Tag Archives: decorations

Priority Mail

Expedited Shipping, More Bitcoin Options, and an Alaska Gift Shop Map!

What Christmas celebration would be complete without moose poop artwork? Since Christmas is only nine days away, The Winking Moose has decided to offer an expedited shipping option. Our products can now be shipped from orders made on our website or eBay account via USPS Priority Mail to beat the busy holiday shipping rush!

Priority Mail

Over the past few months, The Winking Moose has been exploring options to make our products available for purchase with Bitcoin. The “Currency of the Internet” is sometimes difficult to actually spend compared to US dollars when it comes to holiday shopping. To offer Bitcoiners more holiday variety, The Winking Moose has now listed many of our products on “The Etsy of Bitcoin” website Bitdazzle.

Bitdazzle Symbol
Our Bitdazzle Store
The Alaska Moosquito Christmas Ornament
The Alaska Moosquito Christmas Ornament
The Alaska Mooseltoe Christmas Ornament
The Alaska Mooseltoe Christmas Ornament

Our artwork is now in five stores in Alaska and the list continues to grow. I mentioned four of these stores in last week’s article and last weekend during the North Pole Plaza Craft Bazaar the Alaska Moosquito and Mooseltoe Magnet both found their way into Way Up In Alaska in North Pole. Burnt Paw Cabins Gift Shop & Cabins is the next store looking to sell our products so we decided to make a map of Moose Poop in Alaska Gifts Shops. Pinterest’s new map board provided a slick interactive map option:

That’s it for this week. The Winking Moose is still hard at work filling the holiday demand for moose nugget gifts and we will be at the Winter Solstice Celebration in Downtown Fairbanks this weekend at Arctic Traveler’s Gift Shop from 4-8 pm on the shortest day of the year!

Display in Space For Movement Dance Studio

Beginning to Breakthrough: Moose Poop Artwork Now in Alaska Stores

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.

Moose Poop Display in Space For Movement Dance Studio

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!

Gun case full of Alaska moose poop artwork

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.

First Friday Jade Resale Boutique moose poop table

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.

Walking Moose Poop

Obstacles and Solutions for a Moose Poop Craft Business

When I decided to embark on the moose poop project that eventually became The Winking Moose I knew the future would hold some obstacles. Today I would like to discuss a few of these challenges and the solutions I have found to deal with them.

The first difficulty that was evident from the beginning has to do with resource collection. At the beginning this only meant finding quality moose nuggets, which could be a bit tricky. Many deposits were of too low quality for artwork production and I discuss some of the other moose poop-related challenges in last week’s article. Spending more time collecting and processing nuggets was the obvious solution to this problem. What was unforeseen was the difficulty gathering many of the other materials necessary to complete production of my line of moose poop artwork.

Walking Moose Poop

Craft stores were overwhelming at first and there are a number of stores in Fairbanks, Alaska. Large chain stores to small family run businesses. Now add the vast selection of stores online and the choices seem limitless. When I have bought out a particular resource (like colored wire) at a local store, I have had to wait for more to arrive or order my own online. In one fortunate instance, the owner of Alaska Raw Fur Company offered to order the specific wire I was looking for which was very helpful.

I have been able to utilize a number of recycled materials during production. In fact, without many of the recycled resources this project probably would never have been possible. My graphic design computer, printer, glue, moose antler wire, mini wreaths, and many paper products are all examples of items I acquired as gifts or through scavenging. Without these and many other products, the costs to start The Winking Moose would have been much higher. Many people have also volunteered their help and there is no way this project would have been possible without it.

Another uncontrollable element that has had an interesting effect on craft production is the weather. Fairbanks had a very long fall with warm weather extending through most of October. This abnormality allowed me to continue processing moose nuggets outside for most of the month. Now that there is snow and temperatures below 0 degrees F, processing moose poop has to be done inside, decreasing the output and increasing the inconvenience.

Moose Poop Craft Inventory

Keeping my craft room organized has also been a challenge. After preparations for my first craft bazaar it looked like a complete disaster. Learning to keep things clean and organized has been essential to sustain consistent production almost like working in a laboratory.

Overall, I am very happy with both the speed and direction at which this project has continued to move. Learning how to deal with the smaller problems has been trying at times, but is necessary to complete my larger goals while providing an excellent opportunity for acquiring new knowledge.

Holiday Craft Bazaar Display

Reflecting on My First Holiday Craft Bazaar

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of participating in the Holiday Craft Bazaar at Fairhill Christian School in Fairbanks, Alaska. It was a great opportunity to sell some of my products to the local community and provided with many interesting learning experiences.

Holiday Craft Bazaar Display

The Alaska Moosquito was definitely the most popular item I had for sale. Customers, especially children were interested in an insect made from moose poop. When it came to earrings and necklaces, I found that the customers frequenting this bazaar were a little hesitant to have moose nuggets so close to their face (even though they are dipped in polyurethane twice!). Christmas-related products were also a favorite for a number of bazaar-goers especially the Alaska Moose Nugget Christmas Ornament.

Moose Nugget earrings and Moosquitos

One of the most interesting things I learned was that The Winking Moose’s art was of interest to people who were trying to find Alaska-related gifts for their relatives in the lower 48. What better Christmas gift is there for that hard-to-gift friend or relative than a trinket made from an Alaska moose nugget?

Moose Poop Necklaces

A number of customers gave me some excellent ideas to modify some of my moose poop gifts. Making The Alaska Moosquito into a Christmas ornament and turning the Mooseltoe Magnet into a pin or broach were two of my favorite suggestions.

