In the Press

Read about what people are saying about Alaska Cache Box

 

Fairbanks business offers handpicked boxes of Alaskana gifts

 Matt Buxton mbuxton@newsminer.com Jan 8, 2017


 

FAIRBANKS — Whether you’re  looking for an easy Alaska-themed gift for friends Outside, to discover  new and interesting Alaska-made goods or are looking for a little  reminder of the 49th state, there’s a service for you.

Alaska  Cache Box is the creation of longtime Fairbanks resident Melissa  Nelson, and offers a handpicked collection of Alaska-made products in a  box mailed out every quarter.

The  subscription box business has been wildly popular, offering subscribers  monthly or quarterly shipments of curated items. There are boxes that  focus on beauty products, outdoor recreation, pop culture and even  professional wrestling.

The  Alaska Cache Box is $45.95 plus shipping and is sent out four times per  year, in March, June, September and December. Individual single boxes  are also available without a subscription for the same price.

“I  started hearing more about subscription box businesses and didn’t see  any for Alaska, so I figured I’d give it a shot and try to start one,”  she said. “It was more of an experiment to see how to run a small  business like that and how to help promote other Alaskan small  businesses. When I started it was and it still is my main goal to  promote other small Alaska businesses.”

The  boxes contain a collection of clothing, foods, dog treats, jewelry, art  and other items based on the preferences of the subscriber. Nelson  works with small businesses throughout the state to find new and  interesting items to put in each box.

She  said she tries to stay away from too much Alaskana items — things that  scream Alaska — and focus more on the broad wealth of items made by  Alaskans.

“I  hope I can get another side of Alaska out to people that isn’t the  reality TV side. There’s more depth to Alaska than what you see on  television,” she said.

Nelson  said she got the idea for the curated subscription box after selling  her jewelry at craft shows and holiday bazaars. She said the craft  business can be tough, and it’s often up to one person to produce,  market and sell everything.

“I  work mainly with very small companies. A lot of times that are just one  person doing all the work,” she said. “Having been there and really  still being there — because this is a sole venture here — I really  understand how taxing that can be and how it really helps having a  little bit of support.”

She  said one of her goals is to set up an online community for these kinds  of small businesses to meet each other, offer advice and find ways to  collaborate.

Nelson’s  goal to share Alaska with others goes beyond the items she chooses for  each box. In addition to the business, her blog spotlights businesses as  well as Alaska artists and must-eat places in Fairbanks.

The  Alaska Cache Box has been a small but growing business, Nelson said.  She said she ships boxes across the country, but also plenty throughout  Alaska. The box has received positive reviews, with many subscribers  saying they found it a good way to stay in touch with the state or get a  taste of a state they want to visit.

“My  goal and my purpose for this isn’t to make a lot of money and retire in  the Bahamas,” Nelson said. “That’s not my goal here — and realistically  it’s not going to happen — but my goal is to get Alaska out there to  people, and get this smaller artist stuff into people’s hands.”

Contact staff writer Matt Buxton at 459-7544. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics.