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Old 05-11-09, 10:19 AM   #1
jstek
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Women - Harlot has a question

Hi Ladies-
I am the president of Harlot, a small women's cycling apparel company. Every year we struggle to determine how best to reach out to the women's market and let people know we exist (and have cool stuff). So here's my question: how do you find out about new products and companies? Where do you go to research a new purchase? What magazines/forums/blogs do you turn to for info? OK, that's 3 questions! Anyway, I would love any feedback you have on this topic.
Thanks for any help,
Jennifer
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Old 05-11-09, 10:44 AM   #2
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First post, and it's basically a promotion for your company?? Hmm. I thought we had a space for that one - it's called shameless promotions or something like that, and you have to be a paid member to sign up.

As for where you hear about things, it's mostly word of mouth, bike stores and bike shows. I know from reading these forums that Assos is supposed to produce stunning bike clothes. I know from scouring the prices that I'm unlikely to buy any of their gear any time soon.

I also know that while I too dislike pink flowers on bike gear, I like spandex, I like bike shirts with pockets, and neon is good for being seen in. So I'm clearly not in your target audience.
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Old 05-11-09, 11:20 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by jstek View Post
Hi Ladies-
I am the president of Harlot, a small women's cycling apparel company. Every year we struggle to determine how best to reach out to the women's market and let people know we exist (and have cool stuff). So here's my question: how do you find out about new products and companies? Where do you go to research a new purchase? What magazines/forums/blogs do you turn to for info? OK, that's 3 questions! Anyway, I would love any feedback you have on this topic.
Thanks for any help,
Jennifer
I can tell you no matter the quality or price, my wife would never wear clothing that said "Harlot" on it. I'm sure to a great many the name has negative connotations. And yes, I looked at your site and I read the history. But people on the street aren't going to get that far at first glance. Sorry for being brutally truthful.
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Old 05-11-09, 11:39 AM   #4
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Simply put, "Harlot" means "female prostitute" (see this). Why any woman would want to carry that tag on anything that she's wearing???! Beats me! It's degrading and it's not even SEXY!
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Old 05-11-09, 11:52 AM   #5
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Simply put, "Harlot" means "female prostitute" (see this). Why any woman would want to carry that tag on anything that she's wearing???! Beats me! It's degrading and it's not even SEXY!
I dunno, but I've seen women wearing stuff that definitely made me wonder and go "Hummn! So maybe if this dude's company goes multimillion dollars they would wear something with "Harlot" on it..
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Old 05-11-09, 11:54 AM   #6
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I like my Harlot shorts and knickers. They have less padding and are more comfortable than other bike shorts I've used. I found out about them by word of mouth from someone else on the forum.
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Old 05-11-09, 11:57 AM   #7
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I dunno, but I've seen women wearing stuff that definitely made me wonder and go "Hummn! So maybe if this dude's company goes multimillion dollars they would wear something with "Harlot" on it..
Call me crazy, but I suspect Jennifer is not a "dude".
And if people get bent over the word "harlot", just wait until they see the "Beaver T".
It would appear their target is the younger set who don't take themselves so seriously.
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Old 05-11-09, 12:01 PM   #8
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Call me crazy, but I suspect Jennifer is not a "dude".
And if people get bent over the word "harlot", just wait until they see the "Beaver T".
It would appear their target is the younger set who don't take themselves so seriously.
Okay so shoot me for not reading more carefully..
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Old 05-11-09, 12:43 PM   #9
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Um, yes, I'm no dude, and I'm not out to shamelessly promote our company. I've been a member on this forum for a couple years, read it regularly, but don't often have reason to post. When people ask "what's a good mountain bike short?", I certainly don't respond as I think it would be inappropriate.

The women's cycling market is a hard one to reach. If you believe the reader demographics provided by most bike magazines, few women read cycling-specific periodicals. Some forums have a women's section but not this one. So where do women get their bike information? I think it's a valid question, and I thought it would be an interesting discussion.

