How to reinvent your brand's packaging, with Kaylin Marcotte founder of Jiggy Puzzles
Do you love puzzles? Do you love puzzles but not so much love the boring stock images we often see used on puzzles?
In today’s episode I’m talking to Jiggy, a startup company that makes stunning puzzles in partnership with female artists, that you can then glue and hang up on the wall should you so desire!
Kaylin started the brand after her own journey of a late night love of puzzling and soon decided she wanted to bring some sparkle to this space and do things differently. This brand is so cool and it’s an episode packed with value for your ears.
THINGS WE TALK ABOUT:
Why you don’t need to reinvent the wheel but you can reinvent the packaging
Finding inspiration in the things you love and working to reinvent and bring to market
How to fund your startup when you quit your day job
Navigating the manufacturing process with no prior knowledge and the power of reaching out to friends of friends
Shout about your idea to everyone who will listen rather than keep it a secret: crowdsource advice, get feedback and advance the idea
Bootstrapping vs raising money
Sometimes you don’t need a fancy website
Is your brand worthy of word-of-mouth marketing
Launch strategy + puzzle parties (OMG SO FUN!)
The impact of the current global pandemic on business
Expanding the business through trade shows and wholesale
Advice for other women wanting to launch a biz
Please note, this transcript has been copy pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!
This is Kaylin for Female Startup Club. Yeah, so I uh so my backgrounds in media and marketing, so prior to founding Jiggy, I spent four years out of media startup based here in New York called the skin and I met the co founders of the skin in 2013 And they launched in 2012, I met them 2013, join them the end of that year and um jumped on board is there as their first employee, so 2014 and 2015 were just like bonkers, like we did our series a, we hit a million subscribers, we hired, moved into the first office, hired the first team, like amazing, incredible the kind of rocket ship startup journey that that was a dream of mine, but also all consuming Pretty Stressful, You Know, 21st 7.
00:02:26Edit Um so I started doing jigsaw puzzles in like 2015 as my kind of stress relief and meditation and you know, it was the only thing that really got me away from phones and computers and I was always multitasking and like there's no way to multitask and do a puzzle, you have to be all, in so it just um just like got me super present and um and fell in love with them. So I started doing puzzles about five years ago and the idea lodged somewhere in my mind that like why can't these be elevated and reinvented and look better. Um you know, I was doing a lot of like cheesy stock photography or like watercolor colleges and um you know, there's so much, amazing art out there and so the idea of just like re inventing puzzles with incredible artists, um Lodged back like 2015, but I ended up staying with the skin through 2017 and didn't start working on it until I left.
00:03:32Edit Um and then ultimately launched in 2019 wow, cool. And so how did you decide to like quit your job and go full time without having that like income that you were getting from your salary? Yeah, I was a combination of things, one I had been at the skin for about four years and there was so much growth and change and it was incredible and I was just like felt great about what I had accomplished there and was ready just ready for my next challenge. So I was thinking about what was next for me already and this idea is still there and By then this was mid late 2017 there had been like the adult colouring book fat and um there were like these wine and paint nights and you know, they're just seems like there was an appetite for creative analog activity just back to the basics and doing something offline with your hands.
00:04:34Edit So um had still been thinking on it, I was still doing puzzles myself and I was like, all right, I think there's actually a business to be made here. Um and I want to be the one to do it. So I decided to dive in really just like following the opportunity, still caring about and having conviction and the idea. Um and then like income wise was just like, all right, this is this is what I'm gonna do, um how do we make this happen? So one I moved in, I had luck of my apartment in new york um and traveled for a little bit, and then when I got back, I moved in with my boyfriend and we started splitting rent on a studio apartment. Um and I also started consulting, so while I was working on starting Jiggy, I started taking on freelance projects, um what I did with the skin was our kind of grassroots marketing, so our brand ambassador programs, ambassadors, um our social media and email content and um and basically the community building and grassroots marketing.
