Thursday, April 14, 2011

Gov. Palin Makes Business Boom for Girls with Guns

When Governor Palin shot a caribou on Sarah Palin's Alaska, Episode 4 "She's a Great Shot", wearing a Girls with Guns Bucket Hat, its creators Jen Adams and Norissa Harman received a deluge of orders. The seemingly simple cap made Gov. Palin look like a SWAT sniper and became an instant sensation.

Jen and Norissa founded the Red Bluff, California-based Girls with Guns (GWG)in 2008 to create a feminine, sassy clothing line for women who hunt, shoot or just love guns. Their line is geared for the everyday outdoor gal. Hunting and shooting clothes for women is still a fairly new market. A part-time operation GWG expanded slowly for the first two years of its existence. The brand was ready to launch into Scheels Sports 17 stores nationwide, when Palin wore their hat on National Television.

February 8, 2010 proved to be a Providential day for both Gov. Palin and GWG's founders. Gov. Palin was the keynote speaker for two speeches three hours apart at the Sierra Cascade Logging Conference. The host, Nadine is a friend of Jen and Norissa. The duo prepared a package of goodies to be handed to the former Alaska Governor, but even with a friend hosting the conference, they did not know for months if the package actually made it to her hands. They saw Gov. Palin speak but never got to meet her. One day, several months later Mark Burnett Productions called asking for permission to use footage of Gov. Palin wearing their products in Sarah Palin's Alaska.

GWG Products are sold at the site's online store; at Scheel's Sports, a chain serving the north central/northwestern United States; and GWG's local retail location at The Loft, 501 Madison St., in Red Bluff, CA.

Ron Devito, Publisher, US for Palin interviewed Jen and Norissa for this exclusive feature:

Devito: Prior to the Bucket Hat being featured on Sarah Palin’s Alaska, how many units were you selling per month?

GWG: Our internet sales increased tremendously after the hat was featured on Sarah Palin's new Reality show! We received over 300 internet orders the first two weeks after the show's debut! This was more than we had received our first two years in business. Then the orders continued to come in consistently as the show was aired continuously by TLC and even now we receive orders for the brown bucket worn by Sarah Palin.

Devito: How is business now?

GWG: Business is great! Girls with Guns Clothing can now be found in 23 stores nationwide. Our main supplier is Scheels They feature our line in 17 of their stores. They are an awesome sporting goods/hunting store! We are also in five local Northern California sporting goods/Western stores. This coupled with the Sarah Palin rush and the International Sportsman's Expo in Sacramento in January, we are having our biggest year yet! We are looking forward to what 2011 has yet to bring!

Devito: Governor Palin for the past few years has awakened interest in hunting and shooting among women. It’s one reason why she won the NRA’s 2010 Sybil Ludington Award (Disclosure: I was one of three nominators in the entire country). Sarah Palin’s Alaska brought women hunting and shooting – and herself - into the living rooms of people who perhaps might see her from a lens other than politics. What would you say her effect has been on firearms, shooting gear, and clothing as marketed towards women?

GWG: She is such a strong supporter of hunting and a gun rights advocate as well as a successful business woman and mother. So many of us look up to her for those things! Not only that, but she has such a following of women who strive to adopt her qualities, ambitions and morals, that the items that she wears and promotes definitely are sought after items. We have seen that with the airing of her wearing our hat. It became a hot commodity!

Devito: I have noticed that in the major catalogs, such as Cabela’s and Gander Mountain, hunting and shooting clothes for women are still largely an after-thought garnering but a few pages. Most are adaptations of men’s clothes using various camo patterns. Would you say that Gov. Palin’s appearance with your products might awaken more major manufacturers into developing more innovative clothing and other shooting products for women?

Jen Adams with a Smith & Wesson Model .357 Magnum.

GWG: We can only hope that more products geared towards women in the hunting and shooting industry will be created! Our line does not yet feature hunting/camo clothing, but we do plan on incorporating the Mossy Oak Pattern into our line starting with our Summer 2011 and in the future.

Devito: What other observations do you have about Gov. Palin’s effect on industries pertaining to women and hunting, shooting?

GWG: Since the airing of Sarah Palin's Alaka and her public speaking at events such as SCI and NRA, she gained awareness in more woman to introduce them to the industry and show America that Hunting is not just a man's sport anymore! It can be an everyday family event.

Devito: What specific applications are GWG products best suited for? Shooting ranges? Hunting of specific species? Concealed Carry?

GWG: Our line is geared towards casual wear. We will be incorporating other applications in the future. Our fans continual support helps boost our business so we can provide bigger and better products.

Devito: The last several weeks, you were working on a summer line. What will it feature? When does it go on sale?

GWG: Our summer line features bikinis, board shorts, tank tops, t-shirts, and a variety of hats of all different logos and designs. It will be available on our website and Scheels nationwide in June 2011.

Devito: All your products are hand-made. As business continues to expand, will you be able to sustain this practice?

GWG: Until recently all of our products were hand pressed and embroidered in our garages. We are currently working with factories because we cannot keep up with the volume as our product has been in high demand since launching into Scheels Sports and with the appearance of Sarah Palin wearing our hat on TLC.

Norissa Harman with a Browning Citori 525, 12-gauge over/under shotgun.

Following the episode, GWG was also interviewed for The Learning Channel and by KRCR, a local TV station. Photos of Gov. Palin wearing the GWG Bucket Hat appeared in People Magazine and in US Weekly, as seen in this GWG Press Page.

Disclosure: GWG and US for Palin cross-promote one another.

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