Very Important Prospects

Trend Watch

Alien Nation

By Karin Moeller

Put this in your X-File: Aliens have landed . . . in novelty gift stores across the country, just in time for the gift-giving season. These extraterrestrial characters are sending sales skyward for fearless merchants who are brave enough to stock the eerie beings on their shelves.

Leading the alien-product explosion is Matscot International LLC in Owings Mills, Maryland, a company that's bringing the mysteries of the great big beyond into bedrooms, kitchens and offices worldwide with its alien-shaped candles, salt and pepper sets and glow-in-the-dark magnets.

"We specialize in friendly alien products," says Chris Alexander of The Shopping Moon, a Houston-based online gift distributor that's seen a recent increase in the number of wholesale alien products.

Its best sellers include Commander Xolo, an alien hand puppet seated in a UFO; and Alien Lifeforms, a set of four different aliens, including a Roswell alien (fashioned after the other-worldly visitors of Roswell, New Mexico, infamy) and a neonate alien (which resembles the wide-eyed extraterrestrials depicted in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind").

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This article was originally published in the November 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Very Important Prospects.

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