In the past week, The Winking Moose’s artwork has made its way into three stores in Fairbanks, Alaska. Online orders continue as Christmas nears and sales at holiday bazaars have been profitable.
Originally, I speculated that the best venue for moose nugget artwork would be in Alaska-themed gift shops throughout the state. The online selling potential of my website, Etsy, eBay, and the Square Market opened up immediate opportunities to start marketing The Winking Moose’s products, however. I was able to get the company up and moving this way before I was ready to start selling to gift shops.
Holiday bazaars were also not part of my original plan. One day I saw a flyer for a holiday bazaar on a bulletin board in the grocery store. I thought that maybe Fairbanksans would be interested in my Alaskan moose poop products as gifts for their relatives. Although the first bazaar I participated in wasn’t the biggest sales event, I learned some things that were very important and the next one was a great success. Meeting fellow crafters and hearing their stories and advice has also been extremely helpful and fun.
Refining my products and hearing customer feedback at bazaars along with fine-tuning my online sales routine (writing descriptions, taking pictures, html, and dealing with shipping) has helped prepare The Winking Moose to cross into the realm of marketing to gift shops: the original plan.
A few weeks ago I described my first experience working to sell my products in a local gift shop. The owner of Alaska Raw Fur Company decided to put several of my products in her store after I showed her a selection of moose poop products in an old gun case. Earlier that day, however, I brought the same bunch of moose poop gifts into another local shop and before I even opened the case, the owner of The Ornamentry informed me that in over 20 years she had never sold ‘excrement’ in her store (she was helpful and suggested I make some of my products using something other than poop and took several of my business cards for customers who might be looking for moose poop gifts). You win some, you lose some!
Last week I was finally able to showcase my refined moose poop creations to the owner of Arctic Traveler’s Gift Shop. This is a very popular tourist stop for those looking to find Alaskan gifts during their visit to Fairbanks. Its downtown location is excellent and it has an extensive selection of gifts. After working hard to convince the owner to take a look at my wares, it was only a matter of opening the case before she instantly wanted the products in her store. She has created an entire display for The Winking Moose and has also been very helpful by giving me ideas to create professional looking tags for the products she purchased.
I had the opportunity last Friday to showcase my artwork at Jade Resale Boutique, another shop located in downtown Fairbanks near the tourist hubs. The First Friday event was really fun, an excellent opportunity to discuss business, and the owner decided to purchase some Alaska Moosquitoes for her store.
On Saturday, I participated in the Ryan Middle School Holiday Bazaar and had a blast. The owners of Burnt Paw & Cabins Outback in Tok, Alaska stopped by my table and left a business card to arrange a purchase of some moose poop artwork for their gift shop by the end of the month. After the bazaar, the owner of Space For Movement Studio (another downtown Fairbanks location) allowed me to create an entire display case full of my products in her store.
I am very thankful that each of these business owners decided to give The Winking Moose the opportunity to make progress towards my original plan of marketing my Alaska moose nugget artwork in gift shops in Alaska. I look forward to following up with each store owner to see how products are selling and I am very excited for the future since tourist season is much busier in the summer. Not only has The Winking Moose benefited from these opportunities, but I believe the businesses will also benefit as well.