Designers of New Police Gear for Women at SHOT Show

Her Blue WearAs anyone who has had to wear one probably already knows, uniforms aren’t always, well…uniform.  Actually, a better way to put that would be to say that uniforms are too uniform for the diversity of bodies that need to be put inside them.  “One size fits all” doesn’t always hold true and “unisex” gear often makes too many compromises on both sides to serve either one very well.

These issues can result in the wearer being uncomfortable, which can often be quite a nuisance.   In the case of people who may be wearing their uniforms in life-or-death situations, having to deal with gear fit issues can be much worse than just a nuisance.

Cleveland Ohio business partners Denise Czack and Tanya Sirl recognized this issue with uniforms for female police officers and decided to so something about it by creating the Her BlueWear Uniforms company.  Her BlueWear Uniforms takes a big step in helping to provide the right gear for the right job to female officers.  In addition to this, Her BlueWear Uniforms is giving back by donating a portion of their profit to Safe Call Now, an organization which provides a confidential crisis referral resource for local, state, and federal public safety  employees, including law enforcement officers, first responders, firefighters and their families nationwide.

Denise and Tanya are at the 2012 SHOT Show and GunLink had a chance to ask them a few questions.

 

GunLink:  Hello, ladies.  Tell me about yourselves.  Are you both police officers?

Denise Czack:  I’m an Entrepreneur who has a background of 20+ years in sales and marketing.  I’ve assisted in start-up and am excited that my energy is now in my own company.

Tanya Sirl:  I am a uniform patrol Sergeant. My career as a LEO goes back to dispatch 23 years ago but I have been a sworn officer for going on 14 now. I have a range of certifications and specialties but my heart is on the road in U.P.

 

GL:  Tell me about your company, Her BlueWear Uniforms.

DC:  Uniform manufacturers only pay attention to the fact that law enforcement is a predominately male profession.  Our market could be referred to as, “The Good Old Boys Club”.  The key differentiator is that Her BlueWear Uniforms is not a unisex company.  Female officers having to spend the time and money altering their uniforms is a thing of the past.  We are dedicated to listening to the needs of our customers.  We will get each fit right.  Our goal is to help supply the right tools so that women can perform properly in their occupation.  Women no longer have to deal with the old way of doing things.  Designed by the women who wear them daily and capitalizing on the owner’s background in law enforcement.

 

GL: How did you come up with the idea for a womens-only line of law enforcement apparel?

DC:  This company was birthed from a night out meeting my sister for a dinner. When she arrived I asked her how her day was, and that is how this all started.  My sister Tanya, a police officer, had explained how she was chasing a bad guy, hopped a fence in pursuit and ripped her pants completely open, having to go through the whole arrest with her butt hanging out and of course the guys in the department commenting on her thong.  Once returning to the station Tanya called all of the major manufacturers complaining about all the different flaws to the product that  needed to be changed.  The response was “too bad, you’re not a big enough market for us.”  After telling me this story it lit me on fire and my life has not been the same.  Telling me no, it can’t be done, realizing all the safety risk, my attitude was “watch me.”

TS:   Tell a woman she can’t and watch what happens.

 

GL:  How long has Her BlueWear Uniforms been around?

DC:  November 6th 2007 was the night Tanya and I had met for dinner and my research started November 7th.  July of 2010 Her BlueWear Uniforms has been labeled a CHAMPION by the “Civic Innovation Lab” and awarded a grant to seed the company.  After receiving the grant is where I dedicated all my time into making a difference.

 

GL:  What are some of the problems that women face with current LEO apparel and gear?

 TS:  Nothing is made with a woman’s body in mind.  And the people designing the uniforms are men.  I am tired of wearing men’s cloths and attempting to make them fit because no one wants to take the time and effort to change the pattern of a pair of pants when a woman is buying them.   The gear is just as hard.  It is all designed for men.  From bulletproof vests that either look like Madonna is wearing them or smash a woman’s chest to bike helmets that do not account for a pony tail.  I don’t look in any way like a man and do not need to in order to do this job.  So I need the tools that fit me, not me fitting the tools.

