Michele Eichler has a term for the early days of Muzzy Broadheads.
“We call those the tomato sandwich years,” said Michele, who started working for her father John Mussacchia when he started Muzzy in 1984.
In the early years, the small team behind Muzzy worked their hearts out to get the company off the ground, and Michele did a bit of everything for the company.
“I remember sitting on my bed at night putting broadheads together,” said Michele. “We skipped paychecks. We did what we had to do.”
That investment paid off. Bowhunters gravitated to the unique, super-strong, bad-to-the-bone broadheads, helping build Muzzy into one of bowhunting’s most recognizable brands.
After her father’s passing in 1996, Michele became Muzzy’s CEO — establishing her role as a business leader in a male-dominated industry.
“Did I realize I was kind of a rare species? I did, but I never felt any added pressure,” she said. “I always felt very accepted.”
Michele credits her father with empowering her.
“He never looked at somebody based on race or gender,” she said. “It was all based on ability.”
Michele’s ability has taken her to professional heights, including a long tenure on the board of the Archery Trade Association and a stint as the only female chairman of the board. As Muzzy grew, the company moved from its roots in the Florida Keys — where Michele’s mother still lives in the family’s longtime home — to Gainesville, Fla., and then to Atlanta. The family sold Muzzy in 2012.
By then, Michele was living in Colorado with her husband, Fred Eichler. The two met in 1984, when the business was in Gainesville and Fred was working in a local archery shop, and married in the early 2000s. Today the couple runs a hay-production company, a modest cattle operation and Fulldraw Outfitters.
Fred is well-known for his TV appearances on Predator Nation and The Outfitters as well as for hosting Easton Bowhunting, on which Michele is a frequent guest. The couple’s 12-year-old son, Trent, will get some air time this season, having finally reached legal big game hunting age in Colorado.
“It wasn’t like one day we decided we were going to have a TV show,” Michele said. Fred was asked if he’d be willing to host a pilot episode of Easton Bowhunting, and things took off from there as Fred and Michele’s down-to-earth personalities resonated with viewers.
The family doesn’t change who they are when the cameras are on, Michele said. “Basically, our life as it is, is on TV. If the show wasn’t running, nothing would change in the Eichler household. We’re not trying to play something we’re not.”