Telling the Women’s Story

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Combine two key outdoor industry organizers, mix in the growing purchasing power of women and you get The Women’s Story, a cycling and outdoor media event, with a splash of fashion. I headed out to New Jersey to see what was new in the world of women’s outdoors gear.

Throughout the day attendees from multiple media backgrounds had the opportunity to experience and learn about different outdoor activities: yoga, hiking, biking, stand-up paddleboarding and fly fishing to name a few.

You might be wondering, why is this important? What does it matter if someone from Good Housekeeping or BUST magazine had the opportunity to ride a bike, or try fly-fishing? Wait for it… the outdoor industry is starting to see a surge of women trying (and falling in love with) outdoor activities, thus buying more within the industry.

What’s even better is the impact from women’s purchasing feedback is doing and the growth of women working within the industry is having. Actual women designing and deciding what women who ride bikes might like?! Crazy talk.

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Within the bicycle industry we are seeing more women’s-specific bikes, accessories, shoes and apparel. We are also seeing an uptick in women who have a passion for cycling pursuing other activities like bikepacking, fishing, camping, canoeing, mountain biking and more. The reverse is true as well, many women who’ve been lifelong hikers or trail runners are beginning to key into cycling and related activities.

The media attendees’ at The Women’s Story had the chance to try some of these activities first hand. I saw quite a few ladies step out of their comfort zones, try something new and smile at the end (I tried fly fishing for the first time and actually kind of enjoyed it… Don’t tell my husband!). I’d like to think that all the smiles were from pure joy, and the exhilaration of being turned on to something new, not because the activity was over and they were happy to have survived.

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In the end, events like The Women’s Story (despite being media only) are a good thing. They show that the outdoor industry is taking note of the growing women’s presence and are willing to allocate some time and money to it, which, in the end, means more (and better) activity-specific gear for all of us ladies in the (hopefully) not to distant future.

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