[ Guest post by Helen Jaquess. ]
As a young, Southeast Texas girl, there were always guns in the house, and I was used to shooting and hunting. My brother and I were taught early how to shoot safely and the dangers of what a gun can do when not properly handled. So, finding myself in the gun industry was an easy transition from years of a 9 to 5 job.
I started working gun shows in 1992, selling several products, including gun purses made in Mexico. Sales did very well, but after trying many times to make the distributors understand what my customers needed and wanted, I felt that I needed to deal with only American products.
In doing gun shows every weekend, I run across men and women from all over the country. I love talking to new people that are just starting out, not knowing what they want in a gun, or how to carry it concealed.
Sarah Lapere started Feminine Protection Handbags in the early 80s. As a Dallas reserve officer, she saw a need for a convenient way for a gun to be carried hidden, with easy access. I started selling her purses in late 1997. I had been getting her product back in the public for months when Sarah asked if I would buy her company. Sarah had been ill for some time and really needed to get out of the business. I purchased Feminine Protection Handbags in April, 1998. I was excited that I could now make the products that my customers were asking to carry!!
I have kept the same, fine quality that made Sarah’s name known in the gun industry. Most of the styles are the same, but I have added my own designs and new details in order to keep our products fresh for today’s fast changing fashion.
In doing gun shows every weekend, I run across men and women from all over the country. I love talking to new people that are just starting out, not knowing what they want in a gun, or how to carry it concealed. Even if they do not buy from me, I want them to leave my tables with the knowledge that I feel is required to safely carry a concealed gun and knowledge of all the different carry options that are out there for them.
Carrying a gun safely concealed is as important as learning to shoot properly. Just “stuffing” a gun into any purse is not the best way to access a gun in a hurry. I asked the ladies,” To protect your gun, it needs to be in a case, which will probably be at the bottom of your purse. Are you going to say to your perpetrator, ‘stay right there while I dig for my gun in this purse, and when I do get it out, I am going to shoot you’?” I ask the customer, “Do you think you will be safe during this time?”
I also explain why the purses I make have short shoulder straps. A purse with the shoulder strap across the chest is an invitation to pull you down from the back. At that point, the lady, the purse and the gun are totally out of control! Only when you can put a shirt or jacket over the shoulder strap, would I ever recommend wearing a purse strap across the chest. The best carry position is close, under the arm, in order to secure the purse tightly, for quicker access.
The Concealment Shop, Inc. manufactures not only Feminine Protection Handbags, but also attaches, the Conceal ‘n Draw belt (known as a belly band that carries a gun under clothing, for cross or strong draw, that is for left- or right-handed people), plus vests for men and women to safely carry a concealed gun. The vests are made in denim or any color leather. Denim vests can be made in black, blue, khaki, and a new “cowboy camo.”
Working with lawyers taught me how to get along with different kinds of people.
Since 1993, I have sold the best pistol pack on the market today. Made by Anderson Enterprises in Northern California, the AE packs have been on the gun market longer than others that claim they “originated” the “gun pack.” The AE packs are completely American made and come with a lifetime warranty.
To ensure that my customers can find just what they are looking for and to give them a wider selection, I also carry the Coronado Leather line, including their purses and vests, and a fairly new line of vests made by Concealed Carry Clothier out of Rhode Island.
I have a BA degree from Texas Tech University. I worked in my father’s Gibson stores when I was not in school, from 1964 until he sold out in 1981. After that, I worked for a veterinarian, for a battery manufacturer and for lawyers in downtown Dallas for 16 years. (Working with lawyers taught me how to get along with different kinds of people.) I have helped to raise 8 kids and I now have 15 grandkids, one great-granddaughter and two god-daughters. I was influenced in my business by my highly ethical, business-oriented father. I lost my father in 2001, at age 88, but I am still blessed to have my wonderful, 87-year-old mother, who is such a great role model for me. My husband, Lynn, whom I met at a Dallas gun show and married during Fort Worth gun show, live in Mesquite, Texas, with two cats and a dog.