Business Spotlight: ArXotica

This is the first in our series spotlighting Alaskan small businesses.  At Alaska Cache Box we hope that you enjoy the products we introduce you to and purchase more items directly from the businesses we partner with.  ArXotica is one such business we have had the pleasure to work with.  Heralding from Bethel, Alaska, a rural community 400 mile west of Anchorage with only just over 6,000 residents, the sisters of ArXotica run a thriving business offering skin care products wild sourced from the tundra surrounding their homes. They have been gracious enough to provide a little insight into their business and life off of the Alaskan road system.

ArXotica offers a variety of skin care products perfect for your every need.
ArXotica offers a variety of skin care products perfect for your every need.

Describe your business; how long have you been operating? Where is your business located? Why did you start your business?

We are triplet sisters, best friends and members of the Qissunamiut Tribe. Our name ArXotica, is an amalgam of Arctic and Exotic, we wanted our name to connote the wild, breathtaking purity and uniqueness of our wild harvest sourced materials. We’ve been around as an award winning concept and company for 10 years, based out of Bethel, the heart of the massive 44 million acre Yukon Kuskokwim Delta of Western Alaska. We started our business because the Alaska Federation of Natives wanted to cultivate entrepreneurial thinking in rural Alaska. We sisters felt that even though we had day jobs and were starting our families, we had something special enough to share with the marketplace.

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This anti-aging serum Quyung-lii, pronounced “kai-oong-lee” means “the potent one” in Cup’ik Eskimo.

What is unique about your product?

Each of us brings a talent and skill set to the table. Luckily for us, Cika is an Art Director and graphic artist. Every image you see that represents our botanicals, identity, collateral, is purely through her artistry. The logo itself is literally the Fireweed Blossom, but shaped to make the A for our name, and neutralized in color so the bold fuchsia wouldn’t turn away male shoppers for themselves. Cika, for all her work around the country for agencies and organizations, has been able to convey the importance of cultural representation, in a universally appealing way. We were inspired by our culture and our land and waters to incorporate, and we feel a de facto responsibility and ambassadorship to best represent and honor what is given to us through the richness of it all.

Picking sage in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.
Picking sage in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.

What product would you recommend as the best gift for the holidays?

We constantly offer gift sets for the season, and any of them that has a sampling or full bottle of our Quyung-lii Anti-Aging Skin Serum is imperative to gift to yourself or your loved ones. With a powerful blend of mid-night sun powered tundra antioxidants, naturally ionized glacier water, and extra-virgin, cold-pressed wild salmon oil, it’s the best of Alaska in a bottle, with no parabans, mineral oil, added colorants or fragrance. It’s the best thing to gift your skin.

 

If a first time visitor to Alaska could only visit one place in the state, where would you recommend they visit?

The Yukon Kuskokwim Delta alone is the size of Illinois, but imagine that there are no roads leading to Chicago. You have to fly an hour from Anchorage to get to Bethel, and take any number of commuter planes to any of the sixty-one villages in our region. There’s not much infrastructure beyond schools and private homes to visit in a conventional tourist fashion. There is a lot of cottage industry so arts and crafts are plentiful, but unless you are a fisherman, hunter or birder, there are very little services to cater to your off-the-beaten path adventure. We are not conventionally beautiful in the Alaska post-card sense, but we do have uncultivated, breathtaking scenery from the heights of our headwater mountains, to the prime migratory waterfowl habitat toward the Bering Sea, far from industrial ills.

Harvesting botanicals on the tundra.
Harvesting botanicals on the tundra.

What do you love most about Alaska?

It’s different. It’s unique. We have to depend on each other because there is very little public works or safety infrastructure to assist us in our daily lives. We hunt, fish and gather for our kitchen table, not as a novelty, but as our daily bread. We police ourselves, are civic, patriotic, give thanks, we share, we are tough, kind, humorous and generous. We are still here despite a millennia of extreme environment and harsh and expensive supply chain challenges. We make due and are resourceful. We love who we are, and where we are, and welcome strangers to our far off land.

 

Anything more you’d like to add?

We’ve sold to all fifty states and one territory. We’ve sold product in 71 countries, and we are a three-person company that has experienced enormous reach, but count every sale, no matter how small, as important. We need you as much as you need us, and when you are nearly out of your serum, lotion or soap at three a.m., we understand the urgency, and are here for you. We’d like our customer base to think bigger. Think group orders and company gifts, events like weddings and banquets. We will work with your vision and budget. Let us grow through your life occasions.

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