As for the name Harlot, some people love it, some people hate it. We get tons and tons of letters from women of all ages telling us they love it. Every year we get a few letters from people that think it is distasteful (strangely they are often from "dudes") . I suspect those people would not like our style even if it had another name. There is room for many different styles, attitudes, and "looks" in cycling apparel. I'm sure we don't all wear the same kind of jeans in our "real lives", and it would be pretty boring if we all wore the same thing on the bike. But that's not really the conversation I was trying to start...
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Old 05-11-09, 12:50 PM   #10
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Some forums have a women's section but not this one.
I think there *is* such a forum here, but it is hidden, and you must request access to it.
(At least that is what I've heard).
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Old 05-11-09, 12:59 PM   #11
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I think there *is* such a forum here, but it is hidden, and you must request access to it.
(At least that is what I've heard).
Yes, this is correct. Ask a mod for access.
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Old 05-11-09, 01:07 PM   #12
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I think there *is* such a forum here, but it is hidden, and you must request access to it.
(At least that is what I've heard).
I was invited to join! And declined the invitation.
Being a Jan in the American Heartland, I've encountered occassional gender confusion. (I'm not confused, other folks are.)
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Old 05-11-09, 01:11 PM   #13
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If you want access to the Women's Forum, PM me and we'll get you set up.
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Old 05-11-09, 01:34 PM   #14
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I was invited to join! And declined the invitation.
Being a Jan in the American Heartland, I've encountered occassional gender confusion. (I'm not confused, other folks are.)
The next time you get an invitation, take it, then report back to us what you find there.
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Old 05-11-09, 01:44 PM   #15
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Interestingly enough, there is mens wear listed on her site as well.
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Old 05-11-09, 01:49 PM   #16
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Interestingly enough, there is mens wear listed on her site as well.
I noticed that as well;
I'm surprised that isn't sold under the "Gigolo" brand.
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Old 05-11-09, 01:51 PM   #17
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My suggestion: get some professional help on search engine optimization. I don't think your website, and the product pages in particular, are very search engine friendly. One small example - I just looked at one of your shorts models. The words "bicycle," or "cycling" do not even appear at that page. How is a search engine supposed to know what you are selling if you don't tell it?

Redo the product images on your site so the product is more visible and more enticing. On your "t's" with printed slogans the images are so small I can't read the type.

Do a better job on your website explaining in detailing the benefits of your product and why it is women-specific.
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Old 05-12-09, 05:31 AM   #18
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+1
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Old 05-12-09, 11:39 AM   #19
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Speaking as a woman ...

How do you find out about new products and companies? -- I don't look for new products and companies. If the clothing from a company that is new to me shows up on sale in Nashbar, that will usually be my introduction to it.


Where do you go to research a new purchase? -- I don't research clothing ... whatever's very inexpensive and looks good will usually do. That said, I did do a little bit of research on shorts once ... I went around to several bicycle shops, tried on several different brands of shorts, and picked the one I like. I've stuck with that one almost exclusively.


What magazines/forums/blogs do you turn to for info? -- I occasionally use this forum for info on mechanical stuff.
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Old 05-12-09, 11:47 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jstek View Post
Hi Ladies-
I am the president of Harlot, a small women's cycling apparel company. Every year we struggle to determine how best to reach out to the women's market and let people know we exist (and have cool stuff). So here's my question: how do you find out about new products and companies? Where do you go to research a new purchase? What magazines/forums/blogs do you turn to for info? OK, that's 3 questions! Anyway, I would love any feedback you have on this topic.
Thanks for any help,
Jennifer
I am glad that you have developed some clothing that does not reek of being some sort of “Lance Clones” or look stupid or kiddish. These are the type of attire I sew & wear if I had the need to use bike specific clothing. The best way is exactly the way you have been doing it-placing ads and posting on places where like-minded people congregate on or offline.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boudicca View Post
First post, and it's basically a promotion for your company?? Hmm. I thought we had a space for that one - it's called shameless promotions or something like that, and you have to be a paid member to sign up.

As for where you hear about things, it's mostly word of mouth, bike stores and bike shows. I know from reading these forums that Assos is supposed to produce stunning bike clothes. I know from scouring the prices that I'm unlikely to buy any of their gear any time soon.

