The feather in the movie “Forest Gump” starring Tom Hanks symbolized a life that’s either blowing in the wind and landing seemingly by chance or that follows a preordained destiny.
A natural byproduct of the turkey that will be the star of 88 percent of American’s Thanksgiving table, the feather served as the inspiration for what became the Arkansas Valley Feather Company and Zucker Feather products headquartered in California, Missouri.
“My grandparents started their business out of the basement of their home,” said Abby Arauz-Chase, the COO and third-generation owner of the compnay. “They would collect, wash and dye the feathers and then load their van and sell them to fly fisherman all over the country in Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Montana.”
Arauz-Chase and her brother and CEO, Anthony, traveled with her grandparents and spent summers counting feathers in bundles of one-hundred.
Arauz-Chase attended Helias High School and after graduating with a degree in dance and minors in business and Spanish at Stephens College, she moved to New York City and was chosen to be a prestigious Rockette at Radio City Music Hall.
While meeting celebrities who came to the shows–she danced with Liza Minnelli–she began brokering feather orders for her parent’s company and became known as “The Feather Lady,” and her clients expanded to fashion designers and other Broadway show costumers. She opened The Feather Place showroom in New York 19 years ago and it is still located in Manhattan’s Garment District.
Today Zucker Feather Products consists of a 77,0000 sq. foot of factory space on Hwy. 87 N. in California and two showrooms in Los Angeles and New York. The leading U.S. supplier of feathers – peacock, ostrich, pheasant, duck, goose, guinea, chicken and turkey– to the domestic and international wholesale and retail markets, Zucker Feather’s clients include Michael’s, JoAnn Fabrics, Hobby Lobby and fashion houses such as Chanel and Ralph Lauren. Feathers go into the wings worn by Victoria’s Secret models and are used in film and television programs from Big Bird on “Sesame Street” to movies such as “Maleficent” and “The Hunger Games” as well as costumes for Beyonce’s latest concert tour.
Arauz-Chase expanded the company into finished products, online marketing and DIY craft ideas. The feathers are also made into ornaments, garlands, wreaths and tree collections that add a modern twist to holiday decorating.