INTERVIEW: Conversing with HRH the Queen of Gator
Christy Plott Redd is the Vice President and Creative Director of American Tanning and Leather LLC
American Tanning and Leather Company (website) is the United States’ foremost tanner of reptile leathers. Located in Griffin, Georgia, they are a stone’s throw away from the source of the finest raw material in the world for precious leathers – Louisiana alligator.
Owned and operated by the Plott family, American Tanning and Leather Company has 4 generations of experience.
- American Tanning and Leather Dye Drums
American Tanning and Leather Company supplies top fashion houses in New York, Paris, and Milan with the most exquisite alligator and crocodile leather. The Plott family’s 26 year tenure in the fashion business continues today because of their top quality, premium service, and keen eye for developing trends in exotic leather before anyone else.
- American Tanning and Leather Skin Stretching Boards
Every single skin tanned by American Tanning and Leather Company is hand-selected directly from Louisiana’s alligator fishermen. They are proud to be the ONLY tanner of exotic leather to work directly with the trapper, ensuring the very best quality and best connection to its precious raw material.
American Tanning and Leather Company is committed to producing the world’s finest exotic leathers. It is proud to produce 100% of line of leathers in the U.S.A.
ADDRESSING THE QUEEN
CZ: As one of your loyal subjects, is there any protocol I should know when addressing the Queen of Gator? Any traditions or national holidays I need to observe?
HRH: The only protocol required when addressing Moi is to be polite and kind. Bad manners are a huge no-no and major faux pas in my book. I love being around people that are energetic, funny, and smart, and I appreciate friends that are genuine and honest. Frenemies are not something I tolerate. Either I like you or I don’t. Halloween is my favorite holiday because I love to dress up, but my friends like to toast the anniversary of my 21st Birthday with a glass of bubbly, which comes on March 12th, each and every year.
CZ: Why should I buy alligator skin products, what’s your favorite alligator skin products on the market now, or in your personal collection?
HRH: American alligators can only be found in the Southeastern coastal areas of the USA. A proper Southern Belle always supports her hometown, so I like to think of myself as a patron of the South when I look at my closet full of alligator bags. My favorite alligator products on the market right now are the beautiful coats and skirts that my friends at J. Mendel have done. I love everyone that works for there. They are not only talented designers, but also wonderful people, full of charm and charisma. I only want to surround myself with positive people that enrich my life, so working with the team at J. Mendel is always a treat. I also adore the Ralph Lauren Ricky bag that was in the Spring 2012 ad campaign. The bag is made in an exclusive color and finish called Tarnished Platinum. It is simply divine- pure heaven. As far as my personal products go, I love my Alexandra Knight Mercury bag and my Jada Loveless Isabel Clutch. I have a few jackets and shoes, too, but the bags are my real treasures. My newest addition to my collection will be delivered this fall – a custom made, one of a kind alligator motorcycle jacket. I’m ready for cold weather so I can wear it!
CZ: When you decide to “Hold Court” where can we find you? (where are your favorite places to hang out? Secret Honky Tonks, LA Fashion Scene etc…)
HRH: As a member of Delta’s elite Diamond Medallion club, I travel all the time. When I travel, I like to stay at cool hotels and go to great restaurants and bars. Here are a few of my favorites:
The Standard in NYC’s meatpacking district is one of my favorite places to stay. My friends and I have been known to shut down Le Bain or the Soho House, and we sometimes end up at The Jane late night. Los Angeles is also a great city. I love to lunch at the Beverly Hills hotel by the pool; two weeks ago, I overheard a lady who appeared to be well into her 80’s tell her friends that “Elvis popped [her] cherry”. I used to live in Marina del Rey, so I frequented places like Gjelina on Abbott Kinney, and nothing is better than a cold beer and a burger at the Hinano in Venice Beach. In Milan, I like to hang out at the Bulgari on the patio, and in Bologna, I love S-wine Bar and 4 Viale Masini. You can find me at the Hotel Crillion bar in Paris having champagne or La Rôtisserie du Beaujolais for dinner. My new Parisian obsession is Chez Fernand; the food is amazing. Brasserie Lipp is also wonderful, and when I feel a little homesick I visit Ralph Lauren’s fabulous burger restaurant on Saint-Germain. The real truth? I love to be on the go, but honestly, there’s no place like home. Georgia is ALWAYS on my mind. My family owns a plantation in South Georgia, and that is my sanctuary on the weekends. It’s a place where I can relax and unwind. When I go to the city, my favorite restaurants in Atlanta are JCT Kitchen, The Varsity, and Chops. I enjoy a good glass of wine at the St. Regis bar from time to time, and I have also been spotted at Blake’s chatting it up with Atlanta’s chicest gay men.
CZ: What is the Royal Opinion of ‘Honey Boo Boo Child’?
HRH: I love Honey Boo Boo! She’s little girl with a huge personality , and in my book, she is adorable and hilarious. I hear so many people saying mean things about Alana and her family, and I think anyone who criticizes a 6 year old is a jerk. Don’t hate; appreciate! Honey Boo Boo seems to have a loving family, and although they aren’t the Trumps or the Vanderbilts, they are certainly more successful and well known that most of the people talking trash on them. They are famous for being outlandish, and that’s more than most people can say they’ve accomplished. I’m sure she goes home and does her homework like all the other kids in her class. People need to give her a break, and not take the TV show too seriously. It’s meant to be funny, and it is! I’m PRO Honey Boo Boo. I would love to meet her, and take her out for ice cream with sprinkles.
CZ: Do you have any advice for designers starting in the fashion or accessory business?
HRH: Marry a billionaire! (Not joking.) This business is expensive. So if you want to be a high end fashion designer, you better have a boatload of cash or a major sugar daddy that will support you. I recently started helping one of my clients build a luxury brand, and even as a seasoned insider, I had no idea of the challenges involved in getting a luxury brand off the ground. The biggest challenge is manufacturing. Every detail of every product made in my business must be perfect, otherwise it’s impossible to compete. New designers need a clear and precise vision and business plan for their company, and a unique product that has a specific target market. Niche is better when it comes to luxury; small quantities with high margins are the way to go. I like to tell people that want to start in the alligator bag business that they should go on a fabulous vacation, a huge shopping spree, and maybe take $100K and burn it. If they can’t afford to do all that, then the alligator bag business should be avoided. Most people can’t make it, so I try to scare people out of their wits before I let them buy skins from me.
CZ: Any Life advice, Truisms, or Famous Quotes from Her Majesty the Queen of Gator?
HRH: Even before I held the title of the Queen of Alligator, I always wanted to shine…. I even asked my Godmother once if I ‘sparkled.’ If you want to be fabulous, surround yourself with people you love and live your life like today is your last. Don’t work another second in a job you hate. Make things happen in your life; good fortune isn’t by chance. Don’t accept a first offer, and remember that ‘NO’ is a starting point for negotiations. Always keep it classy; always keep it real. If you abide by these little words of wisdom, you, too, can sparkle like me.
Later Gator –
HRH, The Queen of Alligator
Alligator Heiress. Southern Belle. Aspring J.A.P.