The fur trade is experiencing its biggest boom since the French and Indian War
Largely thanks to the popularity of luxury winter coats with fur collars, the price of coyote pelts has risen as much as 40% in the past 4 years.
Now, with companies like Canada Goose poised to expand globally, the controversial North American fur trade is on track to return to a fur-lined glory it hasn’t seen in centuries.
From French trappers to swimsuit models
The fur trade was North America’s original global business. Enterprising French and British fur trappers — the startup founders of yestercentury — came to the New World for beaver pelts they could export to Europe’s high-fashion haberdashers (y’know, hatmakers).
For centuries, European powers waged bloody wars over the furry North American fashion statements. Davy Crockett’s signature look eventually fell out of fashion, and the market lay dormant for years…
Then, Kate Upton came along.
Furry, flirty, and thriving
In 2013, supermodel Kate Upton wore a Canada Goose jacket (complete with the coyote-trimmed hood) on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.
What happened next was PETA’s worst nightmare: Overnight, every A-list celebrity and trust-fund college kid had a dead coyote wrapped around his or her neck. Within 4 years, the 7-decade-old Canada Goose was growing so fast that it decided to IPO to expand its global business.
“Coyote furs are hot,” John Hughes, a veteran fur buyer, toldCNBC. “And it’s all due to the trim trade.”
A strangely fur-miliar business model
For the first time in centuries, fur pelts are a hot global commodity again. Hughes, who deals fur from Montana, processes about 10k coyotes annually and usually pays fur trappers between $75 and $120 per pelt.
Furriers then sell the purchased pelts to companies like Canada Goose, which, in turn, sell finished jackets across the globe for upwards of $1k.
When Canada Goose opened its first store in China last year, Chinese fashionistas lined up out the door for North America’s precious pelts — just like the French bourgeoisie had done 400 years before.