I also know that while I too dislike pink flowers on bike gear, I like spandex, I like bike shirts with pockets, and neon is good for being seen in. So I'm clearly not in your target audience.
Who cares about so called “shameless advertising”. I don't follow the crowd anyway. I put away such things when I left high school. I constantly monitor Websites online and magazines and handwritten notes on bulletin boards offline to post on my own Websites. I do use and try anything I describe in my own World Of Folding Bicycles (oh no an example of shameless advertising from a noncommercial site!) as long as I have had the series up and running. I merely present the information. I let the gentle reader decide what is best for him/her.

Last edited by folder fanatic; 05-12-09 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 05-13-09, 01:17 PM   #21
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Um, yes, I'm no dude, and I'm not out to shamelessly promote our company. I've been a member on this forum for a couple years, read it regularly, but don't often have reason to post. When people ask "what's a good mountain bike short?", I certainly don't respond as I think it would be inappropriate.

The women's cycling market is a hard one to reach. If you believe the reader demographics provided by most bike magazines, few women read cycling-specific periodicals. Some forums have a women's section but not this one. So where do women get their bike information? I think it's a valid question, and I thought it would be an interesting discussion.

As for the name Harlot, some people love it, some people hate it. We get tons and tons of letters from women of all ages telling us they love it. Every year we get a few letters from people that think it is distasteful (strangely they are often from "dudes") . I suspect those people would not like our style even if it had another name. There is room for many different styles, attitudes, and "looks" in cycling apparel. I'm sure we don't all wear the same kind of jeans in our "real lives", and it would be pretty boring if we all wore the same thing on the bike. But that's not really the conversation I was trying to start...
What sections do you read? Several of us have the clue in our signatures.

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Old 05-13-09, 05:30 PM   #22
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My suggestion: get some professional help on search engine optimization. I don't think your website, and the product pages in particular, are very search engine friendly. One small example - I just looked at one of your shorts models. The words "bicycle," or "cycling" do not even appear at that page. How is a search engine supposed to know what you are selling if you don't tell it?

Redo the product images on your site so the product is more visible and more enticing. On your "t's" with printed slogans the images are so small I can't read the type.

Do a better job on your website explaining in detailing the benefits of your product and why it is women-specific.
As usual, BengeBoy is spot on with his comments. However, I must commend you on the front page photo. I kept looking for the photo gallery.
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Old 05-13-09, 07:18 PM   #23
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Old 05-13-09, 08:11 PM   #24
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How do you find out about new products and companies?
Word of mouth mainly. Or seeing sponsored riders. (That doesn't mean I go all "Ooh, <sponsored rider> rides that bike, I need to too!" That means that if I see something at an event that I don't recognize and it catches my eye, I go home and check out their website.)


Where do you go to research a new purchase?
Depends on what it is. I don't research clothes. Parts or bikes, I ask here or check MTBR.


What magazines/forums/blogs do you turn to for info?
This is the only forum I post on, but I occasionally check RideMonkey, MTBR, and Pinkbike. For magazines, it's Mountain Bike Action, DirtRag, and sometimes Decline if one of the cover stories catches my eye. Blogs...uh...LeeLikesBikes? I think that's it.
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Old 05-13-09, 10:52 PM   #25
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I have checked out your website and find the clothing to be rather "young" and "boyish." The style displayed made me think of that FOX company that is all over the place. I am not one who is into the pink and flowers because it is tacky yet I am into simple styles and color schemes that look good in general whether or not on a bike. I think cycling clothing should be simple, well fitted and basic so that no one looks like a clown or poseur. It cracks me up to see folks cycling in jerseys with company logos or characters all over them as if they are sponsored riders. I feel like saying "hey dude/dudette, take off Spongebob and put on a plain white jersey." I know it is wrong to think this way but a clown is a clown. Good on them for cycling.
I find out about clothes when an email is sent to me from some store like REI or Nashbar. I am all about last years deals that are in my size and fit well. I don't do anything with a logo on the front. I am a low key gal. I read competitor or raceplace for information.
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