A PI entrepreneur is marketing a subscription self-defense kit just for women. Here’s what’s inside:
Angelica Brooks, an Alabama private investigator whose origin story we featured earlier this summer, is pretty passionate about women’s safety and empowerment. With her past experiences as a crime scene investigator, forensic pathology associate, and investigator for child protective services, she’s had a firsthand view of the tragedies and crimes that befall all too many vulnerable women and girls.
In her new role as a private investigator and entrepreneur, she hopes to find ways to help. She created a nonprofit, the Silent Voices Project, to volunteer her investigative skills to missing persons and cold cases. And her newest idea is a subscription box to help women protect themselves, by arming them with safety strategies and basic self-defense tools.
Brooks answered questions from PursuitMag by email:
Tell us about the boxes and how they came to be.
The Natavia Boxes are a kit of self-defense gear for women that can be ordered one time only or by subscription. I launched the product in February during a women’s safety awareness expo. The name “Natavia” is a combination of my daughters’ names — which is why, to me, the word evokes female power.
I hear a lot of folks say things like, “Women have to take responsibility for their own safety.” Actually, I think grown-@$$ men have a responsibility to stop harming girls and women, but victim blamers gonna victim blame, I guess. This is my answer to them: OK, fine. Here is us, taking steps to defend ourselves.
Inside each box are three items women can use to defend themselves in situations like a mugging, an attack, or an attempted abduction. After researching protective gear that works best for women, I decided on these things for the current box:
This compact stun gun looks just like a cell phone and comes with a leather case and charger. Keep it in your car, and keep it charged. Then toss it in your purse whenever you’re out and about.
The lipstick alarm is easy to carry and basically goes unnoticed in a purse — it looks just like an ordinary tube of lipstick. But snap off the top and it makes a VERY loud sound. Great for situations where you are feeling threatened and want to draw the attention of bystanders.
Our pepper spray fits into a cute bedazzled slip-on container, which also looks like a tube of cosmetics. Slide it out and have it ready for that iffy walk to a dark parking lot.
Each of these can help to surprise or fend off an attacker, and they’re easy to carry in a pocket or a purse.
The boxes also include a brochure with safety tips and trafficking awareness. My plan is to change up the contents periodically, so you can try out new defense gear every month or so.
How did you get the idea for this?
This idea came to me after I started researching human trafficking. As I looked into the various ways that predators target women, I wanted to be able to provide women and girls with ways to protect themselves should a situation present itself. This business tied into my purpose of being able to protect one woman at a time.
How have the boxes been received?
I am getting a lot of feedback that people love the box and the contents and that they feel much safer and more confident when going out in public.
Would these work as gifts?
This would be the perfect gift for families who are sending their children off to college, and also for men to give their girlfriends or wives.
How does this fit into your wider mission as a PI and entrepreneur?
I’ve noticed that there’s lots of spillover between the business and the products: when people find my Natavia boxes, they tend to also get interested in my PI business as well — and vice versa. It’s also a great sideline while I’m getting my investigative business going!
Besides the gear included in the boxes, what are your personal top 3 self-defense tools for women?
My three favorite security items for women are: a firearm to protect yourself, any kind of loud personal alarm to draw attention and (hopefully) frighten off an assailant, and a taser, should you be in close contact with your attacker. Personally, I carry a Taurus G2s 9mm subcompact pistol, which is a good size for concealed carry. I also have a cell phone taser and alarm on hand for places that don’t allow firearms.
About the interviewee:
Angelica Brooks is a private investigator and justice activist with a passion for finding leads in missing persons, human trafficking, and cold cases. She is the founder of the Silent Voices Project, a nonprofit dedicated to research and education about the realities of human trafficking and investigating missing persons and cold cases for families with few resources.
You can find more information, and an order form, for her Natavia personal security boxes here.