How Not to Design a "Women's" Product


So many parallels to the motorcycle world in this article by arstechnica, "Flowchart: How Not to Design a Woman's Tech Product"

I find that it's a constant struggle for manufacturers of motorcycles/accessories/apparel to properly market to women. It's still a man's world, in that there are too many men at the top making these decisions. Instead of real women who ride and know what other women riders like / want / need.

Here's to a better 2014....

Sadface. Another one bites the dust.

REV'IT Legacy GORE-TEX Women's Jacket and Pants



I am sad. Very sad. It's difficult finding top of the line women's motorcycle gear. Especially finding GORE-TEX motorcycle gear for women.

REV'IT released the Legacy GTX suit in the Fall of 2011. Just 2 seasons ago. I guess they didn't sell enough suits to keep offering this line. Which is really unfortunate. Given the price point, I guess I can't say I'm totally surprised. 

But its really difficult to say exactly why women weren't buying this suit. I've recommended it to quite a few people and I know of 3-5 offhand that purchased it because I recommended it. 

Both piece retailed for a little under $1100 total. Do you know any women who would spend that much on the best motorcycle suit? With the best abrasion resistance, great fitment and the main feature of an integrated GORE-TEX membrane?

Sadly I think most women wouldn't. What women do you know that spend more than $100 on themselves for anything these days? I dont know the answer to that. And I might just be thinking outloud. But I'm getting tired of hearing the same argument, that the women's gear isn't as good as the men's. Well, it WAS. Up until this suit went away. That's what sucks the most. I know that the products are out there and available for women. No, it's not the same number of options yet, for every 1 women's jacket there at least 10 others for men from various manufacturers.

But this is what I've been saying all along to everyone who tries to argue the case that there aren't enough options for women. There ARE. If I opened a store with Every line of women's gear in the shop, I'd probably need a few thousand square feet of floor space, if not more. 

The real problem is that most shops only carry a fraction of what's available. How are women supposed to shop and buy more gear if 'more' isn't there to choose from? And that's the vicious cycle. Yes, the options are all online. But it's nearly impossible, and downright difficult to shop for gear online. Some sites have made a conscious effort to sell women's gear as best as they can, and that's great but not enough. So that brings me to another issue. If there's all these options online and most women are shopping that way, then why didn't this particular suit sell? 

At this point, it has to be price point. But the problem is that you have to really see a suit like this in person to make it worth it. Seeing is believing and especially with more expensive motorcycle suits. It all looks the same online. Until you walk into a store, try it all on and see/feel/touch it for yourself. It works for me more often than not, and that's why I'm able to help so many women who come to Scuderia. You'd never think of jumping online and spending $1,000 until you put that suit on and feel the difference. Doesn't work for me every time, but it definitely does more often than not. 

That's the key to selling more women's gear, more shops must carry more options. But more importantly, shops have to CARE about carrying more options. And they have to be invested in apparel specialists, training, informing and educating their female customers. 

But it's a two way street. If you have all these options in front of you, you must be willing to SPEND more than $100 on your body! Come on, be honest for a minute. When's the last time you spent $500 on One piece of gear? I don't think enough women are willing to spend the $$ on themselves, either. Spending $500 on a new pair of shoes and an iPhone? NO problem. $500 on a helmet or a jacket to fully protect your body? Oh Hell NO. Way too expensive. WTF kind of logic is that? 



Rant. Marketing Motorcycles to Women

Suzuki Motorcycles Women GearChic

How can manufacturers do a better job of marketing to women? I don't really know the answer to this, but something I'd personally love to see is a woman of color (let's be honest, we hardly see women of color, fully clothed anyway, in these ads), FULLY geared up. I don't care if it's a cruiser, sportbike, dual sport, dirt, standard, supermoto, chopper, whatever.  Just show me something ELSE than the same tired bikinis, babes, and squids. 

After reading this article on the Huffington Post about Bic's stupid marketing campaign by making a pen for Her (WTF?? I didn't realize I was having such a hard time writing this whole time using my man pen), I thought about what a horrible job motorcycle manufacturers are doing 'trying' to market to us. Because they're not marketing to us, they're marketing to your male friend, husband or boyfriend to try and get you to ride. Why not market to us directly? Stop ducking the issue and bring it to me.  

And seeing a woman in a half helmet wearing absolutely nothing in a tv ad doesn't count. Advertising motorcycles to women should move women forward, and inspire them to gear up or try something new. Whether it's a basic rider course, a track day, a dirtbike class, a supermoto school or an advanced street course. How about prioritizing safety over sexy?

Frankly, I'm sick of it. I look forward to the day where women are in charge of these marketing campaigns. A day where companies are willing to take a risk to put out a positive message to (potential and existing) women riders. And PLEASE PLEASE put down the pink pens, pencils, crayons, whatever it is you idiots use to 'color' these ads. I personally hate pink, and although not all women hate the color, it's unfair to label us all as pink lovers. We're not men, we aren't distracted by bright colors and boobs. Stop it. 

Guess what, it's not 1950 anymore. You don't have to spend billions of dollars advertising in print ads. How many of us get our news online these days? 

I know our numbers are only ~20%, but one way to get our number to 50% is to present meaningful, positive change in the way women are portrayed as motorcyclists. And stop spreading the old, tired message of the 'biker lifestyle' whatever that is. 

Interesting Facts: MIC Women Rider Fact Sheet, courtesy of the Motorcycle Industry Council

ps. this post is in no way endorsed, promoted or encouraged by suzuki. I just happen to adore my SV650 :)