Showcase Inventory With A
Concealed Carry Fashion Show


How did Amanda Suffecool become the go-to gal for concealed carry fashion shows?

She doesn’t have a fashion background. She doesn’t have a modeling background. What she does have, however, is a background in teaching firearms classes.

“I was teaching concealed carry and people would come to me and ask how I carry,” Suffecool began. “But I am 5′ 9″ and everyone is a completely different size. We can’t all carry the same way. So I started to gather stuff to show different options and pretty soon we just put together a fashion show. We did the first one and it was such a hit that we did the next one. Since then, I basically wrote the book on how to produce a concealed carry fashion show.”

The “Why”

So why would you want to produce a concealed carry fashion show? As a retailer, you want to showcase the products carried in your store in order to increase sales.

“The premise I base every show on is demonstrating to the audience what they can’t automatically see. The purpose is to convince those who are interested in carrying, yet believe as soon as they put a firearm on their side there’s this big neon sign pointing to it, is that it doesn’t have to be obvious. It physically shows people that even though they know there is a gun on the model, they aren’t able to identify where it is because of the way it’s purposefully disguised,” Suffecool explained.

And you want to show your customers that your retail store is the best supplier for their concealability options.

The Models

A lot of people tend to think a fashion show is targeted at women only. Suffecool said her first one was just for women, but then men let her know they were also interested in the subject. Ever since then, every show has been unisex.

Suffecool advises it’s best to have “gun people” model rather than to try to have models become “gun people.”

“For a gun person, flagging the audience, even if it’s a blue gun, is offensive,” she noted. “Models are trying so hard to think about how they walk, how they look, where they stand, all that kind of stuff, and so they’re not paying attention to the muzzle of a gun. Teaching a gun person to model is just easier.”

Next, she advises looking to your customer base for models. Invite the people who are the most friendly or the most popular in your community. If you have groups who come to shoot at your facility, you can choose your models out of those groups because they will bring all their friends.

If you’ve got a comedian or a big personality, put them in the show. If you’ve got somebody who’s really popular put them in the show. Invite the mayor, invite the county commissioner, invite people who know people.

Your volunteer models can post on their social media and say, “Hey, I’m modeling next month! Who’s coming?” People will come to see the people they know.
“The model will bring you a good portion of the audience,” advised Suffecool.

Everyone cheers for the volunteer models because they want their friends and relatives to be successful.

Putting It All Together

The Guns & Holsters
Now, determine which of the products in your store to showcase. Maybe you have enough, maybe you’d like to add more. You could ask some of your staff, your friends or even your customers if they have some products you could utilize.

As for the guns, Suffecool only utilizes blue guns, no real guns, during the shows.

“It just makes it so much easier; there’s no chance someone will feel uncomfortable. I encourage the models to only draw the blue gun about 3/4 of the way out. The audience can see it’s a gun and where it is. It also helps the model to reholster without looking like they’re fumbling around with it. And because that last inch of the muzzle isn’t fully out, it goes right back in the holster easily.”

The Music
“You can use any music you want just as long as it has a good back beat that people can walk to. Again, you want it fun so you’re looking for kind of peppy and energetic — that kind of mood,” Suffecool said.

The Program
Suffecool makes a simple program using thumbnail pictures and a short description. If everything is in your store, you can just state so. If it’s not, you want to be able to note it’s available to be ordered.

For instance, if it’s something that comes with a lot of options such as a Gun Tote’n Mamas purse and you can’t stock them all, you’re going to showcase a couple of them and then in the program, you can state that the purses are available in the store or can be ordered and received quickly.

Be sure to have everything numbered so guests can match up the model and the item in the program.

The Show
Suffecool’s events typically run about an hour, but for the show itself, she suggests no longer than 20–25 minutes. You can either set up a raised runway for models to walk down, or more simply, have them walk between tables.

When using this style, have the models stop and show the carry method about four times. So, you’ll read the script for them, send them on their way and then you’ll pause until they get to the first stop. When they are starting around the bend for the second stop, start another model.

Avoid too much time between models because the audience won’t like waiting. Each model typically shows two items if they have enough time to change. You don’t want less than a dozen models because they won’t have time to run back and change in between.

The Finale
At the end of the show, have the models come back out in their last outfit for a finale. Have them interact with the guests so people can ask them about the holsters. You can also have them mingle before the show wearing one of the items, and then wearing the other item after the show.

The Cost
It’s up to you, of course, but Suffecool suggests picking a charity and charging a nominal fee to go toward supporting the charity. (If it’s a local charity, it could drive further localized interest.)

Remember, Make It Fun!

The most important aspect (next to safe gun handling, which can make or break the show) is making it fun.

Suffecool said, “Market it as a fun evening out. I had male models carry a man purse and the first thing they pulled out of it was a sandwich and the audience laughed hysterically. Then add little kids and their parents and that’s more humor. I actually had one girl bring her dog because she walks dogs, so she modeled how she carries. She and her dog, Buddy, went downstage while she was wearing a dress and sandals and the dog was on his leash and yet she still managed to access her gun. People loved it.”

Keeping the audience on their toes is key, Suffecool shared.

“The thing is, the audience loves the unexpected and they’re coming to learn something and to have a good time so it just all puts it together. It’s a serious topic and you have to be safe — but you don’t have to be all serious. People are looking for a good time,” smiles Suffecool.

If you are interested in holding a concealed carry fashion show at your store but still have questions, Suffecool welcomes them through her Facebook page, Realize Fashion Shows.