I love attention to detail. It’s all those “little” things that people may not even consciously notice that, to me, are signs of true passion and dedication to a cause, to a business, and to a product. So it’s no wonder that I was immediately attracted to the beautifully crafted, luxury designs from Beau + Arrow and instantly drawn to designers—and cousins—Betty Yen and Iris Yen, who create fashion-forward, concealed-carry handbags out of their Los Angeles-based design house.
Beau + Arrow’s website launched officially a few months ago, on January 20, 2015, to coincide with the kickoff of SHOT Show, and it created quite a buzz among the female community. Numbers of women in the industry had a chance to get some one-on-one time with Betty and Iris and get a firsthand, first peek at their eight sleek and stylish designs. Available in a variety of sizes and colors, from maroon and earthy brown to white and classic black, there’s sure to be a look that will fit your style and your needs for everyday carry.
The new Beau + Arrow collection definitely showcases the designers’ love of fashion. Having worked with luxury fashion houses such as Diane Von Furstenberg, Ralph Lauren, and Nicole Miller, this family-run business has truly created statement pieces that could rival their brand-name counterparts. (After all, as Iris joked, Louis Vuitton is never going to make a concealed-carry purse!) Manufactured at the same location as Michael Kors’ products, most of the softer leather, called American Charmeuse, comes from Texas, with the harder Kobe leather coming from Japan. It not only looks beautiful, it feels wonderful. I was amazed at the smoothness and the durability of the material, and I loved checking out all the compartments, zippers, handles, nameplates, closures, and other aesthetically beautiful details. Some gals are going to want to have these purses just to carry…not even to conceal carry! And they’d be great options for toting extra magazines, pepper spray, a taser, a backup gun, or any other defensive tool.
The team at Beau + Arrow clearly has a love, understanding, and respect for firearms, as well, and they have really done their homework. These aren’t just pretty purses. Each style is named after celebrated women in the industry and features ambidextrous access to a separate compartment for a firearm. The Yens tried using 17 different kinds of guns inside each bag, practiced with the purses at the shooting range, conducted stress tests for durability with 65 pounds, and consulted with lots of men and women in the industry. In fact, as their website shares, the “design genius behind [their] safe and secure concealed carry compartments and holsters is Grant LaVelle, who served in the United States Marine Corps and in law enforcement in a variety of roles…and founded the tactical training program, Maximum Life Expectancy.”
It’s always inspiring to learn about the origins of a great, new product and to hear the passion and the professionalism of fellow females in the firearms industry. I had a wonderful time talking to these two wonderful ladies, trying the handbags, quizzing them about their designs, and sharing thoughts from a carrying mom’s point of view. And I’m looking forward to what’s in store from the Yen family. Of course, Iris and Betty did provide some hints, so be looking for their second line to launch sometime this fall. They plan to include a cleverly matched pepper spray tassel in their new collection, once again showing their keen eye for fashion and for functionality.