If you wanted to carry Davy Crockett-style coonskin caps, would you know where to turn? Those in the know have been calling on a New York-based company called Strips, Inc. for 80 years for those hats and anything to do with animal pelts. “My father started this company in the 1930s, and I joined in the 1970s,” says company president Sid Chaklai. But as the anti-fur movement took hold in this country, Chaklai made some strategic moves to stay in business. “I saw the writing on the wall,” he says, “and I transformed our product line into a novelty.”
Today, Strips sells a variety of animal-skin products, from tails and heads to full-sized pelts for a variety of uses. “One of our biggest sellers is a silver-fox tail on a ballchain,” Chaklai says. “People wear them on their belts, in the back country.” The tails wholesale for $3 each and can fetch up to $10 retail. Another perennial favorite is the rabbit’s foot, bought as a good luck charm. “We’ve sold tens of thousands of them this year,” Chaklai notes. “They’re very popular with flea market vendors, gift shops and country trading posts.”
Minimum orders from Strips, Inc. start at only $100, and the products ship the same day. “We carry more than 55 different items,” Chaklai says, “and we’re the biggest handlers in the world of raccoon and fox tails. We’re also the cheapest,” he adds.
–Rory J. Thompson