Ordering for the Mother Load

With Mother’s Day approaching and women said to be driving sales in hardware stores across the country, AHJ looks at female-friendly tool offerings.

According to December issue report in Hardware Retailing magazine, hand and power tools gift purchases in the US were mostly driven by female shoppers during 2009. The top five home improvement-related categories purchased as a gift in the fourth quarter of 2009 were drills, screwdrivers, barbecue grills, wrenches and measuring tools. What the report didn’t specify was whether those women were buying for men, for other women or even themselves. Nor did it offer reasons for why women bought those products. Were they buying them to encourage husbands and boyfriends to fix things around the house, for example, or were they making these purchases because the recipient had them on his or her Christmas list?

One statement AHJ has often heard is that women are driving sales in hardware stores, particularly in the big box format. It’s clear that more women are passing through the doors of hardware stores than there used to be, and to ignore that trend is to ignore potential profits. With Mother’s Day ordering approaching, now is perhaps the perfect time to address that. To that end, we researched what tools – hand, power or garden – out there in Supply Land might be suitable for women. What we found was that in some cases, the visual impact or product name suggested an obvious marketing slant towards women. In other cases the weight, moulding or power output might be skewed towards female physiology. No doubt we haven’t covered every tool that’s out there, but what follows should be a good start to get you thinking about what your store could be stocking in preparation for Mother’s Day on May 8.

Power Tools

Designing tools using ‘feminine’ colours such as pink or purple, etc used to be more common than it currently is. One that still does isRokPower Tools, which manufactures pink 12V cordless drills and 380W electric drills under the Her Drill brand, and a pink 550W hedge trimmer kit under the Her Trimmer brand.

Hitachiphased its range of pink tools out several years ago. What it still has is a lightweight drill that tips the scales at just one kilogram. The DS10DFL is easy to use and doesn’t hurt a woman’s arm or wrist from being heavy or too powerful, something that is enhanced via an ergonomic, soft grip handle that reduces user fatigue.

Boschproduces a number of compact, lightweight tools for DIY divas. The IXO Screwdriver fits snugly into the palm of a hand and can be easily stored in a kitchen cupboard or closet. The Easy Class Bosch PST 700 E Compact Jigsaw is ideal for novices wanting to build a decorative bird house or shelving unit. Bosch claims that it is 21% smaller and 15% lighter than comparable tools. For home decorations, Bosch’s PLL 5 Laser Spirit Leveller makes crooked picture hanging a thing of the past.

Metabo suggested its PowerMaxx 12 Li-Ion Cordless Screwdriver and a Cordless 5” Li-Ion Grinder as suitable tools for women. The PowerMaxx 12’s three-in-one capability of drilling, screwing and (in the case of the PowerMaxx 12 Pro) right-angle drilling makes one wonder how they keep its weight down to 0.9kg. Rubber, ergonomic grip handles have also been added for extra comfort. The 125mm disk diameter on Metabo’s W18 LTX cordless grinder delivers over 30% more cuts than the competition. Add in a four-position rotatable battery pack, removable external dust filter, quick change lock nut, restart and overload protection, as well as a new 3.0Ah capacity Extreme lithium-ion battery pack, and there’s some serious grunt involved.

Black & Decker’s KS880ec takes the hard work out of sawing through timber, pipes and steel in the same way that the GK1000-XE Powered Lopper Alligator sinks its teeth into wood cutting – by using power and innovation. The GK1000’s clamping jaws grab onto timber for better control and accuracy, and the dual switching safety feature means both hands must be on the handles for the unit to work. Other lightweight, simple-to-use Black & Decker power tools for women include the cordless BST2018 line trimmer and Mouse KA168 sander, which fits into the palm of the hand.

Ozito power tools are sold exclusively through Bunnings, which attracts perhaps the largest female customer base among hardware retail outlets. Its LIP-010 10.8V Li-Ion Cordless Drill and screwdriver is another that weighs around the 1kg mark and can be stored inside a kitchen cupboard for odd jobs around the home.

After identifying the increasing demand for sturdy but light stapling tools, particularly for the increasing number of female DIYers, Arrow released the JT21CM Staple Gun for household use. Featuring an extremely comfortable hand contoured handle, stylish all-chrome finish and a durable trouble-free jam proof mechanism, the JT21CM was specifically developed to help the less ‘macho’ show their creative flair while upholstering, mending the curtains or hanging pictures.

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