Laguna Niguel, California, entrepreneur Stacy Watkins never imagined she’d be at the center of nationwide attention.
In 2016 when she was pulled over for speeding and reckless
driving in her own neighborhood, she never imagined the lingering pain her
encounter would create. She had just gone through a difficult divorce and was
struggling with how to fill her half-empty house with new furniture
“The officer just gave these stern orders,” she recounts. “He
didn’t even respond to ‘Good morning’ or ‘How is your day?’” It was a cold
encounter that I never want to go through again.
Although she was driving 47mph in a 25mph zone, Stacy was
let off with a warning – and an idea.
“After weeks of sleepless nights and cold sweats, I decided
to take matters into my own hands.”
Within three weeks, Ms. Watkins came up with the idea of a
wallet in the shape of a gun. She believed this would be the perfect icebreaker
for awkward traffic stops like the one she experienced.
Within a week of carrying the wallet, Stacy rolled through stop sign, only to see flashing blue lights behind her. But instead of sitting, afraid, in her car, she took control.
“I stopped the car, jumped out, and started walking towards
the officer with my new wallet in my outstretched arm. At first, he was
confused, but he quickly smiled and thanked me for the courtesy of bringing my
documents to him.”
Not only did the officer waive the charges, but he also took
her information to share with friends and family.
And with that, a craft movement was born.
Selling solely through Etsy and Facebook, Ms. Watkins could
barely keep up with demand after just a few weeks.
“People were emailing me, telling me how much fun these
wallets were. They said they never knew how such an obvious niche had gone
unfulfilled for so long.”
Although many critics consider it common knowledge that all
vehicular documents should be ready to present to an officer during a traffic
stop, ignorance of this procedure has led to some dangerous consequences.
“Before this gun wallet,” says Aliso Viejo resident Kelli
Dufresne, “I would have reached shakily behind the seat and fumbled through a
purse for my papers. The officer might have seen a tampon or a candy wrapper in
there. I would have literally died of embarrassment. Died. With this gun
wallet, the conversation is fun again.”