Walk down any fishing dock or harbor and you are bound to see the Grundens logo. For decades fishing men and women all over the globe have relied on their industrial grade rain bibs and jackets to help protect them in the stormiest of weather. But there was one problem; the unisex line of clothing was a tough fit for women.
“Either the sleeves are too long or they are too big in the shoulders. It was really just uncomfortable and cumbersome for women to wear.”
Eric Tietje is Grundens Global Product Director.
“Women would send emails in saying, “we love your gear, we wear it all the time, but it’s built for guys.”
Customer suggestions are a top priority for Grundens. But it takes a lot more than a few comment cards to produce new gear, says Tietje. It was a social media group who made their wants and need known to the company.
“A group of women got together and formed a vocal group to really make themselves heard, and I credit Genevieve McDonald, who formed Chix Who Fish. All the women that came onto that social media site really banded together and became a much louder voice, which showed the retailers that they are a market that is out there un-served.”
These loud fishing women are what fueled Grundens to produce the first line of gear specifically for women, designed by the women who wear it. The result- Sedna Gear.
“We harnessed the Chix Who Fish group, so I had lobster women from Maine, female marine researchers off the coast of Massachusetts, and of course we had women off the coast of Alaska.”
Tieje says the new line has brought a wave of good response.
“One thing that we heard and what the women have said is that, “by creating this product it validates what we do in this industry, you guys are recognizing us and that means something. And it has made a difference for the women, because they are able to do their job more efficiently.”
Coming soon: lightweight gear and base layers for women, ceramic coating for safety that will prolong wear and tear, and fabrics using Alaska crab shells to help eliminate odor.
“We view these pieces as pieces of equipment that these people use to do their job; it’s not just a piece of clothing that they wear. How it functions and how well it works depends on how well they can do their job.”