 

GL: How do these issues effect an officer’s ability to perform their job comfortably and efficiently? : How does Her BlueWear Uniforms help solve those problems?

HBW provided the following to explain some of the issues with current uniform gear and how their new uniforms help solve them:

Her BlueWear Uniform Fit

Current Uniform

Conforming to the Current Uniform

Her BlueWear Uniforms
The current uniform pants are designed with a seven-inch long zipper

  • Causes the holster to ride up into the rib cage creating an uncomfortable and unnatural draw of an officer’s firearm
  • Bullet-proof vest fits too high exposing more of the abdomen verses a man’s fit
How do women cope with this flaw in design?

  • Shrug their pants down so they have a more natural feel to the fit of the pant
  • Purchasing men’s pants because the zipper is ½ inch shorter, resulting in a better fit
  • Repetitive draw practice because of positioning
Lowering the waistline by 2 inches

  • Automatically puts the weapon at a natural place for access
  • The majority of the gun belt’s weight is placed on a woman’s natural center of gravity allowing better balance and less risk of injury
  • Reduces the undue pull on her lower back muscles and spine as well as possible bruising of her hipbone
  • The bulletproof vest covers more of the women’s vital organs

 

GL: I understand that Her Blue Wear has not yet hit the shelves, is that correct?

DC:  We are currently fine tuning our product on women in the field.

 

GL:  When will Her Blue Wear be available for purchase?

DC: Manufacturing is wrapping and we will be announcing the launch of our product in the beginning of February

 

GL:  Wow, that’s coming right up.  I imagine that the price is much better than having uniform apparel custom tailored.

DC:  Women will pay a modest extra for quality, convenience, comfort, safety, and an all-around better product Women currently pay anywhere from $40 to $145 for uniform pants and an additional $8 to $22 to alter their pants in some way.  Our price point for HBWU pants is $72.  By eliminating the alteration step to our customer, we will be saving them the hassle, time and additional spending.  By providing our potential customers with exactly what they want and developing a high-quality customized product that fills the void in the market, we will increase our chance for success.

 

GL:  How does Her Blue Wear LEO apparel and gear compare to other, off-the-shelf items?

TS:  Nothing about a police uniform is flattering or comfortable, honestly.  They are however a necessity.  When I have tried on a pair of pants off the rack in the past I had to always think, “Could I make these work? What do I have to have altered to wear them?”  You won’t have to think about anything like that in our pants. Anything we make will be that way.

 

GL:  Which Her BlueWear Uniforms items will become available first?

DC: Class B uniforms

 

GL:  What items do you hope to produce in the future?

DC: Design flaws carry throughout the entire uniform where, again, women need to conform.  We are VERY excited about the direction and the challenges we will be addressing for women in public safety.

TS:   Yes, we don’t want to give anything away, but female LEOs should be watching for new products. It is so nice to have someone who listens and then actually makes the changes we have asked for, literally for years.

 

GL:  Are you exhibiting your products at the SHOT Show this year, or just attending?

DC:  We’re attending this year.

 

GL:  How did you hear about the SHOT Show?

DC: Our sourcing manager has spent many years in the industry.  He had suggested last year that it would be to our advantage to attend.

 

GL:  Can we expect to see you exhibiting here next year?

DC:  Absolutely we will be an exhibitor at the Shot Show for 2013.  Before then you will see us at the IACP 2012 in San Diego

 

GL:  How can people find out more about Her Blue Wear products?

DC:  Follow us on: Facebook @ Her BlueWear Uniforms, Twitter @ HerBlueWear and visit us at  www.herbluewear.com and we can be reached at info@herbluewear.com

 

GL:  Thanks for your time.  Enjoy the show and best of luck with the new business!

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