When I was at SHOT Show I stopped at the booth of Lethal Lace. Owned by Tessa Renaud, her booth had a large crowd in front of it. I stopped, and discovered that everyone was watching a video of her removing numerous guns and knives she had concealed on her body in the video. They couldn’t believe the video because she removed 10 weapons (yes 10! guns, knives and pepper spray) while wearing a tank top and yoga pants. She was busy trying to talk with everyone that was asking her questions, but we promised to reconnect after the show and we did.
She gave us a Lethal Lace holster which I sent to our American Concealed writers, Georgia Edgar, a woman who carries, to put Lethal Lace to the test. Look for that review coming up in a few days. When Tessa and I got to talk, one of the topics that came up, naturally, is being a parent and carrying concealed. Tessa is a working mother of 6 children and that desire to protect herself and her kids was part of what got her into making the Lethal Lace holsters. She also wants to help reassure other mothers that they CAN safely carry while they have children with them. Read on for Tessas’s story.
Tessa lives in the small town of Geismar, Louisanna, a small city just a few miles northwest of New Orleans. She has a 15-year-old son, 13-year-old twin girls, a 9-year-old girl, a 7-year-old boy and a 5-year-old boy. “I’m a nurse practitioner, and because of my work I became passionate about preventing sexual assault, because I process rape kits,” she says. “It got me to thinking, ‘This is what happened to her and this clues me in to how we might have prevented it.'”
Because of her full-time job in the ER , Tessa often left the hospital late at night, and had to walk through the dark parking garage with little security. “I thought, ‘I’ve got to protect myself,’ so I got my concealed carry permit. Then I went to find a holster.”
The instructor was advising students on carrying a holster while wearing a belt. “I thought, OK, what can I do? I wear scrubs daily. I don’t have belt, I don’t have pockets. I guess I have to use a belly band. But they were thick, uncomfortable and rigid. I looked at different things and I got annoyed not only because I didn’t find anything that worked for scrubs that didn’t rely on a belt. I was also but aggravated because holsters ranged from $50 to $200.”
Tessa frequently changed her scrubs after work and changed into yoga pants to go to the gym on the way home. She discovered that if she wore a holster that worked with her scrubs, shewould have to change to a different holster that worked with the yoga pants. That meant carrying two holsters every day and investing in two expensive holsters instead of just one.
“I thought, ‘There’s got to be something else.'”
She discovered that corset holsters cost $200, but you gain or lose a few pounds and they’re not going to fit you. Same with lace thigh holsters, which also lose their elasticity rather quickly.
Tessa started experimenting. “I went through every single holster,” she recalls. “I looked at all of them and listed all the pros and all the cons of all the holsters out there. I took the pros and came up with something that would work. I wanted something that could wrap around any part of the body, carry any gun, that you’re not going to lose, and if you gain or lose weight you can wrap it so you can get that perfect fit.”
Her prototype was “laughable,” she says, with various attachments and options and rough fabric. But each time she made one a tested it, she improved it. It took months, but she achieved her goal. “My main goal was something universal,” she says. “I wanted one holster that you could do anything you want with. It ended up being as simple as one piece of really long stretch lace with a couple pockets and clips. It’s very simple but it works amazingly well.”
The lace itself took another year of development. The fabric and qualities of the fabric are what gives the holster its success. And, she says, it took a while to find the right clips too. All of the research originally was just for her to design something that worked for her lifestyle. She wasn’t planning on it being a business. But as her and her husband discussed it, they both realized that if she had this problem, other women had this problem too.
Developing the holster also made her a more confident concealed carrier as a parent. “You are your kid’s first responder,” she says. “If the kids are with you and something happens, you are the only one that can probably do anything to help them. The moms who carry think the others are crazy and the ones that don’t think that the others are crazy. There’s a lot of controversy about mothers carrying.”
She doesn’t worry about carrying when she has her kids with her. And it’s not just because her kids are educated in safe gun handling. “When I’m wearing my holster my gun is strapped very securely on my body,” she explains. “I have no concerns about my kids getting to it without me knowing about it because they can’t! They have to go through me first.”
Keep checking this site for Georgia’s review of Tessa’s Lethal Lace holster. We’ll give you a real review by a real woman who carries on a daily basis. In the meantime, check out Tessa’s products at LethalLace.com.
Image from lethallace.com