makita-girls-2015-WhatIt’s 2018, and I’m Still Wondering Where are the Real Makita Girls?

Back when I first published this post, I never thought I’d be resurrecting it from the archives. Then Simone Giertz shared this tweet and my anger and frustration at Makita boiled over again. The video Simone was referencing has been taken down by Makita, but here’s another upload of the Makita Girls behind the scenes video:

It’s been three years Makita, why are you still using the same tired marketing campaign? Your transparent attempts at finding spokeswomen who actually use power tools is laughable. My 14 year old son even pointed out that Miss Makita can’t actually build shelves with a sander. Sure, she can finish them with a sander, but any avid power tool user would not choose a sander as their favorite power tool (give me a recip saw or a sliding compound miter saw any day over a sander!)

In the three years that have passed since I was angered by Makita’s Miss and Senorita Makita campaign, I added four expensive power tools to my toolbox. And you know what? I consciously steered clear of the Makita brand because I don’t want to support a brand that objectifies women and doesn’t recognize that there are many of us that use power tools for more than “building shelves.”

Get it together Makita! It’s 2018, time to retire the women in bikinis and find a woman who gets her nails at the hardware store (not the salon.) There are so many women who can guide potential buyers to purchase tools based on their expert opinions. Let’s see this campaign retired or start searching for all the women makers, contractors and builders out there. Am I right?

This is my open letter to Makita in 2015:

Oh Makita, why did you have to go and do this?!

Makita announced its 2015 Makita Girls and where you can go to meet them. Initially, I reserved my opinion until I learned more about these new spokesmodels. But, after reading their bios, I was angered. Not a single mention of enjoying woodworking, building or carpentry. Where is the DIY love? What will they talk about at these appearances?  I’m disappointed that Makita would choose their spokesmodels for looks and not skills. And, I question their decision to maintain an advertising program that perpetuates the stereotype that only men use their tools.

Don’t they realize that they are alienating a huge growing market of DIY women? Would I have been offended if they selected an attractive woman who had Mad-DIY skills? Definitely not.

If they wanted beautiful women using tools, there is no shortage of kick ass female builders out there. This ever changing world of Do It Yourselfers is filled to the brim with amazing “Real Makita Girls.” Some of these women have the right to hold their Makita tools proudly. They can tell you the difference between a bevel and a miter; a cross cut vs. a rip cut and they know that brushless is a good thing and has nothing to do with long flowing locks of hair! These women choose quality tools that are strong enough to stand up to the current and future projects they are completing.

Am I angry? Yes! Am I going to stop using Makita tools? No, because frankly they make great tools. My Makita 10″ Compound Sliding Miter Saw is my baby:

Makita Girls | Pretty Handy Girl

It’s the first tool I’d truly cry over if it was stolen. This saw has been with me through 100’s of projects, a kitchen remodel and countless fixes. I have never had to adjust the laser or to square up the tool. It is a quality power saw made with aluminum and metal parts, not cheap plastic. But, despite my undying love for my Makita tools, their advertising tactics make me embarrassed to confess my love.

Do you want to help me change the search results right here and now? Let’s show Makita what a Real Makita Girl is. Please visit these accomplished builders and DIYers. Pin their images and title it “Real Makita Girl” or use the hashtag #RealMakitaGirls.

Makita Girls | Pretty Handy Girl
Sara Bendrick – Landscape Designer, Woodworker and DIYNetwork TV Host of I Hate My Yard


Makita Girls | Pretty Handy Girl
Kit – Blogger, Builder and Kick Ass DIYer at DIYDiva.net

Makita Girls | Pretty Handy Girl
Kim – Blogger, Builder and Creative Genius at TheKimSixFix.com

Hey, do you use Makita tools, too? If so, show me your…tools! (Email me pictures of yourself using your Makita tools, to PrettyHandyGirl (at) gmail.com. I’ll add your photo to this post.)  Let’s take over the search term “Makita Girls” and show them what a Real Makita Girl is!

