Criticism — You will get criticism from possibly your family and closest friends. You may experience something I went through. People who I thought were my closest friends did not support me. Don’t listen to them no matter if it’s your best friend or your parents. It is not their dream it’s yours. You can’t expect everyone to understand what your dream is. Follow through with your ambitions And always act on your ambitions.
As part of my series about young people who are making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing David Price, Founder and creator of The Safety Pouch.
Inspired after receiving “The Talk” from his parents before receiving his first car, Loyola University of New Orleans sophomore and New Orleans native David Price created The Safety Pouch during his freshman year to help make traffic stops safer, organized, and more efficient. The fluorescent orange pouch keeps vehicle documents and identification safe, stored and organized in one place. The Safety Pouch is primarily for use during traffic stops and clips to the exterior window of the vehicle with all documents readily available, minimizing movement inside of the vehicle which allows more visibility.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit how you grew up?
I grew up and lived in New Orleans Louisiana my whole entire life. I grew up with my two older sisters and my parents. Some of my favorite things to do growing up were hunting and fishing. I attended a boys high school in New Orleans and I was also on a swim team for seven years. During my senior year, I was one of the team captains when we led the team to our first state championship win in seven years. Being a captain on the team is where I learned the qualities and benefits of being a leader. I am currently a sophomore at Loyola University New Orleans where I am a political science major with hopes of becoming an attorney in the future.
You are currently leading an organization that aims to make a social impact. Can you tell us a bit about what you and your organization are trying to change in our world today?
We’ve seen cases like Philando Castile, who was fatally shot by a police officer during a traffic stop while reaching for his information. Interactions with police like Philando’s and countless others have bred distrust and tension between law enforcement and many within the communities they serve, specifically with communities of color. The Safety Pouch aims to help alleviate these tensions and rebuild trust between communities and law enforcement by creating a safer and more efficient traffic stop experience between law-enforcement and drivers. Our goal is to ensure the safety of both drivers and police officers.
The Safety Pouch is a removal document holder that clips to the exterior window of a driver’s vehicle. The pouch stores all necessary documents needed for a traffic stop, preventing drivers from having to actively reach for their information in front of officers and allowing them to keep their hands in sight at all times. The Safety Pouch is only made in one color, fluorescent orange, to make sure it’s highly visible so it won’t be mistaken for a weapon. The front of the pouch has a clear window for drivers to store their driver’s license or medical alert card. The inside of the pouch has three more compartments where drivers can store their car insurance, car registration and any permits and medical information needed during a traffic stop. Once driver’s receive the safety pouch, they’re instructed to pre-load their information. Once pre-loaded, they can store the pouch on their sun visor. In case of a traffic stop, the driver can take their pouch off of the sun visor and place it on their window. This can be done while the officer is still in their vehicle running the driver’s license plate information and car details. The pouch also comes with a “Safety Pouch User’’ sticker that sticks to the driver’s back windshield, alerting the officer once they are pulled over that the driver is equipped with a safety pouch
Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?
I originally came up with a concept for The Safety Pouch when I was 16 years old and had just received my driver’s license and car. Before my parents gave me the keys to my car, they sat me down at the kitchen table and gave me “The Talk”. During this conversation, I immediately started thinking “there must be something out there to help facilitate interactions between law-enforcement and drivers to make traffic stops safer.” I did some research and I didn’t find anything I thought would be safe for both parties to interact with. That’s when I came up with the idea for The Safety Pouch. At the time, I did not pursue it because it was just an idea. That was until I got to college and in my freshman year I was accidentally enrolled in a business seminar class. Today I look back at it as the best mistake ever. In the class we were assigned a project to create a product or service that would bring a societal change we would like to see. That’s when I remembered the concept of The Safety Pouch that I’d come up with two years before. So, I decided to work on that as my project. I presented the idea for the pouch to my class and professor and everyone loved it. At the end of the class my professor approached me and told me she thought I should bring this product to market and connected me with the right people who helped me bring the product to the market.
Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. They don’t get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and do it? What was that final trigger?
That moment came when I first started working on The Safety Pouch for my project in college and I had the opportunity to interview police officers, community leaders, and every day people and hear their perspectives. I knew that if I brought this product to market, it could really make a huge impact in their lives and keep them safe. I was already thinking about bringing it to market, but I was unsure at the time. But when my professor approached me and told me I should bring it to market, I took it as a sign and went for it.
Many young people don’t know the steps to take to start a new organization. But you did. What are some of the things or steps you took to get your project started?
