Work and family have always gone hand in hand for Jessica Reddick Gatlin ’05. She remembers as a preschooler collecting beads with her younger sister, Roxy, from the floor of their parents’ craft supply business in Denison, Texas. By high school, the girls were taking orders over the phone, assisting in catalog production and helping run the business as it grew along with them.
When it came time for college, Gatlin wanted to put a little distance between her family – but not too much. Visiting TCU, home of her favorite color purple, she fell in love with the campus.
“It felt like home,” she recalled.
Today, Gatlin leans on her degree studying advertising and public relations as she continues to assist in the company’s marketing, while Roxy is a buyer and administrator with mom, Ginger, and dad, Rex, is still very much in charge of the unique business: Crazy Crow Trading Post.
The world’s largest source of craft supplies for Native American and historical re-enactor clothing, footwear, gear and craft kits, Crazy Crow is now based out of Pottsboro, Texas, about 90 miles northeast of Fort Worth near the Oklahoma border. More than 50 years after Rex began the business, it is still family-owned and operated.
“Our dad was in Boy Scouts when he started to learn about the Native American culture and tradition. He began to do silverwork in his parents’ basement, then would go to powwows and dances, where he would sell his jewelry,” Gatlin said of the early days. “It was at one of these where he met our mom.”
Jessica’s mother is Comanche and grew up in Lawton, Oklahoma, home of the Comanche Nation.
As their craft business took off, the couple started selling their wares from the rear of Rex’s parents’ jewelry store in Denison. Once they outgrew that, they moved to a 31,000-square-foot office and warehouse complex in Pottsboro, where all business is conducted online, through mail order or over the phone.
With more than 10,000 products – from blankets to craft kits, feathers, leather, knives, muzzle-loading supplies and more – it’s a lot to market. But the printed catalog, which Gatlin continues to help produce, is always in demand and frequently sells out. Besides individuals, customers include schools, museums and movie production companies, plus the re-enactment businesses.
Rex and Ginger both continue to travel to events to promote and grow the business, which Gatlin believes gets its stellar reputation from their attention to finding quality goods and providing the best service in the industry.