#RealMakitaGirlsMary Hunnicutt another one of many #RealMakitaGirls

Cottage at the Crossroads #RealMakitaGirlsJane from Cottage at the Crossroads

In the meantime, I have to ask:

Makita, when you make awesome tools, why do you have to stoop to such slimy advertising tactics? The 1980’s called, and they want their tight spandex and scantily clad women back. Please remove the blinders and take notice of your growing customer base.  Women are shopping in the tool department. They are your consumers. They are smart and savvy. They want to purchase tools that will last. They want to hear about what makes a Makita tool great and why they should spend a little more to purchase a tool that won’t fall apart in a year or two.

A few weeks after this post was published in 2015: I spoke to Wayne Hart, the communications manager at Makita tools after this post initially published. We had a pleasant conversation and he seemed to understand my concerns about the Miss Makita and Senorita Makita models. I offered to let Mr. Hart make a statement to my readers but never heard back from him. In the meantime, the program has continued in 2016 and 2017, but I noticed that at least two of the models have used some of the tools outside the program. At least that’s some progress, right!? What do you think about tool companies continuing to use models as spokeswomen?

PHGFancySign

Disclosure: The opinions expressed in this post are my own. Sara, Kit, and Kim are DIY women I admire. They gave me permission to use their photos, but that doesn’t mean that they endorse what I have written in this post. 

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  1. Joshua
    Joshua says:

    I HEAR YA! Your point that Makita could easily choose attractive women to objectify in their advertising campaigns, who ACTUALLY use their products! YES I AGREE! Haha i know I know , that’s probably NOT EXACTLY how you intended it to come across but that’s my attempt at agreeing with your actual point while showing my continued support of the objectification of women in advertising to me (white American male = the most God Complex having being on earth). I’m a tradesman (3rd gen garage door man), and my family started our love affair with Makita in 1974 when my grandfather Smokey picked up the NEW AGE, ergonomically designed, lightweight (feels like 35lbs.) 1/2” corded impact driver with 25ft power cord in toe. I’ve seen these tools from that to the 14.4NiCad, to my current 18V 3-6AH 18v Li-Ion varieties I carry today. Point being, while they are sold at the ungodly big box orange store primarily, they are a true PRO TOOL BRAND. They’re not comparable to any of the junk HD/TDI sells to homeowners/DIY’ers under ryobi/rigid/(barf… USED to be a PRO brand) Milwaukee… no these are tradesman tools on par with eh DEWALT? I guess the list is narrowing… snap on/matco? (Those last two are more specialized pro brands and from reviews I’ve seen unfortunately those appear to have been reduced to belied homeowner brands in regards to quality BUT NEVER PRICE funny enough!). While women are being given more opportunities, have broken down more doors as of today and for the foreseeable future it’s likely the “trades” will continue to be majority males. For my taste, most of the younger hires I’ve trained that pass for “men” I’d happily trade for a woman like yourself that actually KNOW how to use the tools, and buy them to put in work and NOT make sure the tool looks as pretty at the end of the year as they did on their “unboxing” hahaha. I’m born in ‘84 raised by car calling old school construction workers. I’m also a millennial , and I’ve taken my family’s company from mapbooks & hand written receipts to iPhone carrying, digital invoice sending, “it’s all in the cloud/let me check my Mac” garage door men, and with that I’m open to being as forward thinking and as adaptable as the market/people I care about (WIFE/QUEEN included) demand. So more power to you, but until their single largest group of customers demographics change I don’t see How’d anyone would expect their advertising that works will change? Being women won’t be the single largest buying group for eons to come, I hope to continue to see the Mamacitas of Makita in ads so they have SOME excuse to overcharge me for their products.

    Reply
  2. Brian
    Brian says:

    Why do pin up girls bother you so much? So what if I want to display a poster in my garage with a beautiful Woman and my favorite brand of tools. Should the models not have a job or what is it? Do you ladies want a Makita Man Model, would that make it far? Why take from us?

    Reply
  3. Carrie Hays
    Carrie Hays says:

    Brittany, I love this. Maybe we should start a campaign for real Dewalt women. They make some pretty kick ass tools, too!

    Reply
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