To be completely honest, I did not know what I was doing when I first started. I was extremely fortunate to have a great professor (Kate Mccrery), who gave me the advice that I needed to get started. She also connected me with great people to be my mentors who helped steer me in the right direction and give the advice I needed.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
The most interesting story I think we have so far is when we had first launched a company in May. I had my entire social media strategy worked out. In the beginning everything was going perfect. The product was going viral on some platforms. I was getting a huge response from people and a bunch of orders coming in. But after about two weeks everything just stopped. Everybody had to stop reposting about The Safety Pouch. No one was commenting or liking any posts and we stopped getting sales. So, I got really nervous because I thought this was the end of The Safety Pouch. In the midst of panicking because I no longer was making any sales, which meant I was no longer making the capital I needed to actually produce The Safety Pouch in mass quantities, I saw a post from Tina Knowles-Lawson on Instagram. The post she posted was about police brutality. When I saw the post I just knew I had to leave a comment about The Safety Pouch and what our product and mission was. I left the comment on that post and a couple of other posts that she made. Not thinking anything of it, I went on about my day panicking about what we were going to do next. About a week later, I received a notification from Instagram saying Tina Knowles Lawson posted a picture. I decided to click on the notification and I was met back with my face and product staring back at me. It took a while for it to register that she had reposted The Safety Pouch on her page. The thing that helped quickly brought me back to reality was that we got about 20 sales in two seconds. I felt like a huge burden was lifted off of my shoulders because she essentially saved our business with that one post.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or take away you learned from that?
At the time it wasn’t funny at all. I was so upset when it happened. I was looking into getting special packaging for The Safety Pouch for when we mailed them out to our customers who ordered online. I went online and found a packaging manufacturer who makes custom packages for items. I reached out to them and we worked on designing the packaging for the pouch. The bill was about $500 and even though funds were a little tight at the time, I paid it. After I paid, I could no longer find the website and couldn’t get in touch with anyone. And I thought to myself “I know I was not just scammed.” But I was. I was so upset because funds were so tight at the time. Looking back at it now, there were so many red flags that I missed because I was so anxious to get packages made quickly. That taught me to always think and look over any decision or contract before making any commitments.
None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?
Yes. I’ve always been able to rely on my family with any help or advice I needed. My professor was also a great mentor along the way. She encouraged me to bring my product to the market, helped connect me with the right people, and gave me advice when I needed it.
Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?
There are actually two people who helped us a lot. First, Tina Knowles-Lawson because not only did she take her time to read my comments on Instagram, she took time out of her day to do research on my product and learn about our mission. She blessed us by reposting the product on her page, which helped dramatically increase our sales and save our business during a time when we were barely able to keep ourselves afloat and we’re struggling to find investors. She also invited me on her Instagram live to talk about my product. She was one of the first celebrities to actually take her time and listen to me and our mission and promote us. That meant so much to me. The next person is Trell Thomas, who works with Tina Lawson. Trell connected with me over Instagram. He gave me PR advice before I could afford a publicist and connected me with my current publicist. Trell is all about uplifting other people to give them an opportunity to shine. I will always be grateful for the advice and help he has given me.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
Yes. The first step is to acknowledge the issue, which is POC are more likely to be stopped and harassed by law enforcement than white Americans. Black people are nearly 20% more likely to be stopped by police and are three times more likely to be killed during police interactions than white Americans. Also, we need to acknowledge that a lot of officers abuse their power. Once we can acknowledge this without it being debated, we can move to the next step, which is when training prospective police officers, a mandatory background requirement must be in some form of psychological or mental health. Not every situation with civilians is the same. Many people suffer from mental health and some officers in the field do not know how to properly handle these situations, which far too often leads to tragic results.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. Patience. When I first started developing The Safety Pouch, I was very impatient during the development process. I thought we would get a prototype in one week and then we would be able to start revisions. In all honesty, it took three weeks to get our first prototype in and then countless revisions after. I would say just be patient and you will get there.
2. Savor. Savor each opportunity you get. Act Like it is the only one you will ever get. You will come off much more appreciative and happier to your targeted audience.
3. Don’t compromise. If you know you want something to look or work a certain way, don’t compromise. No matter whether someone tells you it can’t work like that or it is impossible. Don’t compromise. Stick to your vision. Nothing is impossible, see your product all the way through the way you envisioned it.
4. Criticism. You will get criticism from possibly your family and closest friends. You may experience something I went through. People who I thought were my closest friends did not support me. Don’t listen to them no matter if it’s your best friend or your parents. It is not their dream it’s yours. You can’t expect everyone to understand what your dream is. Follow through with your ambitions And always act on your ambitions.
5. Highlight others. If you have a platform where you can give others who may just be starting out, help them! Give them a shout out on social media or share their business with your audience. When you help others, good things always come back to you. When I was going through a rough time with my business, one of my followers had just launched a skin care line. She asked if I can give her business a shout out on my Instagram and I did. She told me she had gotten 30 sales in one hour. I was so happy for her even though my business was struggling. The next day is when I got the alert that Tina Knowles-Lawson had reposted The Safety Pouch and my sales had increased dramatically. Good karma always comes when you put good out into the world. Always share your platforms with others.
If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?
Making a positive impact in the world not only makes you feel like a better person but you’ll also be putting out positivity in the world that could really have an impact on the lives of others. Right now in our current climate there are so many negative things going on in the world that we hear about on a daily basis, but when we hear about positive news it gives us a sense of relief and hope. Right now, our society needs more people, especially young people, making changes and positive impacts.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them.
That is a tough question. There are so many great people who I would love to meet and talk to, but at the moment I would go with Tina Knowles-Lawson. I would love to thank her in person for everything she’s done for me and my business. I would also love to discuss different ways we can help provide a pathway to success for other youth entrepreneurs, especially Black youth entrepreneurs.
How can our readers follow you online?
You can learn more about The Safety Pouch at thesafetypouch.com and you can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @thesafetypouch.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!