You’ve seen these feathers.

Maybe you saw them in Beyonce’s 2012 tour, or in the movie Rocketman, or on the Victoria’s Secret Angels. Perhaps you’ve seen them in packages at Jo-Ann Fabric and Party City. Or maybe you saw some of the five hundred pounds they supplied for the 2019 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

The company that supplied these feathers is located in California, Missouri, and is one of the top wholesale providers of feathers in the world. Siblings Abby and Anthony Arauz are the third-generation owners of Zucker Feather Products, Arkansas Valley Feathers, and The Feather Place. Zucker Feather Products offers exotic and customizable feathers, including peacock, ostrich, pheasant, turkey, chicken, duck, goose, and guinea. The company designs things like feather wings, Mohawks, head dresses, collars, masks, feather ear cuffs, feather necklaces, Halloween costumes, and much more for their customers.

Nagoire goose feathers hang to dry.

Colfax Feather Company came to life in Minnesota in the 1950s when Abby and Anthony Arauz’s grandparents, Minnie and John Dick, started the company to serve the fly fishing industry. In the 1970s, Abby and Anthony’s parents, Juan and Donna Arauz, purchased Colfax Feather Company while living in Arkansas and incorporated it into Arkansas Valley Feathers, then relocated to California, Missouri. In the 1980s they purchased Zucker Feather Products, which is now the parent company and brand name. Since then, the businesses have expanded even more.

All of the feathers are by products of agriculture and molting. They go to the dye shop in California first and go through a sterilization process. Afterward, they are hung to dry and then dyed in specific, homemade formulas. They are then sent over to the feather factory for design, sales, weighing, and shipping.

A massive pile of turkey feathers sit in the dye shop where they go for the sterilization process.

“There are some secret tricks and techniques to make them open up and take color,” Abby says. To set themselves apart from the crowd, they can do custom colors as they did for the Met Gala.

Abby Arauz stirs feathers while they are in the process of dyeing.

Growing up, Abby didn’t picture herself following in her family’s footsteps and pursuing feathers. Instead, she headed out to New York City to pursue her dream of dancing, but as fate would have it, the feathers followed her.

“I was a Rockette for ten years, and I was wearing a lot of different feathers in the productions that I was dancing in,” Abby says.

She began brokering deals with Broadway show costume shops, which led to her opening The Feather Place, a showroom in the Garment District in New York City in 1998.

In 2007, she and her brother Anthony opened a second showroom in Los Angeles. The New York showroom caters to Broadway shows and fashion houses, while the Los Angeles location is more movie and film oriented. Abby stayed in New York City for twenty years before moving to Columbia in 2010.

“We have this little triangle with Missouri in the heart,” Abby says.

Now Abby works with a tight-knit team to come up with new and innovative ideas for the business, and she can’t see herself doing anything else.

The team works on new designs everyday like the one you see here that’s perfect for Halloween and festivals.

“I realized feathers are really fun. They make people happy, and they’re a beautiful thing. I love design, I love fashion, and I love watching performances,” Abby says. “It was like a eureka moment where I realized I could combine all of these things I love to do.”

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