Building your customer base means reaching out to new shooters and retaining established gun enthusiasts. Women tend to become more active in the shooting sports if other women support them. They are also more likely to be lifelong shooters if they have a fun, social group of women to shoot with.
A new organization called “A Girl & A Gun” is branching out across the nation, increasing the number of women shooters — and dealers who support the group are seeing their businesses grow.
A Girl & A Gun (AG & AG) is a women’s shooting league established by women shooters for women shooters. The events are fun, social gatherings where women have a chance to ask questions of other women shooters, improve their shooting skills and create a bond in the shooting community. It is not a formal shooting class, but AG & AG does provide the basics of safe gun handling and range etiquette. NRA-certified instructors and/or range safety officers supervise all shooting events.
Established in Texas in 2011 by Juliana Crowder, AG & AG has expanded to Colorado, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Virginia, and now boasts more than 715 members. Many of the chapters tie their shoots into charity events that benefit women’s shelters or raise money for breast cancer, giving women even more incentive to attend.
The A Girl & A Gun website — www.agirlandagunclub.com —
features information on hosting an event at your store.
“We’re Getting People We Wouldn’t Otherwise Get”
The Arms Room in League City near Houston, Texas, has hosted several AG & AG events, and the events have had a big impact on the number of women who visit the store.
“It’s a girls’ night out on steroids,” said Arms Room COO Brandy Liss. “This is a cool event for ladies in a sport most people think of as for men.”
The events attract all types of women, from novice to experienced, and they come for a good time, to have fun, talk and be empowered, she said. According to Liss, the best part is the event’s reach.
“We’re getting people we wouldn’t otherwise get — and they’re coming back on their own,” she said.
The Arms Room held their first AG & AG event in conjunction with Divas on the Prowl, another social group, to further boost attendance. Liss said over 300 ladies attended the two-hour event, which featured multiple female-oriented vendors. It was important to Liss to provide a fun social atmosphere that incorporated safety and personal protection. The only cost to attendees was purchasing ammo.
As far as having a financial impact on the business, Liss says the event has cost her next to nothing.
“It’s not an expense,” she said. “We provide a range safety officer and the range.”
However, the Arms Room’s association with AG & AG has boosted business.
“We’ve seen an increase in women buying guns,” Liss said.
She said one of the more popular guns with women is the Springfield XD(M) because of its interchangeable backstrap that fits smaller hands. She also noted that SIG SAUER is well received by women because of its safety features and concealed-carry-friendly design.
There has also been an increase in women who visit the Arms Room’s Facebook page, Liss said.
“We can measure interest on Facebook. We started with about 15-percent women, and now it’s nearly a 50-50 split between men and women’s Facebook responses,” she said.
By Lisa Parsons-Wraith
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