Having fun with holiday bazaar customers

The staff was very nice and accommodating and it was fun showcasing my items to people in real life instead of only on the internet. Interacting with customers and answering their questions was quite enjoyable. While it was nice making some sales, the learning experiences were invaluable and I look forward to participating in the holiday bazaar next weekend at Fairbanks Lutheran Church on Saturday, November 2.

Special thanks to my amazing girlfriend for her help and support with the bazaar!

Alaska Mooseltoe Magnet

How I Made The Alaska Mooseltoe Magnet

I decided to make an Alaska Mooseltoe product some time ago, but I was unsure exactly where to begin. This wouldn’t be the first time someone made a moose-related mistletoe product so I knew mine had to be unique. Since Christmas is a time where families and friends gather to eat and cook, I decided it might be fun to encourage mistletoe interactions in the heart of festive food preparations: the kitchen.

A magnet became the logical choice for the mooseltoe product, but it could also be made into a very nice Mooseltoe Christmas Ornament for the tree. Incorporating moose nuggets from the largest droppings of any moose on earth is one thing, but then making a mooseltoe product for either the kitchen or Christmas tree makes this product both comical and versatile.

Each Mooseltoe Magnet is made by attaching a magnet and synthetic mistletoe to a tiny wreath. Next, I place the sealed moose poop in the middle of the wreath after attaching the hand bent wire antlers, googly, eyes, and red nose. Tada!

Alaska Mooseltoe Magnet

Moose majestically roam the untouched wild of Alaska grazing on twigs which they eventually deposit, leading to enriched soil: an important part of the biological nutrient cycle. Each moose nugget collected by The Winking Moose is literally a beautiful part of Alaska neatly fashioned by nature into something you and your family can treasure for many seasons to come.
Each Alaska Mooseltoe Magnet, or any of our other products are great ways to enjoy something that only comes from Fairbanks, Alaska!

Thanks for dropping by,
The Winking Moose

the winking moose featured image

The Making of The Alaska Moosquito

I grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska and had the idea for The Alaska Moosquito several years ago. Why not make a mosquito out of a moose nugget and see if people want to buy it? Well, it’s actually a bit more complicated than I figured.

The main reason I decided to make The Alaska Moosquito has to do with my experiences during summer 2013 working as a fishing and rafting guide. I have lived in Fairbanks most of my life and I have become a little desensitized to some of the rarities of nature in The Land of the Midnight Sun. As I was driving one group of middle-aged women out for a day of fishing, we encountered a cow moose feeding in shallow water about 50 feet from the road and the women went crazy! Their breathing rate increased, squealing and involuntary movements were contagious, and all of the sudden I stopped the van to comply with their demands; I was afraid.

Alaska Moosquito

A fairly standard moose sighting probably just made these people’s trip to Alaska the memory of a lifetime. I was much more amazed watching the emotions displayed from the women than the moose itself, reminding me just how magical these moose really are.

There were many more moose sightings to follow, but there were also sightings of another notable Alaska animal: the mosquito. Most of the trips I guided last summer began in prime mosquito territory. I found that most of the out of state clients were not ready for the barrage that hit them as soon as they got out of the van at this put-in spot. Clients would ask, “Are the mosquitoes bad?” and I would try to make it sound like it would be okay, but for many people it wasn’t. No one ever asked to go back to their hotel, but I think a few people were close.

These two intense Alaska animal experiences reminded me of why Alaska Moosquito artwork was such an interesting concept. Intense emotion, good or bad, creates strong memories and what better way to remember an Alaskan experience than a handcrafted Alaska Moosequito? Plus, the moose droppings found in Fairbanks, Alaska come from the largest subspecies of moose in the world (Alces alces gigas) and by that logic are probably the largest moose nuggets in the world!

I make every Alaska Moosequito by hand using carefully selected moose poop of the highest quality and largest size available. After sealing each nugget for safety and preservation, I attach the rest of the mosquito parts including 3D-printed wings, hand-bent wire legs, a porcupine quill proboscis, and googly eyes. Each Alaska Moosequito is one of a kind and is also available as an ornament for the Christmas tree, or for wherever else you want to hang it.

Thanks for dropping by,
The Winking Moose

thank you moose


Dear Moose Nugget Enthusiasts,

Welcome to The Winking Moose!

Moose feeding on twigs

I just wanted to send out a personal greeting for the grand opening of my business. Currently, all of our products are handmade gifts and jewelry created using the same inspirational product: a moose nugget made by a local moose in Fairbanks, Alaska.

moose nuggets

The Winking Moose began with the idea of The Alaska Moosquito. This cute, high-tech, and one of a kind animal involves everything from 3D printed plastic wings to a porcupine quill proboscis and is sure to excite any Alaska enthusiast.

Alaska Moosquito

Next I want to introduce a product designed specifically for the 2013 Christmas season: The Alaska Moose Nugget Christmas Ornament. Of all the moose-specific ornaments out there this may be the only one that a moose actually helped to make!

Alaska Moose Nugget Christmas Ornament

Finally, to begin my quest into the growing field of moose dropping jewelry, I have made Alaska Moose Nugget Earrings. What sets these poop earrings apart from the rest is that they are both elegant and silly; a true gag-gift in disguise.

Alaska Moose Nugget Earrings

Feel free to check out the rest of this website or find The Winking Moose on Etsy. I have many other ideas which will soon be available so keep coming back for updates. And don’t be shy, I am happy to complete custom moose nugget products to suit your personal imagination! Just email me at: info@thewinkingmoose.com.

Thanks for dropping by,

The Winking Moose