Christian LesStrang ‘92 has found a mother-son collaboration to be a profitable enterprise. He served as vice president of Safe-T- Man, a company spawned by his mother, Barbara’s, invention of a life-sized dummy as a “personal safety companion.” She wanted to provide a safety device for use in the home or car to deter potential criminals from attacking lone victims.
When Geraldo Rivera featured Safe-T-Man on a show about carjacking last year, the company’s sales skyrocketed, and Safe-T-Man signed a contract to appear in “Forget Paris,” starring Billy Crystal and Debra Winger. Nearly 15,000 inflatable companions have sold through Target stores, and WalMart and Kmart may soon pick them up as well. Sheriff and police departments across the country have endorsed the product and even use it themselves, as do individual customers across the United States and in Japan, Canada, Mexico, Germany, and France.
Last September, Christian bought the Safe-T-Man company, renamed it FunFlatable Products Company, Inc., and began working on getting licenses to create other life-sized inflatable characters from the Star Trek and Star Wars series as well as Disney and Warner Brothers productions.
Christian, an economics and business major, has employed about a dozen Westmont interns working out of his downtown Santa Barbara apartment.