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OK, Tell me. What does a REAL taxidermist look like?

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by George, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    A recent post remarking about Michael P's appearance gave me pause and a chance to chuckle.

    Ages ago, Sandy Garland (Ralph Garland's wife and his partner at setting up the taxidermy school at Piedmont) gave a business seminar at the NTA convention. That was actually her opening question.

    After a pregnant pause (you know at the convention you see a spectrum of garbs) she stated that a national survey had listed what people NOT IN TAXIDERMY, considered what a taxidermist looked like.

    1. Older man

    2. Overweight

    3. Wears bluejeans, often worn or with tears.

    4. Wears a T-Shirt often stained

    5. Chews tobacco usually but could be smoker (cigarettes or cigars, never a pipe)

    6. Wears cowboy boots that look worn

    7. Wears a big western buckle on a wide belt.

    8. Rough hands

    The went on to say the the shops were usually dingy, dirty, and or had an "odor" to them. Not well lit and often unkempt.

    I always swore that I'd fit as few of those categories as I ever could. Now Frank Newmyer took it a bit to extremes in a BREAKTHROUGH article where he stated you should always wear "dress shoes and black socks". I'm not much into that, and I'm old and overweight, but past that, I don't fit the mold. The men customers are like all men. We're just pigs anyway. But they often bring their wives/girlfriends, and I'm so gratified and please to hear them say, "This doesn't look ANYTHING like I expected." Or "Your shop is so bright and clean. I never would have expected this.". To me, that's better than the price I get paid for mounting oftentimes.

    I ALWAYS have a clean shirt on as I never know who's dropping in. If I get something nasty/greasy/bloody/messy, I finish it and then go change shirts. I wear an apron and gloves religiously. In the summer I'm in khaki cargo shorts, white socks, white Reeboks, and either a heavy T with the logo or a light colored Henly with embroidered name on the shirt pocket. Sometimes a polo with the same set up. In winter, it is the jeans, but a plain leather belt and buckle, white socks, black Rocksports, and a dark polo or Henly with embroidered name. The shop NEVER stinks of either lacquer, Bondo, or tainted meat. Fans move the air and the carcasses and residue are bagged and put in an outside garbage. I use a special air freshener that eliminates odor completely and leaves a nice orange scent. If one of the lights in my six overhead high-intensity flourescents goes out, it's replace immediately. And though it does get trashed on more than a few occasions (deer season/ African safari arrival/UPS deliver), I try to get it back to being presentable as soon as possible.

    Now if I don't look like your preconceived notion of a fat old taxidermist, then I would HOPE that your impressions of our industry changes along with it. You can never be professional completely unless you play the part of a professional. (And you DON'T show up at the NTA Banquet in a T-shirt and a baseball cap due it's 100,000 mile oil change.)
  2. John Janelli

    John Janelli New Member

    George, your shop is way too clean. Put a couple of I.V. bags on the wall and some sort of monitors next to them and you'll have a studio movie set for a new TV hospital drama. You don't even have dirt on the business end of your broom!

  3. BWS

    BWS New Member

    Well fit the bill for...

    #3..jeans, they are comfortable and yes-sometimes they have Bondo stains or tears in them

    #5..smoker-but not with customers here

    #8..hey i have rough hands (callouses even!)...i WORK for a living, sheesh..LOL

    Now, having admitted all that...i will say that my customers comment on how nice the shop smells and that they are surprised that is not nasty like other some shops they have been in.
  4. michael p.

    michael p. Getting better with age :)

    I try (or am trying) to create an atmosphere in my studio where a woman is comfortable. I already have the mans business and money....I want his wife to think it's trustworthy to let him open his wallet a little more.
  5. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Post up Miranda's retriever dog photos in your shop, all the women will know just the kind of dog they are dealing with. :)
  6. Wolf

    Wolf AHOOoooooo!

