Scrambling for Christmas gift ideas?
How about presenting a loved one with a drink holder made from a skunk pelt – compete with the head and tail — or perhaps a luxurious over-the-shoulder raccoon pelt called a RaccSack?
It’s pure American ingenuity with a down-home flair. And thanks to their Wyoming connections, business is booming for the Texas-based creators of those and other magnificently redneck critter pelt creations.
Inspired In Wyoming
After a Cowboy State Daily story about their business, Karley and Craig Summitt of San Angelo, Texas, said sales in Wyoming and across the country surged and show no signs of slowing. Then, the featured product was the Squallet, a zippered wallet made from a whole squirrel — feet, tail, head and all.
And there’s a distinct Cowboy State connection, as the inspiration for Scraggly Bush Fur Products was hatched in Wyoming. The couple is good friends with former Wyoming Attorney General Pat Crank and Wyldlife Fund President Chris McBarnes, and they frequently visit the state.
During a visit a couple of years back, Crank and McBarnes saw Craig’s prototype for the Squallett. Crank encouraged them to go commercial with the idea and was one of their first customers.
Crank previously told Cowboy State Daily that his Squallett remains one of his most prized possessions.
Furry Drink-Holder Mania
The group continued to brainstorm and came up with the idea for the Possum Pak, a fanny pack make from an opossum pelt. From there, the line of products has grown over the last year. There are now a collection of can koozies made from whole animals: Squoozie (squirrel), Poozie (opossum), Racoozie (raccoon), Skoonzie (skunk) and Foozie (fox).
As the Christmas gift-giving season hits full steam, Scraggly Bush’s products based on Koozie drink holders are going like hotcakes, Karely told Cowboy State Daily.
“Basically, right now we’re swamped. As you can imagine, these are novelty, white elephant-type gifts for Christmas,” she said.
“The koozies are our main product right now,” Craig added. “We’re also still selling a ton of possum packs — and that’s the idea we got from Wyoming.”
Karley said a short video she posted on social media featuring the animal pelt koozie line went viral in Wyoming and across the country.
“In just a couple of days it got, like, 250,000 views,” she said.
A True American Family Business
Craig is on full-time active duty with the Air Force, so he pitches in with the family’s home-based business as much as he can. Karley stays home with the couple’s children, ages 2 and 4.
“When I’m not at my full-time job, we take turns sewing and watching the kids,” Craig said.
If Scraggly Bush continues to grow at the rate it has been, it will likely someday become the couple’s full-time occupation, Karley said.
“It so cool to see a true American business, the American dream come to life. It’s great to be a part of that,” she said.
She’s also excited that Craig will soon be transferred to Nebraska, which is her home state and right next door to Wyoming.
“It will be great to be that close to Wyoming so we can visit even more,” Karley said. “I have five preference points built up for a Wyoming elk tag. If I draw that tag, I’ll be hunting elk in the Bighorn Mountains next fall.”
Craig said they’re always coming up with new ideas.
“I want to start making ties — ties to go with your business suit,” he said. “I want to make them with the fur on the outside. So, it will say, ‘I’m all business, but I have a redneck side too.”
They starting to add to their inventory of pelts, including black bear, Axis deer and others.
Karely said that if she bags a Wyoming elk, she’s like to put hair and hide to use and see if anything she makes with it are a hit with customers.
Scraggly Bush also welcomes custom orders, Karley said.
For instance, one Squoozie customer was ordering it for her brother, who is an amputee. She requested that the squirrel used also be missing a leg so her brother could relate.
“It was kind of an example of dark humor, but they loved it,” Craig said.
And what about those RaccSack satchels?
At $89.99, they’re the company’s top-end product, so they don’t sell briskly, but discriminating customers appreciate them, Craig said.
“If any of our products could be called a ‘luxury item,’ I guess the RaccSack would be it,” he said.
Mark Heinz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.