As we travel around the South to various festivals and events invariably we get questions from customers who have alligator hides they wish to sell. Sometimes these are hides that they have in their homes, garages or workshops and occasionally they are hides that they anticipate acquiring in future legal hunts. We always respectfully turn them down no matter the price and we do so for varying reasons.
First, hides that have been tanned in an unknown manner are unacceptable because we have no way of knowing the quality of the tanning process used. An improperly tanned hide would be of unknown durability. Our hides are acquired from sources known to us for many years. In one case we have purchased hides from this particular family since the early 1990s. This assures us of receiving hides of superior quality which helps us pass on high quality goods.
In the case of trappers, alligator specifically, size matters. A current and popular television show, Swamp People, illustrates this point well. For the hunters on this show the thrill is in trapping very large alligators. There are several reasons for this thrill. One reason, of course, is the fact that there is more TV drama in trapping an eleven foot alligator in contrast to a five foot alligator. The producers want drama for their consumer audience. That's you. A larger audience translates to more revenue for the producers. I confess that I'm a regular watcher myself.
Also, though it may be more difficult to boat an eleven foot alligator than it is a five foot alligator, the trapper usually will spend less time and resources obtaining one large alligator as compared to motoring around the swamp to locate and boat two small alligators. Less time and expended resources translates to higher profits for the trapper especially when we consider current gasoline prices. For both the trapper and the TV show the bigger the better. The show's producers and the trappers are in harmony here.
Now, here's the rub. The Hide Out, as a producer of small alligator and crocodile products such as wallets, card cases, handbags and other goods, doesn't want these large hides. Because the consumer, our customer, wants their piece to have a unique definition or pattern we want small hides to accomodate them. Large hides are acceptable for large finished products such as jackets, briefcases or furniture. In those cases the large patterns or plates on the larger hides are still distinctive on the finished product. A large pattern on a large product can still be distinctive. On the other hand, a large pattern on a small product such as a wallet could largely be undistinguishable from a common smoother lambskin or cowhide. The pattern simply is too large to be seen on a small product. Not all producers see it this way but since the mid 1980s, as a company that not only produces our fashion products but talks often face to face with our customer, we get a first hand feel for what you want.
For these reasons The Hide Out continues to use hides from our long time friends in the industry. In the cases of alligator and crocodile hides, this means farmed animals where the product is smaller, higher quality and is a sustainable, renewable resource just like any other farm animal. Also, of course, the meat product is consistant. FOOD FIRST!
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Written by Merle Snook on June 18, 2011 — 1 comments