders, steered me directly to the Ear.Inc booth. There Mr. Giles took great care in explaining how the HearDefenders-DF™ Dual Filtered Earplugs were exactly what I needed, and quickly inserted a pair for me. Ahhhh...instant relief from the all cacophony, yet I was still able to talk with him, and others nearby with ease. He spent a large amount of time going through the various hearing protection products Ear.Inc offered and helped me to select what would work best for the various outdoor sports and conditions that I encounter, as well as displaying a great working knowledge of the sensory input issues that often accompany multiple sclerosis. . The HearDefenders-DF™ are always with me now, and I am waiting with bated breath for the custom molded set I was fitted for during the show to arrive. Mr. Giles was quick to recognize that ears are well, ears - whether they be male or female, we all need good hearing protection! One again- a thumbs up for EAR.Inc and Mr. Giles as a female friendly vendor!
|Jane considers the Hammock Seat and it's durability and portability while the crew from Fanatic Outdoors stands at the ready to answer every single question she had for them|
Last, but certainly not least was the crew from Fanatic Outdoors with their nifty Hammock Seat. It was refreshing to meet with a crew so customer oriented and willing to spend time with two women. Our questions were answered, the product was clearly demonstrated, and even though there were a few laughs when I tried to haul my fanny up and out, the fellows were quick to point out how to adapt the Hammock seat to my size, height and special needs. They were interested in us as hunters period. Not that we were women, but rather how their lightweight, easily packable "seat" could help us have a more satisfying and successful hunting experience. Thumbs up to the crew from Fanatic Outdoors!
I encourage all of my fellow women outdoor enthusiasts to share their GOOD experiences, with vendors, dealers, outfitters etc. There are those out there that value us as outdoor enthusiasts, value our opinions and expertise, and value us as customers. Let's support them the same way they support us!