Huntin, Fishin & Mommin Everyday
Hunter, Angler, Mother and Business Owner: Kari Irby
Kari Irby, co-owner and creator of Hen Outdoors, loves being outside, but she does not love shopping at sporting goods stores for apparel. While guys fill their closets with duck hunting, deer hunting, and fishing t-shirts from those stores, there just isn't a wide selection of women’s outdoorsy casual clothing.
“The shirts you do find are always kind of boring and pink,” said Kari. “I decided if I can't find what I'm looking for, then I'll just make it myself.”
As with many things, that was easier for her to say than do. Kari cares for her two kids and manages the business largely by herself. Even sitting at the computer can be a challenge, as her 18-month old daughter climbs into her lap and starts “helping” her type.
Kari hunting geese while 8 months pregnant
“I've perfected the art of typing with one hand and holding my daughter with the other or walking around holding my laptop while working,” she said. “Owning and managing Hen Outdoors can be stressful, but so rewarding at the same time.” Gig It Girl - Frog Gigging Shirt
Kari’s reward comes from encouraging girls to play in the mud, take a fish off the hook, and learn gun safety. Hen Outdoors is Kari’s way of combining a passion for hunting and fishing with a sense of humor, showing that sportswomen don’t have to be serious to be taken seriously.
“I want women to feel proud that they hunt and fish,” said Kari. “I want young girls and women to wear their passions on their sleeve.”
Unlike most hunters, Kari wasn’t raised hunting. But eight years ago, a trip through the rocky mountains permanently shifted her relationship with wild game. While staying with a family of hunters, she fell in love with the lifestyle of harvesting wild game that lived happy, healthy lives roaming freely in well-managed habitats.
Kari with a turkey harvested in Northern California
Kari has been a passionate outdoorswoman who is constantly growing and learning. Whether she is bow fishing for carp, hunting for turkey, or gigging for bullfrogs, she feels blessed to witness the amazing sights nature has to offer. Waterfowl Leggings “Being a stay at home mom, I don't get much time for myself,” said Kari. “I can’t hunt and fish every single weekend, so when I can slip away for a while, I cherish it.”
Kari continues to surround herself with people who understand and support her pursuits, including her soulmate Ryley, whom she has learned a lot from. She can’t wait until her two children are old enough to regularly enjoy adventures with her. Someday soon, she hopes to hunt elk for the first time. "Elk is hands down the best meat I've ever tasted and it would be so incredible to go back to what got me hunting in the first place." said Kari. "To harvest my own elk, would mean to come full circle, and it would be a serious dream come true!"
In the meantime, she will continue to counteract the “pink it and shrink it” culture at most sportsmen’s stores while providing outdoors girls
with unique and inspiring apparel options.
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