Nathaniel Boisjolie, is a highly-skilled craftsman and artist in a most unusual field. Heís founder, owner, and sole operator of Non-Typical Taxidermy in Tolar.
Boisjolie has a reputation for superb-quality work in the field and we recently sat down with him in his home-based shop to put a spotlight on his non-typical business.
Q: Can you give our readers a little background about yourself and how you came to this unusual kind of business?
A: I grew up in Minnesota and moved to Tolar when I was about 15 and have lived here ever since. My momís side of the family lives out toward Abilene so thatís what drew us here.
Iíve been doing taxidermy since 2005. Thatís easy to remember because thatís the year my son Jaxson was born and heís eight. My wife Heather teaches English here at Tolar Junior High and we have another child, Grace, whoís five.
As for how I got into this, Iíve always been a hunter and outdoorsman; I love animals and was just kind of doing this on the side to see what it was like while I was working for Coca-Cola. Then a friend of mine called and told me about the Central Texas School of Taxidermy, so I took their course. It was a good decision because I really love what I do, the interaction with other hunters and especially, working for myself.
Q: How does it work in terms of types of animals that taxidermists work on. For instance, do you do everything from birds to mammals or do you specialize?
A: There are guys who just do white tail deer, for instance, but I do all North American animals, though white tail are the majority of my business simply because thereís so much of that kind of hunting in our area.
I do a lot of shoulder mounts on white tail, with the head turned left or right. If you do the old straight-on head mount, you donít get the muscle detail of the animal and it doesnít look as lifelike. Iím very focused on getting that lifelike look for my customers.
Q: Your business is called ďNon-Typical Taxidermy.Ē Where did that unusual name come from and how does it work on a practical level in terms of what your customers can expect?
A: Because of the name, a lot of people think itís going to be oddities and things like that, but itís not. Itís standard taxidermy work, but the reason itís non-typical is that I put the emphasis on the customerís experience working with me. If you ask people about taxidermists, many people have a bad story to tell. Thatís what Iím trying to correct.
Workmanship depends on the individual taxidermist and I pride myself on that. I consider myself to be a craftsman and I want people to have the highest quality, most appealing trophy they can get when they leave here.
Iím a one-person operation, and while I want to grow it as much as possible like any businessman, I really donít want to hire people and deal with that. Iíve tried that; it just doesnít work for me. Doing it myself, Iím putting my own stamp on everything that leaves the shop so I know for certain itís as good as I can make it.
Another thing Iím really concerned with is the turn-around time issue. With a lot of bigger taxidermy shops theyíll quote you as long as a two or three year turn-around. If you think about that, it means that if you drop off a trophy deer this season, you wonít see it for two more seasons. Thatís a long time to wait.
But my turn-around time is set up to see that everybody gets their animal back within a calendar year. A few might go over that a little if someone wants something special, but I only do that if the customerís okay with that.
For that reason, I only take in a certain number of deer each year so that theyíll be out by the next season. Some things just take longer, like bigger, full-body animals - mountain lions for instance. But whatever it is, I want the customer to have exactly what they want in a reasonable amount of time. I want to establish a long-term relationship with every person, one in which theyíre happy with my work and want to keep coming back because they know they can count on quality.