When Blingsting co-founder Andi Atteberry’s dad kept buying her keychain pepper spray while she was in college, he thought he was doing his job as a dad to protect his daughter. But she never carried it because the product was ugly and boring, says Atteberry. The Atteberry family joked that if someone would make pepper spray pink and sparkly, that girls would actually carry it and get more engaged in their personal safety. Then Atteberry’s dad thought of the name Blingsting, and a new startup was born.
“Once my dad thought of the cheeky name, I knew I had to test the idea. I knew absolutely nothing about anything having to do with starting a business, or manufacturing, but what I did know is how girls think. And I couldn’t believe how wrong the other pepper spray brands were getting it. Girls love sparkles, nice packaging, and every girl thinks about her safety—I knew if I could bring those together then it would sell,” says 38-year old Atteberry.
Since Blingsting’s launch in 2013, the company says it has seen record growth year over year, including a forecasted 110 percent increase in revenue from 2017. The line now includes not only sparkly pepper spray, but also a full line of safety products.
Much of the growth is attributed to securing national airtime with the Home Shopping Network and being picked up by retailers like Barnes and Noble College, to a network of thousands of independents. Atteberry also attributes attacks on women and subsequent media coverage to generating more interest across the board.
Blingsting now is carried by Texas-based Buc-ee’s convenience stores as well as by Walmart stores nationwide, with more accounts being added.
Co-founder Gabe Mazzone says, “We started with a production run of 5,000 units and started knocking on doors; before long we were picked up not only by Ace Hardware but also by many retailers who had never entertained the idea of carrying pepper spray.”
More products are expected to be added to the line.
“I see a brand that encompasses everything about living a lifestyle based around being happy, healthy, safe and cute. They are not and should never be considered mutually exclusive,” says Atteberry.