SAN ANTONIO — Inside his workshop, surrounded by furs and mock-ups, you'll find Gerardo Zavala.
For this long-time 'furrier' or designer, each piece begins on paper.
"When I start working on something I forget about everything else... and I don't stop until I finish," Gerardo Zavala, owner of Elegant Furs, said.
Each piece is measured out to perfection, because there's no room for error with these high-end materials.
"I just don't want he or she to like it. I want he or she to love it. To say, 'Oh my gosh!' And thank goodness I do get a lot of that," Zavala said.
It's that love and passion that have kept Zavala going at his craft for more than 40 years now.
"It is a really great feeling to me," Zavala said.
Getting his first "feel" for the business when he was just in grade school.
"My uncle who raised me and he was a furrier in Mexico, in Monterey," Zavala said. "They moved to Laredo and I used to go and help, work after school."
Zavala feels at home among the furs. He even moved to Alaska with his uncle to be trained among some of the best.
Years later, it was family who drew him back to Texas and landed him here in San Antonio, where he would later open his own shop, Elegant Furs.
Mink, Russian sable or buffalo creates timeless pieces.
"You'll have a coat for your kids. They can last 70, 80 years if you take care of them," Zavala said.
Zavala uses his artistry to even save or alter these rescue family heirlooms.
"I think the excitement is even bigger because it means something, probably more than a new coat to them," Zavala said.
Elegant Furs is created by hand and loved from start to finish.