Women in Business

Diane Cutler, Bryson City Bicycles

wib bicyclesDiane Cutler, Co-owner Bryson City Bicycles. Board Member – Nantahala Area Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association. www.brysoncitybicycles.com

Smoky Mountain News: What do you think about being part of the female business sector?

Diane Cutler: You know, I never really think of it as anything special. Whether it’s female-run or male-run, it’s still hard work, something I’m going to do, and do it to the best of my ability. Like for most people coming up to our area these days, it’s about starting a business and creating your own life here. 

SMN: What do you think when you look at the landscape of mountain biking these days?

DC: There’s a big push to get more female riders. The bike industry, off-road and on, is mostly men. They’re male-dominated sports. When we attended a mountain bike industry conference recently in Las Vegas, women probably made up one in 10 in the crowd. In terms of the business side of things, I’d say about 10 to 20 percent of our customers are female. But, it’s also a great time to be a female rider, because we’re really seeing the scales tip in female involvement.

SMN: Being part of the local SORBA chapter, you’re also doing a lot of work to attract female riders.

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DC: We have a weekly women’s ride on Wednesdays, where we switch between the trails at the Tsali Recreation Area and the trails behind Western Carolina University. The rides are growing, where we now have up to 12 riders or more each week. 

SMN: And what does that say to you, that increasing interest?

DC: Recently, we did a casual survey and found that most women didn’t ride either because they were busy raising their children or they felt intimidated riding with men. But, with these female rides, we’re changing that. I had a woman come through our doors not just because we’re a bike shop, but because there was a woman working behind the counter, and that gave her the confidence to realize biking is something she can do. To me, that makes it all worthwhile, that just my physical presence gets women out riding. 

SMN: Any advice about starting your own business?

DC: I think when it comes to business in general, some might say, “Oh, you don’t want to run a business,” as if only a special type of person could run a business. As they say, there’s no secret to success. It’s a result of planning, hard work and learning from your failures. If you can do that, anybody can do it. It’s hard work, period.

Editor’s Note: Bryson City Bicycles recently won “Best Mountain Bike Shop” at the 2015 Interbike Award Show in Las Vegas.

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