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.”