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It’s 2018, and I’m still wondering Where are the Real Makita Girls?

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?


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. 

133 replies
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  1. Vikkie - The Carpenter's Daughter
    Vikkie - The Carpenter's Daughter says:

    Completely agree.. What a ridiculous campaign. It’s hard to be taken seriously when they feature women like this with hardly anything on. I’ll send you a pic of me and my Makita router soon! I’d much more appreciate it if they worked with real female DIY bloggers like us!

  2. Susan Bartenfeld
    Susan Bartenfeld says:

    I am 100% with you!! It’s a shame that ALL advertisers have lumped us women into a sizeI 0 to a 2!! I am by far NOT a 2 but love my DIY’s and my power tools!! Maybe the “stacked beauties” are NOT a threat to the average man’s manliness, like a REAL woman would be! Thank GOD I have a man who is NOT threaten by my love of DIY and power tools!! If these companies knew just how many REAL women used their tools, maybe they’d get REAL women to pose in their ads, and see just how much their sales would go up!!!

  3. Guerrina
    Guerrina says:

    Cheryl, that was exactly my thought.

    Makita is losing out on a large population of buyers because these ads market to men only, and for men (a generalization), sex sells. The models allow themselves to be objectified by agreeing to be part of the campaign. What a change if they refused to be used like that! I agree that if Makita did a 180, they be happily surprised.

    I would love to be able to afford Makita. A master woodworker/craftsman recommended Makita to me as it fits better in small hands like mine and since he was missing several fingers (birth defects), he knew what he was talking about.

  4. Karin
    Karin says:

    Thank you so much for standing up to this! Everytime I go to a hardware store with my husband and ask someone a question they start talking to him. Problem is, he doesn’t have a clue. So annoying! At least I have raised two awesome boys who know to come to Mom when they need something built or fixed.

  5. Jaime Costiglio
    Jaime Costiglio says:

    Oh Miss Makita if you only knew – a sander would be the last tool anyone who uses power tools would pick as their favorite. Sanding is definitely near the bottom of the fun things DIYers enjoy doing. So ridiculous. Thanks Brittany for pulling this refresh, I’ll be sharing.

  6. mary
    mary says:

    It is sad that in 2018, where there are so many amazing female builders: You, Jen Woodhouse, Erin Spain, Sara from Ugly Duckling House, just to name a few, (I could go on for much longer) that a brand like Makita can’t reach out to those ladies to be a spokes model. My Makita Drill/Driver set was the first legit tools that I purchased for myself when we started our basement reno and they are still going strong after 3 years of heavy use. We have since bought a few other Makita tools< because they are great quality. But they need to get with the program and recognize that scantily clad women is not the answer. Thank you for bringing this back to the forefront and including my pic from way back when!

  7. Cheryl
    Cheryl says:

    That advertisement is geared toward men. It has nothing to do with trying to market to women and they could care less if it offends women. I think it’s a silly advertisement but the men probably didn’t hear a word they said. haha

  8. Mary Barber
    Mary Barber says:

    I couldn’t agree more! For some reason certain companies, be they tools, toothpaste, automobiles or whatever seem to think sex sells. I am deeply offended. I have been using tools for years and will continue to as long as my body holds out, BTW, I will be 77 in July. Another thing I am offended by is (don’t know the brand) a company selling pink tools for ‘girls’…give me a break! I love getting down and dirty and doing some real work with real tools. Whew! now I feel better!

  9. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    My daddy had a gas station when I was a kid and I was always confused why the calendar for motor oil had pictures of ladies in bikinis. I asked him and he got rid of them all. That was 1960 or so.
    Things haven’t changed enough. I’m glad you’re doing this.

  10. Colleen Taylor
    Colleen Taylor says:

    I remember your original Makita post Brittany from years ago. Where are these people from that have such lame marketing videos with these women?!? This is disrespectful to women in general and yeah, the 1980’s did call & want those ridiculous looking outfits back. These women appear and speak as if they don’t have a brain in their heads. How embarrassing for a company to market this way.

  11. Pat
    Pat says:

    I have real power tools and know how to use them. I have impressed former boyfriends and handymen with my tools – power and hand tools. Makita’s marketing needs to move into 2018 and recognize their own biases and adjust their marketing to be more inclusive. Females spend money for their own tools and as gifts but marketing such as this will impact buying decisions. .

  12. Nicole
    Nicole says:

    I am not a DYI-er – I came from a different world when girls took home ec and could be secretaries, nurses, and teachers. My grand-daughters have opportunities to do things I never did. To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King: I look forward to the day when my six grand-daughters will be judged, not by how much skin they can show, but by how much they can do!

  13. Jenny@SingleGirl'sDIY
    Jenny@SingleGirl'sDIY says:

    This is so disappointing. Thanks for sharing. I think you’re completely right that Makita is missing out on a big group of savvy buyers. I just went to my garage to check if any of my power tools were Makita, so I could send you a pic. None of them are, but after this, I’m OK with that.

  14. Allison
    Allison says:

    Holy quotableness (yup, totally made that up)! “A woman gets her nails at the hardware shop not the salon”! That needs to be a sign for sure girlfriend!

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