Grand Rapids couple tailors hunting clothing designs to women

MARQUETTE, me. (WJMN) – On the first day of deer season, hunters across the state of Michigan head out into the woods hoping for a chance for prize money. A couple who spent years in the woods decided it could add some style and function to one of the fastest growing hunter populations.

Alex and Kathleen Zapletal call Grand Rapids their home. You started dating seven years ago. At the time, Kathleen Zapletal had never hunted.

“For a couple of years I just went with him and watched. I had no tags and no gun. I fell in love with the sport even more and I really liked that approach, ”she said.

Alex and Kathleen Zapletal. The DNR “Becoming an Outdoors Woman” program is contributing to the rise in female hunters

Alex Zapletal said when they went hunting together, Kathleen Zapletal would wear the same gear she used in middle and high school. They saw a market in hunting clothing for women.

“Traditionally, hunting clothing is specially designed for hunting. You wear it during this time of year and only during this time of year and only when you are participating in sports. … (A) woman might go hunting in the morning, but in the afternoon she’s probably chasing kids or whatever that might be and that lifestyle of hunting is part of our lives, but it’s not all we do, ”said Kathleen Zapletal .

While the couple calls West Michigan home, they traveled as far north as possible for inspiration.

“When we were thinking about what it was like to go hunting or fishing and figuring out which name would best emulate our brand, and when we thought about what we like about nature, a lot of it came from the intention of get outside. In this fast-paced, technology-driven world, we rarely have the opportunity to go outside and be in this silence. So we’ve thought a lot about this intention, ”said Kathleen Zapletal.

That led them to Isle Royale National Park. From this trip Isle Royale Outfitters was born.

Fewer licenses at the start of the Michigan deer hunting season

Alex Zapletal said the idea was to create something for women, not just clothes that are a bit smaller and have pink accents. Aside from not having to wear worn clothing, they focused on technologies like quiet and odorless fabrics.

“Anyone who hunts will tell you it’s smell, windy, or scented out there, however you want to put it, that can make or break a huge hunt. The wind direction and where it blows play a big role, ”he said.

Isle Royale Outfitters makes online sales for now, but hopes to get to brick and mortar stores by next fall.

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