Highveld Taxidermists

Biography

There are very few small businesses that would survive if the principle message they sent to their customers was ‘we want you to get stuffed’. However, that is exactly what Highveld Taxidermists has been telling its important clientele for more than 30 years. Whether these clients are hunters or museums, the company provides taxidermy services that include packaging and shipment of the finished mounts to the client's door. According to Thomas Ochsenbein, the business was started by his father, who - like himself - is a passionate hunter and outdoorsman and who found that he was always disappointed with the quality of taxidermy work in South Africa. His answer to this was to buy a bankrupt taxidermist in 1981 and since then, Highveld taxidermy has focused on quality and customer service, providing its services to hunters from all over the world. He says that around 95% of his clients are from abroad, particularly the US, with the remainder being local clients. The service he offers to these customers is top quality, but is at a relatively cheaper price than that of comparable taxidermists overseas. What sets his business apart is the fact that skins can be treated straight away, as opposed to months later. This ultimately results in a better end product. More crucially, Thomas says that Highveld knows what African game looks like in its natural environment, whereas overseas taxidermists overseas have never seen this and have to work from photographic reference only. He believes that this unique understanding of African game translates into natural-looking trophies and high quality taxidermy creations. He adds that the business can also provide highly customised poses, according to the client's specifications. Already well known in hunting circles, Thomas says he wants the business to reach the point where it is known globally and is synonymous with top quality and service.