Meet Andi Atteberry of Bling Sting! Bling Sting is on a mission to reinvent personal protection as stylish, multi-functional, on-trend accessories that women love to wear and carry. We both carry the pepper spray and safety alarm with us at all times. They look so cute on our keychains and even more importantly, make us feel safe wherever we are. These are so perfect for the gifting season! We got a chance to learn more about Co-Founder and Badass Babe, Andi, and how the vision for Bling Sting came to life.
What inspired you to start Bling Sting?
Years ago, when I was in college, my Dad would come home with pepper spray from the local hardware store. He’d give one to my mom and I, and then ask us why we never carried it. Well, it was boring. Masculine. Ok, downright ugly and we just didn’t get it. We joked that if pepper spray was actually cute, sparkly, and easily accessible then we’d definitely carry it. My dad blurted out ‘We could call it Blingsting!’ We laughed and that was that. About ten years later, I decided I was ready for a career change and wanted to do more than sell for another company. The lightbulb went off about my family’s idea, and I knew it was what I wanted to do. I knew it was a great idea, and that I could transform a very tired category into something cute, fun, and engaging. After years of my partner and I grinding away with zero experience in anything related to starting this business, we made it work. We had some early PR wins that beefed up sales dramatically, as well as placement in major national retailers that took our brand to the next level.
Did you face any challenges specific to being a female entrepreneur? If not, what were your biggest challenges in bringing your vision to life in general?
Yes! I heard a competitor was calling me a bimbo (can I say that?) when we first came on the scene. That my products were gimmicks, and that I didn’t know what I was doing. Honestly, it motivated me even more. After some time, my product was sitting on the shelves next to that competitor’s product in the largest retailer in the world. That felt good. Other than that, being an entrepreneur is a wild ride. The challenges starting out are many, like struggling with cash flow, earning credibility, and just accepting complete failure over and over. But, it’s the failures that set you up for the wins. And the wins always come if you are trying hard enough.
Any crazy consumer stories you have heard involving your product that you are comfortable sharing?
I haven’t heard any crazy stories per se, but every once in a while a customer will message us and tell us that our product saved her from a dangerous situation. And while we hope our customers never have to actually use the products, it’s good to hear that women are engaged and carrying the products as intended.
What’s it like running a business with your mom?
My mom is more of a passive partner and she helps out with some of the work around the office. I think the biggest contribution she made to the company was coming up with the idea and being the inspiration for the brand’s design, tone, and overall approach. She’s a total girly girl and a self-proclaimed ‘pink addict’.
Do either of you have a business background?
Absolutely not! My partner Gabe and I both came from corporate sales backgrounds and my mom managed my Dad’s dental office in her past life.
What’s next on the horizon for Bling Sting?
We are heavily focused on the digital side of the business, and just continuing to concept and sample new safety products that we think women want and need. Even though 3 million women and counting have trusted our products to date, we have so many more to reach and engage. With crime and anxiety about crime at an all-time high, Blingsting is more relevant than ever and we see evidence of that in our sales.
What’s on your holiday wish list this year/ what are some of your favorite female-founded brands?
I love anything Jo Malone and Glossier. I love doing yoga to disconnect so I may ask Santa to send me on a yoga retreat somewhere cool!
What’s your favorite bling sting item?
That’s so hard because they are all my ‘babies’! I always carry our pepper spray and my favorite go-to travel case is our First-Aid Clutch. But I can’t pick lol.