Before SHOT Show started, I ran across a blurb about a new outdoor blog starting soon titled Camo is the New Black. It just launched on Monday and I was intrigued – mostly because of the name – but also thought, “who has the nerve to start yet another outdoor related blog/outlet in this already crowded space?”
Well, meet Whitney and Heather behind this new female-focused outlet. They have gumption – and day jobs – so more power to them I say!
Me: Why did Camo is the New Black start?
Whitney: I have worked in the sportsmen conservation community for the past four years and have had a hard time not noticing what a male dominated community it is. Not to be misunderstood, my dad is the reason I hunt, but I was wondering why more women are not involved. Heather and I started Camo is the New Black to connect fellow sportswomen and create a network that encourages more women to get outside and, in doing so; we hope the number of hunters and anglers increases overall as well.
Heather: Whitney and I met working at a conservation non-profit. As you are well aware, the conservation and sportsmen communities overlap considerably and we often found ourselves being the only – or two of a handful – women attending meetings, events or conferences. It didn’t take long for one of our recurring conversations to revolve around how to build women’s participation in the community. How can we inspire and encourage women to get outside, hunt, fish, shoot, hike? Camo is the New Black is the culmination of those conversations.
Admittedly, there are many outdoor blogs written by women. But we’ve found that most of those blogs are written by one person, sharing one story. We open up Camo is the New Black with Whitney and my personal stories, but this is not a personal blog. This is a network of sportswomen sharing many stories; this is a community to connect virtual mentors and mentees.My notes on this: Being in the outdoor industry going on 10 years now, I am also in those same rooms as the only female, or one of few. I totally get it. Perhaps this blog could also be an outlet for professional outdoor females? A place where Julie Gotlib, Jessie Duff and the PR person for an outdoor manufacturer could meet and share ideas? (Hmm…perhaps I should start a Facebook group on this??)
Me: How did you come across the name?
Heather: The name was Whitney’s brain child so I’ll let her expand on that more. I will say that when she suggested it, I immediately thought, “Yes, it’s perfect.”
Whitney: On the flip side of being an avid outdoors woman, I love fashion. And watching the trends and realizing camo is becoming trendy once again, I thought it foolish to not make the connection when our target is women. I also gravitated toward the name Camo is the New Black because the phrase itself is almost woman code. Many of our male colleagues in the field did not initially understand the blog name and I love that!
Me: What are your goals in the first 6 mos? Year?
Whitney: Heather and I are very organized and we’re ambitious! In the first six months, it’s most important for us to create an audience – we’d like to hit 2,500 in readership to ensure we are reaching a wide range of the community. And with a strong online community, we hope to take the organization offline and coordinate hunts and fishing trips for first-time women hunters and fishers across the country. We also hope to create brand awareness and publicity with blog and event sponsors.
Heather: Like Whitney said, building our readership is our primary goal for the first six months of the blog. Readers should also be on the lookout for giveaways – another way we’re going to build our subscription list.
The second phase of Camo is the New Black is getting the network we’ve built offline. We both live in Washington, D.C., and one of the things I miss the most about my home state of Idaho is how easy it is to get to the water or mountains. So the next phase is to hold events to get women shooting, hunting and fishing – with a specific focus on first-timers. Women showing women how to handle a shotgun is much less intimidating, not to mention fun.
My notes: Invite me! Invite me!! Okay, I’m not a first-timer, but still, I love a good adventure.
Me: How do you see your role in the outdoor industry?
Whitney: We see ourselves as the silver-lining. Until this past year, sportsmen numbers have been declining but there has been an uptick in the number of female hunters and anglers. Currently about 11 percent of the hunters and 27 percent of anglers in the United States are women – these are not small percentages. In the format of Camo is the New Black, we believe we can further increase visibility for the sports we love while also introducing women and men alike to the sportsmen community. The timing is now with the locavore movement and TV shows like “Duck Dynasty” trending. The general public, women in particular, are becoming more interested in hunting and fishing and we hope Camo is the New Black is the window they’ve been looking for.
Heather: Women are showing more interest in hunting and angling and Camo is the New Black will help provide the inspiration to take action. By featuring so many women, the blog will span ages and locations to give more women the tools to be sportswomen. And hopefully encourage women to introduce some newbies to the sports.
Me: Were you at SHOT Show? If so – what did it gain you? If not, why?
Whitney: Unfortunately, we were not at SHOT this year. When your lives are beholden to Congress, scheduling can be tough. But with the launch of Camo is the New Black, we definitely won’t miss out next year!
My notes: I really look forward to seeing what you can do there – perhaps something cool at Media Day?
Me: You are seeking bloggers/writers to provide content for the site, so I have to ask, do you pay?
Whitney: We do not pay, we are volunteers ourselves.
Me: So how are you cultivating content?
Heather: Many of the bloggers we have lined up are leaders in a sportsman group, so there’s an element of mutual promotion happening. But at least as we get started, we’re hoping there are enough women out there who are excited enough about sharing their passion for the outdoors that they’ll be willing to post something. I know that sounds a little idealistic, but that’s the spirit we’re after. And I’m happy to say that we’ve been greeted with resounding support so far.
Me: Anything else you’d like to add?
Heather: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us! This is something we’re really passionate about and are excited to find so many others are, too.
Whitney: Thank you so much for the opportunity to share our story and Camo is the New Black. We are incredibly encouraged by involving such high caliber women as yourself and are humbled by your support!
End notes: Well, I’m not sure about me being “high caliber” in this world, but flattery on my blog will get you everywhere! Be sure to check out this new site and show them some love!
Follow CamoIsTheNewBlack on Twitter @camoisthenewblk