I’ve been a little quiet lately, and it’s been largely due to a new project I’ve been exploring.
Jigsaw puzzles are at a peak in popularity, and I’ve got plenty of designs I’d love to make into jigsaw puzzles, so I thought to myself- why not make my own brand?
Christina and I sat down, sketched out our most unique designs, sketched out how we wanted the packaging to look, and started reaching out to different manufacturers. That’s where things got complicated.
It’s easy to print a small run of jigsaw puzzles (~200). Alibaba.com has dozens of manufacturers chomping at the bit to take on orders like this at less than three dollars a puzzle. But despite many hours spent scouring Alibaba, I was unable to find any examples that lived up to the high quality standards a jigsaw puzzle hobbyist would desire.
So I turned my eyes to other manufacturers, reaching out individually to most of the major jigsaw puzzle manufacturers in the US and Europe as well as a few other board game makers. Most didn’t respond. I don’t know if it’s because the proposed order size was too small to deign a response or if businesses are slow due to COVID, but right off the bat this ruled out most potential partners.
Next, most of those that did respond ruled out a partnership due to my order size. The most common minimum order sizes were 1000 – 2000, and I really would like to be able to dip my toes into the game before committing to an order of this size.
I do have one lead on a high quality manufacturer who can accommodate my desired order size, although only with standardized packaging and a higher price that means I’ll be selling the puzzles at cost or close to it, especially if I pay a separate packaging specialist to create the boxes per the aesthetic Christina and I designed.
So that’s where I am now- awaiting a demo product to confirm if the piece shape, size, texture, color, etc. are up to our standards. If they are, I’ll order a run of them and sell them at cost to start getting feedback and seeing if it makes sense to scale up.
If these aren’t up to our standards, I’ll have to go back to the drawing board. I don’t want to give up on this idea; we’ve got a lot of fun patterns we’d like to get out there, and with a run of ~250, the worst case scenario is that we give out jigsaw puzzles to friends, family, and coworkers at every special occasion!