“Typical” first-time fur buyer isn’t buying it
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 2004:
Beth Mersten, 29, of Bloomfield, New Jersey, almost
perfectly fits the profile of the 29-year-old, educated, upwardly
mobile single professional woman, born and raised in the greater New
York City metropolitan area, whom the fur industry expects to buy
her first fur coat this winter.
Obviously some women who fit the profile will. Mersten will not.
Mersten is now Northeast community programs manager for the
Best Friends Animal Society, and previously worked for an animal
shelter, but before that she was employed at an animal research lab.
Mersten seemed to be a potential fur customer, according to
fur industry market research–but how accurate were the fur trade
assumptions about how she and her friends formed their image of fur?
ANIMAL PEOPLE asked Mersten about her first childhood view of fur.
“I thought it was strange and old-fashioned,” Mersten
responded. “Probably my grandmother wore it–a mink shawl.”
Did Mersten ever want to wear it?
“No!” Mersten said. “I learned early on about the cruelties
involved and the sad reality of fur,” an affirmation of the success
of 1980s anti-fur campaigns.
“It was simply disturbing,” Mersten continued. “I’m sure we
played with fur shawls and tried them on, along with other clothes
too big for us, but the fur was always a bit ‘icky.'”
Did Mersten know girls at school who admired fur?
“I don’t think so,” Mersten said. “I think we all realized
it was from a cuddly animal, and it seemed odd that they were killed
so that people could wear them.”
Except for trying on her grandmother’s shawl–maybe–when too
young to remember, Mersten never wore fur.
A survey of one cannot define a generation, but in Mersten’s
case the fur industry defined her. She varies from their description
of their ideal future fur customer in only one particular: she isn’t