Name: Jef and Jess Behnke aka Two Moose Design
Hometown/Current town: Jes originally is from Marion and Jef from Tigerton. They now live and work in central Wisconsin.
Jef and Jess are the designers behind the successful Wisconsin-based furniture company Two Moose Design. They have flourished on Etsy, as well as on social media. You can find Two Moose Design on YouTube, Instagram and even TikTok showcasing their woodworking, metal and cnc projects.
Before they became Two Moose, Jef was a welder and Jess was a pastry chef. Pretty different from woodworking, but it allowed both of them to express their need to make and be creative.
This past summer Make48 invited the duo to our Madison event where they helped create the teams prototypes and M48 trophies. Keep reading to see how Jef and Jess started Two Moose, what they thought of their first Make48 event, and more about their perfect pups.
How long have you known each other and how long was it before you started Two Moose?
We have known each other now for 7 years! We got married in August 2016 and started Two Moose in Jan of 2017.
We love your dogs! Can you tell us a little bit about how you got the name?
They are our pride and joy! We currently have one dog named Moose and one named Manny. They are essentially our brand Mascots and love to steal the show. When we started the business (well more accurately...actually when we started dating) Jef and I each had a dog named Moose. When we were thinking of names for the business we wanted to keep it personal, but not too specific (so as to not box ourselves into a niche). After much research and brainstorming we went with Two Moose in honor of our pups!
Unfortunately, we lost half of the original two moose gang last year. He was a Saint Bernard and an old man who left very big shoes to fill and a hole in our hearts. We adopted Manny a few months later, quite the change from a 160lb dog to a 12lb Chug! BUT he brings lots of fun into our home. We love dogs and Jess has always wanted to foster pups. This year we got the opportunity! Ariel (b&w pup) was our first foster and Manny's wrestling buddy. (She did find her forever home!)
You both attended the Madison Event at the Bodgery. What did you think about your first Make48 event?
Our first ever (and hopefully not the last!) Make48 event was amazing! It was so inspirational to see the teams working together to come up with new ideas. We also loved getting the chance to work with our peers from the Maker community and getting to know them better in person.
We just love getting to see how other people tackle challenges, it really motivates us to do new things and keep sharing our journey!
What are some of the designs you’re known for and what’s the best way for people to order from you?
When we originally started we were definitely known for our dog feeders. We no longer make them (too many customizations for our small business) and now we make clocks and trays! I think people recognize our clocks for sure, and trays are our bread and butter.
Instagram followers love our CNC'd dog trays (little catch all trays with dog faces on them). The best way to order from us is either our website, https://twomoosedesign.com, or our Etsy store. We can be found everywhere at Two Moose Design.
Where do you see Two Moose going next?
This is a loaded question for us! It seems to be always changing and evolving. This time last year we thought we'd like to get more into big furniture builds, but now we're geared more towards creating content for others to learn and follow along with our business journey.
It always surprises me how much things change every year. We have been making more files and plans for people to try, as well as using our YouTube channel more often. The hope is to do YouTube full-time, but Jef still just enjoys building orders. I’m not sure we'll ever completely stop that side of the business. I guess only time will tell!
One tool you couldn’t do without:
Jef - The one tool I couldn't live without is my jointer. It is so multi-functional and I use it in essentially all of my glue ups/ builds.
Jess - I usually say my Isotunes, because I couldn't do any work without music or podcasts...but I think it's more accurately the CNC. It's what I use to help create my clocks, all of our custom trays and catch alls.
Maker(s) who inspires you:
Jef - I am inspired by the entire maker community! It's really too hard to pick just one. I love having the space to share ideas with others who are doing the same thing and to be able to see what everyone else is up to. It pushes me to do new things and to be better at what we are already creating.
Jess - I am inspired by so many of our fellow makers it's hard to pinpoint a few. I'm inspired by Rachel Metz and her ability to make any space her own. Her openness and creativity really inspired me to push myself to do the same. Anna Bailey from Anna Bailey Art is also so inspiring. She took something that many people were creating (like mosaic art) and completely made it her own. I just love seeing artists put their spin on things and succeed with it. It makes me feel as if I can do the same!
And lastly, what’s the longest you’ve stayed up to finish a project?
This is a tough one. I think we definitely did this more in the beginning of our business trying to meet unrealistic deadlines we set for ourselves. I'm a night owl so it's really when I do my best work! Jef would be the opposite!
The lastest we've stayed up to finish a project would be 3 am (I think). We were trying to get a project finished and photographed for the Builders Challenge on Instagram (which we love!). We are a part of the build team and it allows us to be creative and make furniture for no other reason than to be creative...and possibly have something cool for our house.
Follow Two Moose Design on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok for building content and tips. And find their custom, handcrafted furniture at their website https://twomoosedesign.com or Etsy!