About a year ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Ashley Malfitano at our USCCA Expo. She is one of many women who inspire me and so many others with her entrepreneurial spirit and desire to help women learn, train and grow. One way Malfitano has already made an impact on the 2A community is by starting Kinsey Rhea, a concealed carry bag company. I wanted to pick her brain a bit about that journey and about her goals for the future. Check out our conversation, below, and check out more from at KinseyRhea.com

What got you started in the 2A community? 

During my journey of starting to carry, I fully learned what my rights are as a citizen. Then came the desire to protect those rights. I searched out female-led 2A groups that I identified with and felt were representing me as a woman. My parents had shown me when I was growing up that you must be an advocate for freedoms because anything can be taken away. I felt the need to connect with other female 2A advocates so that the voice of advocating for our rights would grow louder. As mom always says, “Someone has to stand up for what’s right. It is not easy, but someone has to.”

What prompted you to start Kinsey Rhea? (Why did you choose to focus on CCW bags?) 

I started Kinsey Rhea out of a desire to see concealed carry bags that I would buy on the shelf at retailers and a brand that I felt spoke to me as a modern concealed carrying woman … a brand that I felt like I could connect with. Kinsey Rhea was started in the late 2000s, manufacturing concealed carry bags and other women’s accessories in Muddy Girl camo.

In late 2019, right before the 2020 election, my sister and I decided to get our concealed carry licenses. We both felt the need to start caring due to increasing tensions in both of the cities that we lived in. My sister was a law school student in a large city known for violence. I was a mom who lived in a large city, and I was growing more fearful about being out in public with my children.

There is a quote that I love, “To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another.” So I decided to not let myself spin around with the fear, but to use it to take action and equip myself. I got my concealed carry license and purchased my first handgun. I would like to note, I grew up around guns. My husband and I had guns in our home. But I had never bought a gun myself. Going through the entire process of researching a gun that was a fit for myself was so invigorating.

What differentiates you/your company/your bags from others?

The difference between us and others is that we WANT to [interact] with our customers. We want to hear from her. What does she like, what does she dislike, what does she need when it comes to concealed carry? This information challenges us to develop products geared toward the female who carries. It was through feedback at a tradeshow that we got the idea for our newest product, our concealed carry purse insert.

Do you have a favorite product you currently offer (which one/why is it your favorite)?

Currently my favorite concealed carry purse in our collection is the Rissa. It is a concealed carry crossbody that fits my active mom lifestyle perfectly. It’s fashionable in design, and I am able to change out my strap to match the current holidays, but it’s also functional in the safety designs with pockets that allow me to easily access items in my purse. I love the slim design and the 9X9 conceal carry pocket on the back that allows me to carry my full-sized handgun or a compact handgun. I love the hot pink lining of the bag. So often the inside lining of a bag is dark, making it hard to find items in your purse. This is a red flag in situational awareness when in public, so we made it with hot pink lining, offering a bright contrast between what is in your purse and the inside of the purse.

What goals do you hope to accomplish through your work?

One goal is to be a beacon of information for the women who are starting to carry concealed. From my own personal experience, it can be so intimidating. We have built out our blog on our website and YouTube channel as a friendly place where women can learn, engage and connect. But the biggest goal is mostly developing concealed carry products that are specifically designed for women’s needs. We are built differently, carry differently and engage in our day to day lives differently than men. And my ultimate goal is to see products on shelves that address that.