What woman doesn't want to pack heat in a pretty purse?
Leslie Deets, co-owner of the gun range SharpShooters USA in Roswell, says as women started reacting to headlines and becoming more gun-savvy, buying and learning to use weapons, she added the range’s concealed carry and defensive handgun classes to her own schedule so she could better represent them to their customers. Then, she started to notice something.
"The women were coming in either with firearms strapped to their bodies--which I'm not comfortable with--or they were bringing them in what was available on the market, in these very unattractive concealed carry options and handbags," says Deets.
She started looking around, and found there was nothing that was modern, fashionable and functional for the stylish woman who wanted to carry her gun with her.
"So therefore, I wasn't carrying a firearm. I was leaving it in the car or at home, which doesn't do me a whole lot of good if I needed it in an emergency," she says.
Deets began researching popular handbag trends, taking inspiration from lines ranging from Coach to Michael Kors, and from what everyday women were carrying.
"When a woman is carrying a firearm, she doesn't want everyone to know it," says Deets. "So that was the main objective--to find something that didn't scream 'concealed carry' and was fashionable."
"Concealed Carrie" was launched. Its motto: Firearms, Fashion, Fabulous.
She designed bags with separate, Velcro-holstered compartments, which keep the pistol from bouncing around in a handbag with keys, a phone, a tablet, or whatever else might be inside a busy woman’s bag. They're usable for right- or left-handed women. They hit the market just before December, she says. From pumpkin tasseled totes to brown hobos to ostrich-printed computer bags, the items are often now back-ordered--as hard to find as some bullets. Some styles have proven so popular, she's adding more colors to the range. With a side zippered slit allowing easy access to the weapon, Deets says you can even shoot through the purse, if you had to.
"We've told people that if that ever happens and they can produce to us a police report stating that they used their bag to protect themselves in an emergency, we'll replace it for free," says Deets.
Deets tells WSB that she's now looking into branching out into clothing. She points out, the woman who's out, say, walking her dog wouldn't be carrying a purse, so she wants to design something casual, maybe a Concealed Carrie denim jacket, for that. And men have been asking her to create something stylish for them, too. Big box retailers are interested in Concealed Carrie, and she says Overstock.com has already picked up the line. Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops are also eyeing the handbags. This kind of success is what she was hoping for when she created the line, she says, adding that women can empower themselves while enhancing their wardrobe.
"It's been very exciting," says Deets.