Devon B. Katzev, Straight Arrow Products Inc. - The Makers of the Original Mane ‘n Tail
“My parents bred and showed Arabian horses in the 60’s and 70’s that we had on our family farm in rural NJ near Phillipsburg. Back then a lot of people were washing their horses with harsh dishwashing detergents. We decided to make a really good conditioner instead-—horse hair is three times thicker than human hair and horses are exposed to the sun for most of the day so it can dry out easily. We created a unique formula that combined coconut oil, vegetable oil, and micro-enriched proteins, and put it on our horses’ manes and tails. People would see their shiny, full hair and say ‘Wow, what are you guys doing to your horses?’ The conditioner took off from there. We would mix it on our farm and sell it to other breeders out of the back of a pickup truck. Instead of coming home from school and doing other things, I was making horse-hair conditioner in our kitchen sink. More and more people started calling us up and asking ‘Can I try this stuff on myself?’ And we thought: why not? In 1985, we made the shampoo and started marketing for humans, too, and selling in drugstores. The conditioner had already built up such a following in the equine industry, and we just plowed right into the beauty business. We still have two sets of directions on every bottle of the Original Shampoo and Conditioner—one for humans, one for horses—but most of our customers today have probably never ridden a horse much less washed one.” Excerpts from Interview from Allure magazine October 2017.
So, my passion started young…it was always in my blood. However, like any teenager, I had other interests. I had long hair in the 80’s and played guitar in a band. I wasn’t even thinking of getting involved in the family business. Instead, I went to welding school. My mother and a non-family member business partner were running the business in the late 80’s and early 90’s so I wasn’t really involved then. Later, when the business partner was started taking the company in a direction that was not profitable, my Dad and I took the business back. Although, I was really young, without much business experience, I knew something wasn’t quite right with the books! We had to go through unthinkable measures to get the company back and then back on track. We did it, and that was the best education I could ever have had! So now I basically live and breathe Straight Arrow. I am hands on with every formula, from product development, to getting it out the door, I know what goes into every bottle and stand behind the quality of all of our products. In the past few years, Straight Arrow has been fortunate enough to be able to acquire two equine grooming companies and expand our Mane ‘n Tail personal care business with the building of a new plant in Forks Twp., where our corporate offices will eventually move. I am proud to say that we make all our products here in the Lehigh Valley, and really value every employee like they are family. Even though we are an International business, we are still family- owned and family-run. I am happy to carry on the Straight Arrow legacy that my parents started. I enjoy what I do every day.
Straight Arrow Products, Inc., since 1970, continues to create and provide exclusive hair and skin care products renowned for quality and performance in both the Equestrian and Personal Care markets. We’ve honed our roots by initially producing under the brand names Mane ‘n Tail®, Hoofmaker®, and Mineral Ice®. Naturally expanding to accommodate people, as the equestrian audience discovered a valuable ‘secret’, that the products they were using on their horses, created remarkable results when used on themselves, as well. Mane ‘n Tail is now a leading brand in the personal hair and skin care world. Straight Arrow continues to manufacture all products right here in the USA, adhering to strict quality assurances, guidelines and consistently meeting a high-performance standard. As our business has continued to grow, we have expanded our variety of equine products to include the brands Cowboy Magic and Exhibitor’s. Our credo is to “Satisfy the Customer” which has been our company’s tradition from day one. Straight Arrow currently sells its products in over 175,000+ locations throughout North America and internationally.
Straight Arrow Products, Inc. 2020 Highland Ave. Bethlehem, PA 18020 phone: 610-882-9606