Forget Tupperware, modern women hold Taser parties
Posted on Tue, Jan. 08, 2008
By CHRIS KAHN, Associated Press
GILBERT, Ariz. --
Before she lets them shoot her little pink stun gun, Dana Shafman ushers her new friends to the living room sofa for a serious chat about the fears she believes they all share.
''The worst nightmare for me is, while I'm sleeping, someone coming in my home,'' Shafman says, drawing a few solemn nods from the women. Shafman, 34, of Phoenix, says she knows how they feel. She says she used to stash knives under her pillow for protection.
Welcome, she says, to the Taser party.
On the coffee table, Shafman spreads out Taser's C2 ''personal protector'' weapons that the company is marketing to the public. It doesn't take long before the women are lined up in the hallway, whooping as they take turns blasting a metallic target.
''C'mon!'' she says. ``Give it a shot.''
Shafman isn't an employee for Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Taser International. She's an independent entrepreneur who's been selling Tasers the way her mother's generation sold plastic food storage containers.
As a single woman who lives alone, Shafman says she's the perfect pitchwoman for Taser as it makes a renewed push to sell weapons to families.
The company agrees. Taser officials like Shafman's homespun sales tactics so much that they will have a living room set at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Shafman will host a Taser party for buyers and dealers.
The company launched the Taser C2, which shoots two electrically charged darts with the same shocking power as the police version, last year. It previously came in four colors -- silver, black, blue and pink. The company said Monday that it would also make the guns available in leopard print, ''fashion'' pink, and ''red-hot'' red.
Another product, the Taser MPH (Music Player Holster) will hold 1 gigabyte of music, enough to allow wearers to listen to a variety of songs while carrying a stun gun on their hip.
Taser doesn't expect its dealers to start imitating Shafman. But spokesman Steve Tuttle says company officials think people can learn from her approach.
''When I talk about Taser, I come across as a salesman,'' Tuttle says. ``When you see her it comes across as very real.''
Shafman, a freelance construction consultant, says she always had a natural interest in self-defense products.
She tried moonlighting as a door-to-door Taser saleswoman. But years of negative press about Taser made it tough.
A lot of people, especially women, need time to get comfortable with a unique product like Taser before they'll consider buying one, Shafman says.
So the Taser party was born.
Shafman says she's sold about 30 guns per month at $349.99 since her first Taser party in October. She doesn't get a commission from Taser. Instead, she gets a discounted dealer rate for units and keeps the difference.
Shafman says many of her women customers love that the C2 is small enough to fit in their purses, and that it comes in a variety of colors. When it comes to choosing weapons, she says, a lot of women want them in pink.