This past Interbike I saved my vacation time and dollars for other things, leaving my coverage to be from industry friends and stalking the internet for worthwhile product to talk about. On return from Interbike a few female friends that work within the bicycle industry emailed or texted about the outrage from an article running in the daily version of Bicycle Retailer.

Booth Babes have a Hard Life

The attached scanned in version of the article talks about how difficult the job is. The women are paid between $100-500 a day, and are paid to “attempt to charm strangers and lure them into trade show booths by talking about products you know little about.”

As a woman in the industry that does know what she is talking about this insults me. Pretty faces and large breast may attract guys to the booths, I get that. The ways of marketing to guys isn’t something that bothers me, hell I even second the notion if it means you see more women in the industry supported.

There are Beautiful Women in the Industry

I could give you a list of a 100 women that either work or race within the bicycle industry that could compete in the “looks” category of the booth babes. Here’s a thought :

Hey Mr. Bike Industry Guy, if beautiful women attract people to your booth, why not support more women (that actually ride bikes) year around to attract more people in general to bicycles.

Think of that cute shop girl that sold you a tire a few weeks ago, or the mechanic with full sleeves that could kick your butt in the alley cat. These are the woman we need to turn into poster girls. I bet most women in the industry would be happy talking shop in a booth, to be paid for it would make it that much better.

That $2,000 you spent on the booth girl at Interbike could be spent sponsoring a well deserving female athlete to get to the next level.

Is it the Boobs or That They are Women?

Women are needed in the industry. I wish I could throw you a fancy fact about how women in the bike shop or at shows give off more participation but I can’t. Somewhere there must be one if companies are spending such large amounts of marketing cash for the booth babes at Interbike or Sea Otter.

A friendly, KNOWLEDGABLE,  woman with a contagious personality is going to attract all types of people to your booth, shop or company. Women tend not to be as intimidating to strangers, easier to approach and less cliche.  This isn’t always true but if you are a bicycle shop employee or consumer you have probably felt the “boys club” feeling when walking into a random bike shop.

This goes for booths as well. A bunch of guys in sweatshirts, tshirts and baggy cargo shorts, guys that could be super nice but not over the top welcoming, I would say this is 7 out of 10 booths at any show I’ve been at. If it isn’t sweatshirts and cargo shorts it is crisp polo’s and khakis that you feel they are above you, if you aren’t going to talk to the about Campy Super Record that they are waiting to put their nose up at you.

Look are Everything

Boobs sell, so do colors, smiles and warm welcomes. An early morning at Sea Otter, a booth with free coffee will have more traffic than any booth with tank top clad boobs. The Luna Chix team trailer at Sea Otter is always slammed. These women are friendly, gave away free food and took the time to talk to everyone interested. They are real women that come back from warm up laps muddy, that are well versed on the bikes they are riding and to me, are the best sales representatives for Orbea that you could ever have.

Find the Women

You want to attract people to your booth with boobs? Put out a call, place and ad for bicycle industry models or racers. Ship in some shop employees that already SELL your PRODUCT.

You want more people riding bikes? Put more women behind your product, on the front of your booth selling it, in the design meetings, on the sales calls, and so on.



  1. So…what this says to me, is that they are only interested in selling to men, and aren’t interested in the women’s market segment AT ALL. Because if they were, they’d hire attractive GUY models to lure women into the booth.

    And, if being attractive is all they want in a woman, it would make WAY more sense to hire one who is knowledgeable about bikes. I know plenty of women who are knowledgeable, take their cycling seriously, and are attractive. I can honestly say that I would be unlikely to be drawn in to look at a booth that featured scantily clad women…and I spend $$$ on my bike gear regularly. If the manufacturers don’t want my $$$, I’ll be happy to find someone who does…someone who takes a woman’s cycling needs seriously.

  2. I think you’ve found your next business. As you’ve pointed out the issue isn’t that there aren’t attractive, knowledgeable, and friendly women in the cycling industry.

    The issue is that the infrastructure already exists for the chief marketing officer for a product vendor to call order 2-3 women of whatever dimensions they feel already best reflects their product or desired market and have them on site for the conference.

    First use your vendor contacts to find an average rate for “booth babes”. Then build a site to drive traffic & applications (industry & racing experience + headshots + location) so when the next conference comes around a CMO knows who to call.

  3. Well said! As you may know, the technical term for using something irrelevant to your product in order to draw attention to it is “borrowed interest.”

    But in an industry like the bike biz, where people are already passionate about our products, having to create “borrowed interest” to get people into a your show booth is like having a big sign saying “our products are so crappy, we think the only way to get you to look at them is by grabbing your attention with some boobs first.”

  4. As article said earlier, the number of female models at bike shows has dropped alot. It is kind of sad to use an old technique of marketing attraction which has nothing to do with the product, which itself may not be great.

    While we are the subject, for the Tour de France stage race winners, we always have 2 lovely ladies who kiss the winner each time.

    TdFrance should do something really fun and different for each stage win jersey presentation for the race winner.

  5. Please compare this article to the one about Liz Hatch. I only skimmed it after seeing it floating on the right of this article. How can the athlete pimp herself and it be any different than these booth girls?

  6. Very good response! I was at Interbike and actually didn’t see as many booth babes as I expected. The article did annoy me. Instead of booth babes, I met a ton of hardworking ladies who do know what they’re talking about when it comes to bikes, and are excellent spokespersons for their brands. Aren’t they more worthy of an article?

    The bike industry keeps talking about how it wants more women customers, maybe we should celebrate the ones we already have.

  7. I prefer woman that are the girl next door type over the little sexpot look. Yes they are great to look at, but I prefer classy types. I’ve just never been the type of guy with my tongue hanging out at every shapely/sexy woman I see. Also I ride and promote recreational bicycling on paved trails through my website. I also do photography and videography. I really enjoy documenting fantastic and scenic trails. Excellent info here. I enjoyed. All the best.

  8. Very well written post and I agree 100%. Same thing happens in the ski industry. We can always use more girls/women that actually get out and ride and ski to represent the products and draw interest to BOTH male and female customers. Good job!

Leave a Reply