Hide Out // FurEver’s deerly-made products by Chad and Jac Valitchka (below) come as coasters (above), pocket squares, and bottle accents. The Valitchkas salvage the white-tailed-deer hides from processors working with South Carolina Hunters and Landowners for the Hungry, which donates venison to underserved populations in South Carolina.
Who knows where and when inspiration will strike. For hunter and outdoorsman Chad Valitchka, it hit on a cool October evening in 2013 as he and his girlfriend Jac Chebatoris were preparing for a party at Hotel Domestique. “We were at Chad’s house, getting ready to leave, and when I walked outside it was a little chilly,” Jac says. “So Chad ran back in and grabbed a fox fur stole he happened to have lying around.” But with Jac now warmly, and fashionably, decked out in the stole, Chad felt a bit underdressed. So he made a second trip back inside and cut a small square out of one of his deer hides and stuffed it inside his jacket pocket. Chad’s impromptu deer fur pocket square was the talk of the night.
A few months later, the couple attended a party in Charleston and again Chad’s deer fur pocket square was a success. “I could have been on fire and no one would have noticed me,” Jac says. “Everyone pushed right past me to get to a look at Chad’s pocket square.” The partygoers said the item was “cool” and “unique” and a “conversation starter,” but most importantly, they wanted to know where they could get one.
Fast-forward three years and quite a bit has changed. Chad and Jac are now married and the proud parents of a two-year-old son. They are also busy handcrafting one-of-a-kind deer fur products for their company, FurEver. The line includes the original deer fur pocket square, as well as coasters and bottle accents.
To keep up with demand, the couple developed a relationship with South Carolina Hunters and Landowners for the Hungry, an organization that works with deer processors to provide frozen meat to food banks throughout the state. Last year the organization delivered almost 50,000 pounds of donated venison to the underserved of South Carolina. Chad collects the unused deer hides from the processors involved with the organization and then takes them to a Greenville-based tannery. “So it goes from the hunters to the processors to the tanner then to us,” Chad says. “Every part of it is very local.”
But the process of hide-cutting isn’t a simple slice with a pair of scissors. “It’s a very challenging fur to cut because it swirls,” Chad says. “If you get a deer in the early fall, the fur is reddish and thin, but by the end of deer season it’s thicker and heavier. It’s hard to get a good linear cut.” Chad and Jac use every part of the hide for their products—the pocket squares come from the sides of the hide, the coasters from the center, and the tail becomes the bottle accent. The duo also donates a portion of their proceeds back to South Carolina Hunters and Landowners for the Hungry.
What started as a last-minute fashion accessory has transformed into a growing business honoring the beauty of the white-tailed deer, which incidentally is the state animal of South Carolina. Asked if she could have predicted this business venture a few years ago when she and Chad were dating, Jac says it should have been obvious. “I mean he is the kind of man who just happened to have a fox fur stole lying around his house.”
For more information, as well as product pricing, check out fureversc.com or call (864) 884-5919.