I’ve heard that question asked more than once since starting this business. My answer is simple: Yes! And not always who you’d think.
A while back, a woman from Washington pre-ordered a Flow of Goldfish puzzle through our Etsy shop. I could tell from her screen name and profile that she was “trendy”. She’s into fashion, fitness, food and today’s music. I wrote her a personal message thanking her and updating her on the status of our puzzle shipment. She responded by saying that she loves puzzles, and that she was excited to receive this one because it’s so “beautiful!” While her compliment made me feel pretty good, I would never have taken her for a puzzle lover just by looking at her profile.
I shipped her puzzle last week. On Sunday morning I received an Instagram notification. When I checked it I was greeted by a vibrant rainbow of colorful puzzle pieces arranged on a black tabletop. The Flow of Goldfish box stood upright in the background. The border of the puzzle had been completed, and she had the pieces set out as she and her family were filling in the rest. In the caption, she praised the puzzle and said “What better way to spend that extra hour of daylight savings….” She’s she’s hip and she loves puzzles! And yes, she posted a picture of the finished puzzle and said it was “fun, challenging, and beautiful,” and that she couldn’t wait to put it together again.
Sometimes a person needs just the right incentive to gain his or her interest in the activity. Perhaps it’s the art or the challenge; maybe they just need the right opportunity to strike.
“I’ve never seen anything like this in a puzzle before,” was the response my husband received when he handed a local customer his Flow of Goldfish puzzle. He discovered our site online and was intrigued by the puzzle art.
“…an anime-inspired jigsaw [puzzle] is something I didn’t know I desperately needed in my life,” wrote one of our Kickstarter backers, expressing the beauty of the puzzle art.
A customer from California said that he hadn’t worked on a puzzle in a long time, but that he was really looking forward to working on Flow of Goldfish.
Clearly in these cases, it was the puzzle art that caught their attention. Whether it was the beauty, the complexity, or the sheer uniqueness, it was enough to draw them back to an activity that they might not otherwise be able to appreciate.
And then you have the guy that’s just too busy for puzzles.
Take my father, for example. He has worked as a carpenter for over 40 years. Rarely did a day go by that Dad wasn’t either on a job, on an estimate, or home drawing up proposals. He ALWAYS worked. Our vacations were working vacations for my father. I admired him for his unwavering dedication to his customers and to his family, but I always felt guilty. I know that my Dad loves to enjoy life, and he has been very active in every aspect of our lives; often treating us to dinner or exciting road trips, or spoiling us with gifts and tons of affection. He’s always had an amazing amount of energy and enthusiasm, even when things got tough, but he rarely found the time to “stop and smell the roses.” In his eyes, providing for his family took precedence over everything, even his own rest and relaxation. The books I bought him over the years sit on a shelf, unread and covered in dust. His golf clubs haven’t seen the light of day in decades, and they sit in a lonely corner of his office.
Now, after years of hard labor and stress my father is being forced into retirement…by his heart. His poor health has finally taken its toll, and now he HAS to slow down. Always a rather energetic man, his mind is always going. I knew he loved crossword and word puzzles, but I’ve never once known him to work on a jigsaw puzzle. The other day we were discussing his retirement plans, and I was surprised when he said he was looking forward to sitting down with my mother and working on the Flow of Goldfish puzzle. I sat there for a moment with a lump in my throat. Hearing those words was bittersweet for me. Dad’s finally retiring after all these years, and what is he looking forward to? My puzzles.
Still, the best example of an unlikely puzzler is our neighbor and good friend, Ken. Much like my father, Ken is almost always working. When he’s not working, he does volunteer work and mentoring for NA. Although he’s always been very supportive and one of our “super backers,” I never saw him as the type of person who would enjoy puzzles and neither did he.
Last week he took one of our damaged puzzles to the rehab group he mentors. Despite his explanation that the puzzle was free, and that it would be better than sitting and vegging in front of the TV all day, the group flat out refused to accept it. No matter what he said, they just weren’t interested in working on a puzzle.
When my husband paid Ken a visit the other night, he found him sitting at his table putting the puzzle together, and guess what? He was enjoying himself. He admitted that he didn’t expect to actually sit down and work on a puzzle, but he liked it so much, that once he started working on it he was hooked!
So, yes, this once popular pastime hasn’t lost its luster. It’s still as relaxing and enjoyable as ever. It’s just that sometimes you need find that one puzzle that grabs your attention, makes you forget your cares for a while, and takes you away from this chaotic world.
Written by Lara Andersen