Tag Archives: mosquito

Online versus Offline Sales

Online Versus Offline Sales: Initial Thoughts

As Christmas quickly approaches, both online and offline sales have been on the rise for The Winking Moose. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and holiday bazaars have given me a good chance to compare selling moose poop gifts in these two sales venues.

Pioneer Park Holiday Bazaar Table

Last weekend, I participated in The Winking Moose’s fourth holiday bazaar of the 2013 season at the Pioneer Park Holiday Celebration. Since moose poop is an interesting subject here in Alaska, shoppers often have a lot of questions. In person I have the opportunity to answer these questions and tell interesting stories related to my business. It’s hard to say if my stories actually help make sales, but the customers seem to find them interesting and I believe this communication is positive. Communication online is left to my written descriptions and pictures. Sometimes I receive questions via email or Facebook and Etsy messages, but often a sale is made online without any communication from the customer.

I learn different information about my customers in person than I do online. Most of the customers I have had in person are buying gifts for relatives and typically sending their moose poop artwork to the Lower 48. I have the opportunity to ask questions and hear their stories as well, often learning useful ideas for future projects and new directions to take my work. Online, I often have no idea what the customer plans to do with the moose nugget artwork he or she purchases. Is the customer ordering 5 items planning to deck out their house in a holiday moose poop display or obtaining gifts for 5 different people?

Another interesting bit of information I receive from an online order is the destination of the package. Perhaps it is being sent to a friend as a gift or maybe it will be mailed to another location upon arrival. One thing that has been evident, however, is that the most common destinations for The Winking Moose’s products have been California, Texas, and New York. Maine and Washington are also popular destinations.

Online versus Offline Sales

Two products have risen to the top in both online and offline sales. The Alaska Moosquito (either as a figure or as an ornament) has been the top seller in person and a close second online. The Alaska Mooseltoe Christmas Ornament has been the most popular online product and has also sold well in person. Mooseltoe Magnets and Moose Nugget Necklaces have also been very popular. Christmas bazaars have given The Winking Moose a good opportunity to test the sales potential of new products before releasing them online.

The Alaska Moosquito Christmas Ornament
The Alaska Moosquito Christmas Ornament

The Alaska Mooseltoe Christmas Ornament
The Alaska Mooseltoe Christmas Ornament

The Winking Moose has products in a local gift shop here in Fairbanks and soon they should be in several other stores as well. I have yet to follow up with the owner of Alaska Raw Fur Company to find out how sales have gone and I am excited to hear her observations.

That about wraps up my initial thoughts regarding online versus offline moose poop artwork sales. I am excited for more in person events like First Friday coming up on December 6 at Jade Resale Boutique here in Fairbanks, sales in gift shops, and the final holiday bazaars of this season. Online sales are also very exciting and The Winking Moose even received an order as I was writing this article! Whether products are selling rapidly or not at all, there is always something to learn and adjustments to make which makes selling moose nugget artwork quite fascinating.

Winking Moose Nugget Necklace

The Popularity of Moose Poop at My Second Holiday Craft Bazaar

Last weekend I had the opportunity to sell my moose nugget artwork at my second Christmas craft bazaar of the 2013 holiday season. The location was Fairbanks Lutheran Church and the customer response was quite a bit different than what I observed at my first holiday bazaar, in a very positive way.

Moosquito Swarm and Me

While I learned a lot and had fun at the bazaar the previous weekend, this time I actually sold a significant amount of my moose nugget artwork. My supply of Alaska Moosquitos has been severely depleted and they were easily my most popular product. There were also more people at this bazaar, but more importantly there was a higher concentration of customers interested in moose nugget products. Even joking around with the non-buyers was more fun. The lesson I learned is that my products fill a buyer-niche that depends on the attitudes of the customer, something I must be very mindful of if I want to make more sales.

In college I learned a bit about nuclear physics and an interesting purchasing pattern I observed reminded me of a nuclear chain reaction. It seemed like customers would appear out of nowhere looking to buy multiple products before they had even seen my table or talked to me. The chain reaction I am talking about can best be explained by one customer proudly showing their moose poop artwork to other craft bazaar patrons who see it and must purchase some of their own. This “buzz” pattern accounted for a significant percent of the purchases at this bazaar.

Winking Moose Nugget Necklace

Often times after I talked to a customer and answered some of their questions, they became interested in making a purchase especially as a gift for a relative or friend. The majority of moose dropping art that was purchased was probably as a gift for an out-of-state relative. Although I originally wore my Moose Nugget Necklace as an advertisement, I found it quite enjoyable to wear and I think some customers were also purchasing items for their own personal use.

I use Square to run credit and debit cards with my iPhone. I figured this might come in handy from time to time, but I was again surprised at how useful it really was. Around half of my sales were actually made using the Square reader and people buying larger numbers of products wanted to use a credit card most of the time.

Craft Tree Table

Now it’s time to talk some real poop. I spend a lot of time working by myself with moose nuggets. Sometimes I find myself caught up in the moment where I am psyched to work with the medium that is a moose dropping. Other times, as I drill into these moose deposits, I find myself thinking “what in the world am I doing?” Either way, working with moose poop can be both thrilling and weird.

I found a family several tables down from mine who had worked with moose nuggets in the past. We began sharing stories and I finally found people who understood the real trials and tribulations of a moose poop artist. The jokes, the details, and the friendly family made for a great experience that I was not expecting. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one out there who finds working with moose droppings to be both strange and enjoyable.

Since I am new to the crafting scene I often learn a lot from veteran crafters at these events. I must send out a thank you to my craft table neighbor Denise who operates Goldstream Valley Arts. She was very friendly and gave me some great advice and ideas for future craft production.

Craft Table Experiment

Finally, I used to joke a lot with my friends about different experiments or funny things we could do. Now, in reality I get the chance to try some of these silly experiments and that’s exactly what I had the grateful opportunity to do at this bazaar. My early attempts to coat moose nuggets left me with some poop that wasn’t high-quality enough to use for the final products. I put some of these subpar nuggets in a bowl next to my business cards. On the other side of the business cards I put out another bowl filled with candy whoppers (pictured above). Watching people’s reactions to this setup was hilarious. Most were great and lead to some really funny interactions that I won’t forget. even the upsetting reactions were something I couldn’t help but laugh at.

I would like to thank Fairbanks Lutheran Church for putting on such a fun event and all the people who stopped by The Winking Moose’s table. I plan to participate in several more holiday craft bazaars before Christmas and after this past weekend I am even more than excited to do so. Choosing the right ones with the demographics interested in moose poop gifts will be an enjoyable challenge and now that I have the basics down, I am really looking forward to selling more moose nugget artwork and having a lot more fun!

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!

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