Former Wyoming Attorney General Pat Crank says his Squallet is a “great conversation starter.”
“I keep it in my truck, and I like to take it out and show it to people,” Crank told Cowboy State Daily. “At first, they look at you like you’re crazy, but then they start to laugh.”
As American As It Gets
The Squallet is a wallet made from a squirrel pelt, complete with the head and tail, courtesy of Crank’s friends Karley and Craig Summitt of San Angelo, Texas. It’s one product in a line of pelt-based pouches they make and market through their home-based business.
The couple’s company, Scraggly Bush Fur Products, was largely realized because of encouragement from Crank and another old Wyoming friend, Wyldlife Fund President Chris McBarnes.
“I think we were actually at Pat Crank’s house when we came up with the ‘Possum Pak’ idea,” Karley told Cowboy State Daily over Zoom from the couple’s home, where their products are made.
A Possum Pak is exactly what you’d expect: A fanny pack made from the pelt of a possum.
Yes, there’s a theme going here.
Craig joined the call from Europe, where he is on an active-duty assignment with the Air Force.
A short, Fourth of July promotional video on the company’s website is truly a thing of beauty, enough to bring a tear to any red-blooded American’s eye.
In it, Craig stands in front of an American Flag, sporting a Squallet on his belt loop and a Possum Pak around his waist. As Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless The USA” plays softly in the background, he declares “Happy Birthday America,” and pulls a Budweiser Tall Boy from his Possum Pak.
Rooted In A Love Of The Outdoors
While growing up in Indiana, Craig spent as much time as he could outdoors hunting, fishing and trapping. He also picked up some skill at tanning animal hides.
Meanwhile, Karely grew up hunting on her family’s Nebraska farm.
They met when Craig was stationed in Omaha, Nebraska. The couple has been married for five years and have two small boys.
And now they have a growing cottage business with Scraggly Bush Fur Products.
Squallets are the mainstay. The Possum Pack and the RaccSak – a handy satchel fashioned from a raccoon hide – also are popular.
“As the orders come in we make them,” Karely said. “With two small kids in the house we frequently have to work during nap times.”
“Sometimes we’ll take an entire weekend and crank 40 or so of these things out,” Craig added.
As much as Craig would like to do his own skinning and hide tanning, the volume of orders doesn’t allow for that.
“We’re not a professional tannery,” he said. Instead, “we buy furs in bulk pre-tanned.”
Squallet Was Born In Wyoming
Craig made his first Squallet as a gag wedding gift for his sister.
“It was a hit, everybody loved it,” he said, adding that he and Karely assumed that was as far as it would ever go.
But in 2021, they joined McBarnes and Crank for a late-season Wyoming cow elk hunt. Craig said they’ve taken numerous trips to the Cowboy State. He and McBarnes have been friends since they met at Butler University in Indianapolis.
Everybody had cow elk tags, “but we were seeing nothing but bulls,” Craig said, so the mood was turning sour.
To lift spirits, Craig decided to show his friends a video of the Squallet he’d made for his sister.
Crank remembers the moment well.
“I asked him, ‘What the heck is a Squallet?’ He showed me the video, and we all cracked up,” Crank said.
But beyond the humor, Crank saw some real potential.
“I told Craig and Karley that they should really try marketing it,” he said.
Honor In The Name
After returning home from the hunt, the Summitts mulled over Crank’s suggestion.
“And in March of 2021, we decided to pull the trigger” and officially founded Scraggly Bush Fur Products, Craig said.
Though the endeavor is solidly couched in humor, Craig said the company’s name carries a poignant meaning.
“I had a really good friend, Logan Scroggins, who was a firefighter and a great guy,” he said. “A rough translation of his last name in Middle English is ‘Scraggly Bush,’ so that’s the nickname we game him.”
Sadly, Logan passed away while still only in his 20s.
“When we were trying to come up with a name for the company, I thought of ‘Scraggly Bush,’ Craig said. “I thought, ‘That name fits, and it’s a way to honor him.’”
A True Family Business
The venture started of small, Karley said.
“Initially when we kicked it off we thought, ‘Hey if we can just make enough money to pay for another elk hunt, we’ll be happy,’ and we did,” she said.
Sales are rising steadily, and Karley and Craig are each quick to credit the other.
“I come up with ideas for the products, but she does all the marketing, making the videos and doing the social media work,” Craig said.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Karley said. “And as much as he says that I do all of the work, we really do share all aspects of the sewing.”
Specialty Products Available
The potential for Scraggly Bush Fur Products isn’t limited to a few variants using varmints.
“We do have some ideas for new things we’d like to roll out,” Craig said.
“I want to do a skunk purse … a ‘Skurse,’” Karley said.
“We do one-off special requests all the time,” Craig added. “One customer wanted a tobacco pouch made out of possum fur. Another one wanted driver head covers for his golf club set made out of possum, with the possum’s head included.”
And yet another customer ordered a Squallet lined with red velvet “as a Valentine’s gift for his lady friend,” Craig said.
They’ve also made racoon and opossum pillows.
Making Customers Happy
Scraggly Bush’s growing success is a combination of social media marketing and word-of-mouth, Karley said.
“It’s always interesting to hear how people find out about us,” she said. “A lot of people will see something online and think it’s just a meme or a joke reel, but then they look into it, and they want our products.
“Sales really vary by the time of year. We do well around Christmas, because our products are popular as a gag or a white elephant gift.”
Squallets were a hit with a group of spring-breakers, Craig said.
“These girls all went on spring break together, and they posed for pictures in their bikinis, showing off their Squallets,“ he said.
The practical side isn’t lost on some buyers, he added.
“We’ve got one guy who walks around with his daily,” he said.
One of the couple’s most rewarding experiences is seeing customers’ eyes light up while making in-person sales at a local vendor’s event.
“Little kids would come running up and be like, ‘Dad, I want one of these,’” Craig said. “Then the guys would see them and start laughing.”
Craig said he wasn’t sure exactly how many sales they’ve had in Wyoming, but “adjusted per capita” sales to the Cowboy State seem brisk.
Noted Wyoming outdoorsman Paul Ulrich gives Scraggly Bush Fur Products his enthusiastic stamp of approval.
“Function meets outdoor fashion,” he told Cowboy State Daily. “I would love to rock their products. Veteran-owned is a huge bonus.”