Michigan Couple Make Womenswear With Isle Royale Outfitters | WJMN
MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – On the first day of deer season, hunters across the state of Michigan head into the woods, hoping for a chance. A couple who spent years in the woods decided they could add style and function to one of the fastest growing hunter populations.
Alex and Kathleen Zapletal call Grand Rapids home. They started dating seven years ago. At the time, Kathleen had never hunted.
“For a few years, I just went with him and watched. I didn’t have tags and I didn’t have a gun. I found myself falling in love with the sport even more. And I really liked this approach, ”said Kathleen.
Alex said that when they started hunting together, Kathleen would wear the same gear Alex wore in middle and high school. They saw a market for hunting clothes designed for women.
“Traditionally, hunting clothing is specifically intended for hunting. You wear it during this time of year and only during this time of year and only when participating in sport. One thing we really wanted to do was, because a woman could go hunting in the morning, but in the afternoon she’s probably chasing kids or whatever it might be like. So when we thought about creating this brand for women, we knew it had to be for the everyday woman and the hunting lifestyle was part of our life, but it’s not. everything we do, ”said Kathleen.
While the couple live in western Michigan, they have traveled as far north as possible in the state for inspiration.
“When we thought about what it meant to go hunting or fishing and were trying to figure out which name would best mimic our brand. And when we thought about what we liked about being outside, a lot of it came from the intention to go out. In this fast-paced, tech-driven world, we rarely have the opportunity to go out and be in this silence. So we’ve given a lot of thought to that intention behind it, ”said Kathleen.
This took them to Isle Royale National Park. From this trip, Isle Royale Outfitters was born.
Alex said their idea was to create something designed for women, not just clothes that were a bit smaller and with pink accents. In addition to not having to wear pocket clothes, they focused on technology like silent and fragrance-free fabrics.
“Anyone who hunts will tell you, being sniffed, breathless, or scented, whatever you want to put it, can make or break a huge hunt. The direction of the wind and where it blows plays a huge role.
Isle Royale Outfitters is doing online sales for no, but they are hoping to hit brick and mortar stores hopefully by next fall.