Here's the Cliff's Notes Version (you're welcome).
- Owner - Georgia Cougar
- Established - 2006 as Ranch Hand Crafts - 2019 MoonShine NM.
- Location - Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Products - Apparel, Jewelry, Home Goods
- Product Origins - Hand-made in the USA or printed in the USA with original graphics, or purchased graphics
- Style - New Mexico flavored, Vintage-style, Wolf-Themed, Goofy, Snarky
- Packaging - Plastic/bubble wrap is second-hand/re-used packing from a local store, paper is shredded mailer inserts.
Thank you so much for stopping by! I've always wanted to have my own catalog company. So here we are, another in a long line of businesses started in an apartment in Albuquerque. No surprise that it was a lot of work, which doesn't bother me, but it also took a lot of patience, and skimming directions which almost killed me.
Like everyone will tell you, it takes an incredible amount of work to get to this point. It was a daunting amount of decision-making for a barely recovering perfectionist, but it was all fun...except for all the times that I had mini-meltdowns and was sobbing to God and to each App and program that I couldn't figure out to please, please help me.
Well, and the "Shipping" Section.
And writing this "About Us" section. Although I am using my English degree, so there's that.
For the past 18 years, I've been working for Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary (WSWS), Bride of Wolf Daddy and my favorite thing, Mom to Lakota. Like most people in small non-profits, we cover several jobs. At first, I was bookkeeper, member services, marketing, and newsletter. Currently, I am website, social media, graphics and merchandising. Like most martyrs at a labor of love, Leyton and I survived on less than 1/2 of what we are worth. It was fine while we were younger, but we need to make some grown-up money.
The name MoonShine comes from the story of the tiny town where we raised our daughter and took care of the wild canine rescues. That's why a lot of our merchandise is wolf-themed.
According to the government, the town is Ramah, but according to the locals, the town is Candy Kitchen. It's 12 square miles of what's what's left of a private cattle ranch tucked inside the Navajo reservation. Back in the1920s when ranching fell on hard times, the resourceful locals started making their own alcohol to sell, or "moonshine."
All alcohol was illegal back then and the government kept track of people buying a lot of sugar, which is a main ingredient of moonshine. As a cover, the moonshiners made fudge to sell and the cover operation was given the nickname "Candy Kitchen."
I had a fascinating conversation with a Ramah woman who remembered the trays of fudge, the gorgeous stills that the moonshine was made in and the beloved Saturday fiddle and dance parties held under to the two big ponderosa trees that still stand outside the wolf sanctuary.
So, when I was thinking of a name for our store, MoonShine just seemed to be the perfect combination of the colorful history of the town and the wolf sanctuary that it would become. Quick fun fact, wolves don't really howl at the moon, but they howl any time there is something to gossip about, or express emotion about.
Like the current town actually produces no Candy from it's Kitchen, I actually offer no drinkable moonshine from our store. Not yet, anyway.
Before I started working for WSWS, I had been making jewelry for fun for many years, and sold a few things occasionally. So, during a time when donations were particularly scarce, I added one small jewelry display in our nearly empty gift shop to try to get some money coming in. We kept adding more items like soap, cards and our original coloring book and then I started daydreaming about making a catalog of merchandise.
Over the years, the gift shop has boomed and we added t-shirts and stuffed animals and Leyton's book and would sell our merch at different venues in New Mexico. WSWS has an online store that also has original merchandise.
I am moving toward being a totally green, cruelty-free, no animal products store. I have one item with leather (I think it's leather the cords were given to me) and a couple dozen pearls, and a few items with shell. When they are sold out, I won't have any animal products. I have products with shed wolf fur from the WSWS rescues, but I really struggled with this decision. I never wanted to sell anything with even shed fur because the fur trade is so horrifying to me, that I didn't want anyone to connect me to that in any way.
There's no way I can compete with a Chinese company on Amazon, so my prices are higher, but still on the lower end of most small businesses.
I tried to howl out to any non-profit or starving artist or creator, because I know how much it means to get support or recognition in any way.