Latrobe woman launches line of women’s fishing gear
Kim Ranalla brings a feminine piece to the fishing gear market – and hopes it will help women feel comfortable in their own bodies.
Ranalla, 48, from Latrobe runs Miss Mayfly, a local fishing tackle company that primarily sells waders specially designed to fit the body of women.
“When (women) tell me their stories, it’s my passion, because I can’t imagine these days that so many women get into sport… and equipment manufacturers don’t even consider them. not. ,” she said.
According to Ranalla, women make up about a third of anglers, or a total of 9.8 million women, adding “they are still an underserved market, often forcing them to wear ill-fitting male clothes. There are many women who simply cannot fully enjoy the sport because the competitor’s equipment does not meet the majority of women’s needs in terms of height and performance.
Knowing that her daughter, Kaylee Saunders, 24, loved fishing, Ranalla started looking for a pair of waders she could gift her for her birthday in 2016. The boot size did not match the width of her waist.
“It was all the men’s gear,” she said. “I ended up going for a pair of over the knee boots and boots that were OK, but those over the knee boots were huge on her. I said, ‘This is awful. I can’t believe there aren’t better options.
Deciding that she wanted to make the outfit more inclusive for women, Ranalla decided to find a specialist to help her create a size chart. But the numbers given to her “might work for European models, but they won’t work for average American women,” she said.
Instead, she spent weeks studying size charts and created nine sizes.
But that was not the end. Ranalla spent weeks creating production sizes, wearing additional clothing to determine what specific measurements would look like on different body types.
After developing both graphics, Ranalla worked with a factory to produce a small number of waders. Once the waders hit the market, Ranalla said, they immediately started selling.
“It was a little race, but with this little race I managed to develop a brand name that people are talking about,” she said.
Today, her company offers 12 sizes of light gray thigh high boots with blue suspenders for a feminine touch, including plus sizes. Through the community she has built, she has heard about women’s experiences in sporting goods stores and trying to find sizes that suit them.
“(Businesses) are just starting to realize that women aren’t happy,” Ranalla said. “They were doing the sales (with men’s waders), they didn’t need to invest time and money. I think it took a woman to figure out what women need.
Self-financing the first batch of waders, Ranalla is now working to raise funds to make more waders, which have been requested, she said. Some waders are still on sale at missmayfly.com, as well as “Miss Mayfly” and “Tight Line” t-shirts and hat pins.
She is also looking for an equity investor who can help cover manufacturing costs for further production.
In order to raise funds, she held a 45% sale on all items on her website and introduced new items including a slingshot pack, also known as fishing tackle packs. And to promote her products, Ranalla often organizes giveaways and contests on her Facebook page.
A full crowdfunding campaign is online at indiegogo.com where merchandise can be purchased, customers can see the science behind the waders, and funds can be donated.