LULING — There is an old cliché that is “imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.”
Susie Rodriguez’s latest business endeavor is the perfect example of that.
Rodriguez, who has owned Susie’s Salon in Luling since 2004, has opted to start another venture involving old and dilapidated furs.
“I guess the best way you could describe what I am doing is ‘reFURposing’ old furs for new uses,” Rodriguez laughed. “Seriously, though, I don’t know how else you would phrase what I am doing. I am literally taking old furs that have been tossed out, thrown aside or have been hanging in closets or stored away in boxes and bringing them back to life in a variety of new forms.”
Rodriguez emphasized she is not involved in seeking new furs or pelts, just “reFURposing” old ones.
She first got interested in the art when some friends of hers from Luling and Seguin took a number of furs to Fort Worth to be made into something new. They took the old furs to an upholsterer, but Rodriguez was not overly impressed when she saw the finished product returned.
“I thought, ‘I can do better than that,’” she smiled. “I started researching how to do it and through lots of advice and help from my friends I started out on my own.”
Rodriguez said lots of people bring her old furs and she finds old pelts or even things that have been tossed aside.
“First I wash the workable furs, then oil them, then apply glaze to make them shine,” Rodriguez said. “Most of the old pelts or fur I have been working with is fox, but I really enjoy refurbishing these pieces that once represented a time of real glamor in the 20s, 30s and 40s.”
Rodriguez says she takes the old furs and makes everything from wraparounds to teddy bears, throw pillows, foot stools and even seat belt furs. It takes her about one week to complete a refurbished item.
“These shoulder wraps are very lovely,” Rodriguez noted. “When I attach the matching leather, they are perfect fashion for ladies showing horses. Doing all this is like therapy for me. I do enjoy it so.”
Rodriguez says she recently was given a fur coat from a 70-year old grandmother.
“She told me she was looking around her mother’s old home and found the glorious fur in a box just sitting there,” she recalled. “She asked me to make some designer throw pillows out of it as a remembrance to her mother.”
Rodriguez says anyone interested can stop by her salon. She has existing pieces to show off and sell, but she will also do special requests and projects. Plus, 10 percent of her sales she donates to St. Jude Hospital.