Gun Safety Guns

Issue Sneak Peek: Nickel & Lace and Everything Nice

Thursday, June 12, 2014 Joshua Beck

Being a Southerner, I can appreciate the security given by a handgun snugly swaddled in a good holster, yet being a woman, it's no easy task to find a holster which can comfortably accommodate the curves of woman's body. The pawn shops, the rodeo, and even the gun shows don't sell holsters especially made for women. In the south, men and women alike enjoy the sport of skeet shooting, the art of target shooting, and the safety of owning a handgun. Because of this, I am baffled at the significant lack of provisions for women's gun use. However, Marilyn Smolenski, a pioneer in this industry, has made it her mission to reconcile this unfortunate situation by launching Nickel and Lace, an online boutique which sells holsters designed specifically for a woman.

Owner of Nickel & Lace at Firearms and Fashion Show - Marilyn Smolenski on far right
Just as one would use a rake, a tractor, or shovel, the community in which Marilyn grew up used guns as tools. Guns weren't considered a political issue to her; they were an essential appliance used for protection, hunting, and sport. The authority figures in her life valued the benefit of having a gun; hence, they were adamant about teaching the safety precautions to be taken when using a fire arm. Once Marilyn honed the craft of shooting, she traveled to the great city of Chicago to start her new career. It didn't take long for her to discover that the gun laws in Chicago were astronomically different than those of the South. To recover from the culture shock, she and her husband extensively researched the regulations regarding the registration of hand guns. Despite how frustratingly expensive the process was, she wanted to follow the law and be as safe as she could, so she took a three day "Stage 1 Tactical Handgun" course where it was required to wear a holster. Not one holster she tried was fit for a woman, so they left her bruised and in pain. It was then that she knew she had to do something about this. Thus, the idea for Nickel and Lace was born.

In 2011, she began reaching out to manufacturers, working on patterns, searching for fabrics, and obtaining the proper licensing to launch a 100% American made women's line of holsters and apparel. This innovative idea has combined shapewear and protection to make a stylish new way to be safe. She utilized the slimming favorite of a bodyshaper with the safety provided by a sturdy holster, but her design isn't made only for holsters! You can insert your ID, your phone, or credit cards in the nifty wallet insert design. She has established a new line of tee shirts and accessories to better supply women with products that they love, and make them feel beautiful.  She has eliminated the compromise women have to make when they strap on some clunky, bulky man's holster. Now you can buy products sizes 4 to 18!

For every Original Nickel and Lace holster sold, Nickel and Lace donates $1 to the Gary Sinise Foundation or Camp Blessings. The Gary Sinise Foundation is dedicated to serving our country by honoring our heroes. They offer unique programs to entertain, educate, inspire, and build communities for our veterans. Camp Blessings welcomes people age 7+ who have been diagnosed with a physical or intellectual disability to come and camp in a Christian atmosphere. Both of these charities have high moral standards which remedy matters close to Marilyn's heart.

In May, Marilyn will be hosting a fashion show which honors women's beauty as well as comfort while sporting a stylish holster. She wants people to see the work and significance of Nickel and Lace. "Our main goal is to provide our customers with a feeling of femininity, empowerment, and style while allowing them to discreetly carry [their belongings.] The goal of our Facebook and Pinterest pages is to share safety tactics and classes as well as fashion and makeup tips. " said Marilyn. As she works fervently to achieve her goal we can help her get there by supporting her on Facebook and Pinterest.

Cheyenne Hendricks

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