You're driving down the road and you see a raccoon on the side of the road, as you've seen countless roadkill in the past. You don't think much of it and you continue driving. For Pamela Paquin, founder of Petite Mort (literally meaning little death in French), she saw roadkill and saw a solution to a heated ethical debate: the fur industry. A woman who grew up on a farm and worked towards sustainability, spent some time in Denmark where the fur industry was taking off at the time. She loves animals and thought that the process was extremely wasteful. Along with other critics of the fur industry, she believed that animals should not be raised to be killed for fur. So, her ultimate solution was to use the roadkill that is abundant here in the US. It is estimated that about 1 million animals are killed on our roads per day, so 365 million animals killed per year. She saw this great abundance of fur that would normally just be picked up and thrown away and thought that this could be a solution to the problem of raising animals for their fur.
She visited a local taxidermist and learned how to skin and scrape animal pelts that people from the highway patrol, animal patrol, hunters and more have brought to her. She collects the roadkill in her home state of Massachusetts and must maintain a trappers' license in order to do so. She is not allowed to travel to other states to retrieve roadkill though. She must make contacts with others who maintain the license in other states so that she may buy the pelts from them.
Once the fur is removed from the animal, it is shipped to a tanner in Idaho that will work with partial pelts. When Ms. Paquin receives the furs back, she will begin to make what her customers are requesting. The price of her products is expensive, but those who are buying the products understand what they are paying for. They also hope to change the fur industry, but to still revel in the luxury of fur. Each piece made has a silver tag on the outside with the company name so that those who see her customers wearing fur are able to see where it came from and know that it was from a more humane business.
Ms. Paquin saw an answer to the problem of the fur industry in terms of roadkill and when asked if she sees roadkill as inevitable, she answered that as long as we drive cars that it could be. She heavily advocates for wildlife underpasses and even donates a portion of her profits to this cause.
As found in our readings for motivation, Amabile describes one mechanism of synergistic extrinsic motivators that influence creativity called the motivation-work cycle match. This states that when creatives are involved in solving a problem, synergistic extrinsic motivators allow the creative to remain involved with the process through learning and development of skills that extend beyond their domain, but better help them to complete the task at hand. When Ms. Paquin realized that she wanted to make fur coats out of roadkill, she made contact with the taxidermist in Vermont who taught her how to properly skin the animal for its pelt. This was not directly her domain, but she branched out in order to continue to create her solution to the ethical issues of the fur industry.
The ethical treatment of animals has been a long-standing debate, especially within the fur industry where people are raising and killing animals for the luxury of their fur. Ms. Paquin saw the need for an alternative solution to this problem and created an entirely new line of fur involving the use of roadkill. A novel idea, this fur business is taking off fast with many customers loving her invention around the world.