Over the decades, it's no secret that skateboarding has had the perception of being a primarily male dominated sport. While it was never directly frowned upon to see a woman skateboard, there has always been this strange "taboo" about it.
I've always found this to be odd. It's as though for years, men decided "grunt grunt grunt....this is mine." However, the truth is, there have been many female skaters over the years and many of them are damn good. Still, this doesn't seem to stop short sighted skateboard brands from catering to a primarily male audience. Being the first to admit that DF13 started the same way, it may seem that I'm being hypocritical. After all, market research shows that far less females buy skate gear from brands.
It wasn't long before I realized why this was. It wasn't that they purchased less. It was that these brands didn't really offer them anything. Most females would rather not give up their femininity just to buy the cool new GUY'S shirt at the local skate shop. Being a female skater doesn't mean they are somehow more "manly" than other females. Oddly, few skate brands even offer women's gear. So of course, females buy less skate gear from brands.
After I realized this, it wasn't long before I began to change some things at DF13. It wasn't about marketing to women or getting that extra revenue. It was more about being realistic. It was about recognizing women in the sport. It was about giving women an option and our way of saying "We support that you do this and think it's damn awesome!" Basically, I didn't want DF13 to be the same old "Man's Sport" brand that sidelined the awesome women who not only do this, but lets face it...many of which put some of these dudes to shame at the skate park!
An approach we have made is basically a "meet in the middle" concept for now. This is because while even though we kind of know why market research still shows skateboarding as a male dominated sport when it comes to women purchasing skate gear...the market research still shows it and as any smart business person would tell you, you still have to use caution when you're trying to make a difference. So DF13 has met in the middle and began launching lady's versions of our gear, but we've kept it to a minimum. Obviously, this doesn't mean that we don't care about you ladies. It just means that we are trying to test the waters. Our plan is to increase the lady's section of our line as we see more interest. So ladies...talk to us. Tell us what you want and we will work to make it happen.
That being said, on a more personal level, one of the things that has really opened my eyes is the future. In the future I don't want my daughters, or the daughters of any parent, growing up to believe that they are less than their male counterparts. I don't want them to grow up to think they are better or worse. I want them to grow up not just believing they are equal but knowing it.
Ladies...keep doing you. Keep being awesome and keep doing your thing. As disappointing as it may seem sometimes, believe me, society is taking notice. You already know this, but don't get or let yourself down because of idiots in this industry.
Guys, give these ladies more credit for their accomplishments. They work just as hard as you and deserve the recognition.
Brands...while it may seem that I'm shooting myself in the foot by giving this suggestion...don't count the ladies out! You kind of make yourselves look like a bunch of 70 year old boys clubber douche bags, full of envious testosterone when you cater only to men.
Since this will likely be my last blog post before Mother's Day, I also want to add a very happy Mother's Day wish to all you moms holding it down.
So here's to the ladies!