    George, you don't have to answer the phone, say, "Hello" and hear, "Is your husband/boyfriend, available?"
    One of these days when I'm in a frisky mood, I'm going to answer, "My husband's a pilot and he's off duty right now, if you'd like to call American Airlines I'm sure they will be happy to assist with your travel plans. I have to get back to skinning animals now, thank you and have a nice day..."
    That being said I gotta work on number 4, no matter how much you bleach a white shirt, it is still going to stain...
  7. michael p.

    michael p. Getting better with age :)

    I got a couple of photo prints from Steve Favour that i'm framing for the showroom that look a hell of a lot better! :) LOL
  8. Is this what a taxidermist should look oike?? LOL

    Attached Files:

  9. gab

    gab Active Member

    I'm 5 for 8.old,fat,blue jeans,belt buckle,rough hands.i think that you attract customers of the same class you portray yourself to be.If you are professional,you will attract a more professional(and wealthier)clientele.
  10. In that case, MichealP will attract the chemotherapy croud from his photo LOl LOL
  11. I used to get the "Is your husband there" thing a lot. Not any more though. My shop is pretty clean and I also get the "This is nothing like I expected". I usually burn candles, if something arrives stinking it goes right back out the door. Sweats and t-shirts for me (black socks and dress shoes would look great with that) and I don't own enough clothes to change every time I get dirty. The apron drives me nuts.
  12. I agree with the rough hands part. I should take a photo.

    Left hand

    My left pinkie nail is purple. My left middle finger has a slice across the top and bottom. The tip of my left thumb has a slice.

    Right hand

    2 Slices on middle middle. Index finger - slice on knuckle. I can see a thin coat of some super glue gel on 2 of the nails

    Plus the whole palms are rougher than cob.

  13. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    You know that the ONE thing I always took care of - my hands. Even while I was working on jet engines, airplanes and cars. I got dirty, but I never allowed my hands to stay dirty long. I was anal about clean hands and when I wasn't wearing gloves of some sort, I had a rag closeby to wipe my hands on. When I got the chance, they were washed. Today, I hear comments about how "soft" my hands are doing the work I do. Just the way I've always been (no - I'm not obsessive/compulsive, just HATE dirty hands.)
  14. RDA

    RDA Well-Known Member

    ive been told my hands could be models,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,for dead folk...... ;D
  15. I believe most types of dress can be appropriate as long as you are neat and clean.

    How you talk to clients is of great importance to me.

    As for the neat, clean, orderly shop I am sinfully guilty. I like to say if the shop is spotless you aren't getting any work done but that is a lame excuse. The new shop isn't completely finished yet but this year I will get it in order.....I'm tired of the clutter.
  16. Taking care of your hands is very important. I religiously wear gloves and have for many years now.

    Before I started wearing the gloves and one of the reasons I do now was the use of Sculpt-All. I used to mix it with bare hands. After about a year of doing this my palms began to crack and split. They split to the point they would bleed. It took three years of treating them and wearing gloves to correct the problem completely. All is well now....lesson learned the hard way.

    Do as George said and take care of your hands!!!
  17. BWS

    BWS New Member

    I wear gloves very often in the shop..and always while handling anything raw or chemical....but i think it is the gloves that dry out my hands so bad! My hands stay clean, except for the occassional bondo or apoxy that gets stuck to my fingernail polish LOL.
  18. Becky P

    Becky P One must believe the glass is half full.

    1. Older man - uhm, nope

    2. Overweight - yeah, but working on changing that one, I even have a coach now ;)

    3. Wears bluejeans, often worn or with tears. - jeans - yes, depends on which pair if they are faded or not. holes - no, those go in the trash

    4. Wears a T-Shirt often stained - t-shirt - yes, that's about all I own. stains - sometimes, mainly when skinning, I'm not wearing a nice shirt to get bloody, other than that usually they are decent. Thinking about getting all camo shirts just for the shop so stains will blend in, I can't stand to wear an apron, it drives me nuts

    5. Chews tobacco usually but could be smoker (cigarettes or cigars, never a pipe) - NO, gross and NO ONE is allowed to smoke in my shop

    6. Wears cowboy boots that look worn - guilty, I'm hard on shoes of any kind. I can have a new pair of boots/shoes and a month later they look like I've had them forever even if they are clean

    7. Wears a big western buckle on a wide belt. - nope

    8. Rough hands - not too bad, I generally wear gloves

    Shop is bright. Work area may not be all that organized but it's off limits to customers. Showroom/pickup/dropoff/office area is kept decent.
  19. Justin P.

    Justin P. Active Member

    I seem to recall seeing pics of Newmeyer shirtless while working in some old how-to pics. That's a long way from dress shoes.
  20. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    How many have posted replies to this post in your pajamas or underwear?