SACRAMENTO – Some view women as the “weaker sex” and therefore more vulnerable. A local woman is coming to their defense, literally.
Dannie Marie Hargrow is an independent sales representative for Diva Pro Defense. As such, she sells self-defense tools for women including stun guns, pepper spray, alarms, and kubatons. Ms. Hargrow points out that all tools are legal and don’t require a license or permit to purchase or carry.
“Tools are sleek, light and pretty to help all women find strength in their inner diva,” she shared.
Ms. Hargrave, a Case Management Specialist for Sutter hospital, got started after seeing the increase in violence against women of all ages.
“Knowing I could help empower women, and help them understand how to be more alert and less vulnerable. I wanted to give women a voice and a special way to feel sexy and stronger at the same time,” she shared.
Her most popular item is UV colored pepper spray.
“It sprays a UV blue or green, so that if an attacker gets away, the police can identify them when canvassing the neighborhood for suspects, because the UV pepper spray will glow on the attackers clothes or body and isn’t easy to wash off,” she explains.
Customers often give her feedback, letting her know their purchases are being put to their intended use.
“A client ordered a stun gun, pepper spray and cat defender combo at an event one weekend. She was leaving work in downtown Oakland late night and had a guy aggressively approach her for money. When she turned him down, he became verbally abusive and charged at her and she had her pepper spray out and was able to use it on the suspect, with the figure 8 motion I had shown her when purchasing the spray. She told me the pepper spray did not backfire on her, like I explained with the figure 8 motion. She also stated she wished she would have listened to me and had her stun gun in her hand instead of in her purse, because she was holding her cell phone that couldn’t help her protect herself.”
Education and empowerment is important to Ms. Hargrow.
“Each rep that joins the company is required to attend a mandatory self defense class before selling the product, which shows us how to best use the defense tools, and how to protect yourself without the tools,” she said.
She’d like to be able to get onto college campuses to help deter sexual and physical assaults against female students and staffers.
She currently spreads the word about her products through word of mouth and personally handing out brochures wherever she goes, whether its the grocery store, Zumba, church or her kid’s game.
“My personal goal is to hand out 10 brochures everytime I go out in public. I have them in my purse, my car, my IPAD, and my gym bag. I leave my brochures at local businesses as well. I utilize Facebook, Instagram, email/text blast and my web page,” Ms. Hargrow said.
Since starting with Diva Pro Defense in April of 2013, Ms. Hargrow says she’s learned a lot about the industry and herself as an entrepreneur.
“(I’ve learned) that I am my greatest asset to my business. That it will only go as far as I go with promoting and looking for events,” she said.
“Owning your own business is work, and that you cannot put all your marbles in one bucket, you have to have a backup plan. I have learned the true understanding of separating the money pot. I had to learn the hard way to keep the business finances separate from my personal finances. I learned that there are so many African American businesses and resources that all love to work together and help each other move forward. That is a bit different for me, seeing how in the Midwest not too many minority companies help one another out so openly.”
Locally, she’s been a vendor at such events as Juneteenth, the Diva’s Half Marathon, the Nubian Crafters Fair, and the Black Bold Beautiful Women Expo.
Products are also sold online at http://danniemariesdivadefense.weebly.com. Local delivery is available in some cases. Diva Pro Defense offers monthly self defense classes in Berkeley and will start having free personal protection classes in Sacramento in July. For more information, call (615) 767-2302.
By: Genoa Barrow
OBSERVER Senior Staff Writer