#iamladyhawk – Marily Melis

The inspiration for #iamladyhawk is to feature woman that I have met over the years that are crushing the outdoor and active lifestyle industry. You may not know these up and coming leaders, but believe me you will! These woman are putting their passion first, authentically, and without any apologies along the way. #iamladyhawk

I first met Marily at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market three years ago. She was in the Slumberjack booth with the rest of her team (all dudes), giving them direction, and then pulled out an electric drill and put two walls together. Over the years I have gotten to know Marily and one thing is for sure, she is a leader in her organization and pushing their women’s categories.

This month SJK is launching the Wild-Her pack. In a sea of “shrink it and pink it”, SJK designed this feature rich pack specifically for the modern day female hunter.

Marily spearheaded this product from its inception and at the end of the day is a user. She is the real deal and I am thrilled to highlight her in this installment of #iamladyhawk!

Name:  Marily Melis (MacDonald)

Hometown: Grand Lake, Colorado

Profession:  Marketing Manager – Exxel Outdoors: Slumberjack and guide for Rocky Mtn Horse Yoga Retreats

Passion: MM: Mountain Biking, Horse back riding, yoga and skiing on water – any kind.

Favorite piece of gear?:  MM: Slumberjack Big Timber Pro sleeping bag – super cozy flannel bag with a burly and durable canvas outer shell – it’s like sleeping in your bed at home anywhere you go. I ditched the ultra light gear along time ago for more comfort. I mean how often do you actually backpack into a campsite (I try to ride a horse if I am going that far), I am a proud car camper all the way.
unnamedHow did you get your start in the Outdoor Industry?:  MM: I started as a free intern at outdoor DIVAS which lead to half a decade doing everything from wax and wine nights, ski demo days, designing team cycling kits to putting annual budgets and billboard campaigns together. It was the perfect way to get into the industry, soup to nutz hands on experience. That lead me to Women’s Quest where I guided women’s horse – yoga retreats to my current job at Slumberjack as Marketing Manager.

What is the one piece of advice you would give women who are looking to advance their career in the outdoor and active lifestyle industry?

MM: Ya gotta get out there – showing up is half the battle and never be above the task. Schlepping gear and long hours are a rite of passage – when you get into annual budget meetings and 3-year strategic planning you’ll long for a day in the shipping room.

Who has influenced you the most in your life?

MM: Whoa – that’s a big question…. Tons of people throughout different times in my life, of course my parents as they planted the seeds of a solid work ethic and encouraged me to travel which lead me to meet some amazing people around the world. I have to give props to Kim Walker and Mike Callas from outdoor Divas and my current boss Russell Rowell – all of whom believed in me and guided me with guard rails, not road blocks.

How would you describe the female hook & bullet customer in comparison to the outdoor female end user?

MM: Hook & bullet chix are tough, smart and know what they want – I don’t think they are too different then a serious female climber or backcountry skier. They want quality, fit and features from their gear for the job at hand.

How is your brand authentically marketing to these women?

MM: We started working with about a dozen female hunters last year to create the perfect hunting pack. We had them use and abuse our proto-type packs in the field giving us direct feedback that we took to the design table and re-engineered a pack that really was a women’s specific pack, that we called the Wild-Her. SJK_WildHerAmbassadorsWe tweaked the shoulder straps, the torso length, added waist pockets and developed a unique waste belt hook that allows for a greater range of adjustability as well as a more stream line fit. We just launched the pack and hope the rest of the female hunting market likes it as much as we do.

You are having a BBQ this weekend, what 4 people are you inviting and why?

MM: My husband Chad of course, he works for Oskar Blues and always brings the good beer and a good time! My little brother Reuel b/w he brings the steiz and he has a boat, along with keeping me up to date with what the kids are doing these days – all the snapping and such. My friends Susan and Jesse as they are always up for anything – plus they are both great cooks!

Favorite quote:

MM:  “Try not to become a woman of success but rather try to become a woman of value. ” 

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