Concealed Carrie Family Business Profile

CONCEALED CARRIE
A (Fashionable) Innovation
For a Well-Armed Market

While most Family Business Profiles feature companies with generational longevity as evidence of their success, every now and then a company emerges with a new product or service that all but guarantees enormous success as a family business. In a remarkably short period of time, Concealed Carrie’s founder, Leslie Deets, in partnership with her father and husband, has helped create two new brands that tap in to an emerging market, and in the process has also developed a whole new category of merchandise that will reach the fastest-growing segment of that market – females who carry firearms.

Concealed Carrie’s story really began when Tom and Leslie Deets decided to visit a firing range in the Atlanta area a few years ago. The experience became a family affair when their two teenagers agreed to come along. Tom's prior experience in law enforcement, his strong endorsement of our right to bear arms, and his mission to promote safety through education convinced him that the best protection he could give his family was to equip them to protect themselves.

But there was a problem. While learning about firearms proved to be beneficial, the family was not impressed with the general experience. Like most ranges, the physical environment was dark, industrial and unwelcoming – exposing them to an atmosphere that was intimidating and unhealthy. The visit was a wake-up call for Tom and Leslie. With overall firearm sales steadily growing at a rate of 15% every year, and with sales to women growing nearly 20%, they realized that the timing was right for offering a better alternative.

The mission to create a family-friendly environment became a family affair. Tom and Leslie researched the demographics and discovered that Leslie’s father, an Atlanta-based real estate developer, already owned the ideal property. Tom researched the firearms industry and contacted law enforcement agencies in the area. The consensus acknowledged the need for a technologically-advanced facility with classroom availability and simulation training opportunities. Leslie drew on her design background to ensure that the SharpShooters environment would not only accommodate the professional shooter, but would also welcome first-time, female and family enthusiasts.

The result of their collective efforts was SharpShooters USA, a state-of-the-art facility that opened in February 2010, and by all accounts has become an immediate success. The range operates seven days a week and offers individuals, families, corporations, and others 24 climate-controlled lanes, full retail, memberships, firearms instruction and classroom facilities, simulation training and event packages – a range experience that far surpasses anything currently offered. And because the building is equipped with an advanced triple-filtration HVAC system, patrons and staff can relax knowing that they are enjoying a healthy and safe environment.

But that’s not the end of the story, of course. To learn more about the world of firearms, Leslie attended a ladies’ defensive handgun class, and later a concealed carry class. In both cases, she was struck by the women who came to class wearing holsters strapped to their legs or toting military-style concealed carry bags that are far from feminine. A self-proclaimed “fashionista” who studies the current trends in women’s high-end handbags, she concluded that demand would be high for a concealed carry handbag that offered the utmost in both style and quality of material.

With function and fashion in mind, she developed and designed an entire collection of handbags with practical features that include a separate concealed carry compartment that securely conceals the handgun in a safe yet accessible manner. She designed removable and adjustable holsters that can be adapted for right or left-handed draw. Several styles also offer cross-body draw with the use of a removable and adjustable shoulder strap. On the fashion side, Leslie settled on several rich, all-leather styles including an ostrich print computer carry-all, fashion-forward leather crocodile printed hobo, smooth leather totes, and a very popular distressed brown leather satchel.

Firearm sales continue to grow at a steady rate every year, and if ever there were two brands that seem most likely to succeed in their field, they are SharpshootersUSA and Concealed Carrie. This family of entrepreneurs epitomizes the forward-thinking innovation that helped make our economy great in the first place and the commitment and passion that will help us maintain that position in the future.

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