00:05:43Edit So I started taking on some projects on a freelance basis, just and that was income stream and um and then working on Jiggy at the same time. Yeah, that's so cool. And also like, that must have been so nice having them being supportive of your new kind of journey and taking you into that next phase and like, nurturing that relationship you would have already had with them through your time from the very beginning. Yes, 100%. And they've been so supportive, and it's just, it's great to be surrounded, especially, you know, I'm a solo founder, so not having a co founder, not having really a team yet really just kind of being a one woman show. It's been so nice to have already networked in this female founder community and just fine support there. Yeah, for sure, wow, that's really cool. And so what did you do, do you have to like, how does it, how do you start the puzzle brand? Like do you need a lot of capital to start?
00:06:47Edit Like how do you find the manufacturer? Let's let's go from the very beginning. Yeah. So, um, coming from media, the whole physical product world was totally new to me. So I absolutely stumbled my way through every step of it. But um, basically, I mean I knew like they're, you know, puzzles themselves aren't a new invention. So there are a bunch of puzzle manufacturers out there, but I knew that I wanted to um, make, make the puzzle itself higher quality, but also fully reinvent the packaging. So not that, you know, cardboard rectangular box, every puzzle ever made has come in with the plastic bag inside. Um, I really wanted to fully customize everything. So that itself was a journey. We have seven um, suppliers for the finished product and the pieces coming this reusable glass jar. Um, and so there's, you know, we have a glass factory, the puzzle puzzle factory.
00:07:50Edit The box is done by the same people to paper mail. Um, the other component, which I haven't touched on yet is that each puzzle includes puzzle glue. So I also wanted to solve for the, And the question is of like what do you do with the puzzle once you're done with it? You know, you've spent 10, 15, however long hours um uh constructing this image and then it's done and you essentially have this print. Um And if it's real art that you actually enjoy cannot be something you keep in frame and hang. So um each puzzle, each jiggy comes with puzzle glue. So you know, sourcing the puzzle glue. Okay, what do we put it in? I was very um very adamant that we don't use plastic. So basically every I see now why it's such a dominant uh you know, um material in that the easiest and cheapest, cheapest answer for almost anything is to use plastic but definitely added more work and cost by choosing not to but felt really strongly about that.
00:09:00Edit So that's where the glass jar came in, that the pieces come in. Um And the tube that the puzzle glue comes in is aluminum. Um And then there's a metal scraper, straight edge tool to spread the glue. Um But yeah, ultimately there are 77 numbers and each one was its own like circuitous um process to get there. You know, some were pretty straightforward. I searched on, you know, manufacturing like maker's row is one and even just alibaba and just trying to get a feel for what was out there, what needed to be custom, what didn't. Um but then for the puzzles in the boxes that really needed to be like an experienced partner because we wanted to customize everything so and multiple rounds of sampling and and all of that, so um that ended up coming through a, you know, I started talking about it with everybody, I think there's some advice out there to like keep your idea close to the chest, I was excited, I wanted to get feedback, I wanted to share it and get people's thoughts and they ended up a lot of them being very helpful conversation.
00:10:13Edit So I'm kind of in the camp of like share your idea, let people help you and and get feedback early on. Um So I was catching up with this girl that I went to college with and we weren't even that good friends in college but we ended up connecting afterwards, we met at the wing in new york and um I told her about this idea and um she introduced me to her high school friends dad, so what I mean like it's just one of those things who used to work in book publishing and knew this guy living in L. A. Who represented this factory in Hong kong that made books and she was like well puzzles like it's card stock, right? So like maybe if they make books they can make this and It was like totally just um one of those, you know, 6° of separation things. So they ended up being our factory and I will say that was a huge learning curve of, I just kind of thought like, you know, you have an idea for a product, their factories out there to make things, you pay them to make it and like that's it.
00:11:19Edit And I didn't really realize the, especially for a new business in a small business, like we're certainly not a big order for them by their standards, so um you know, that that they that is really a partnership and they see it as, you know, taking us on as well as um as a new business and, and risk there. And um so yeah, that figuring out our manufacturing partner is convincing them to, you know, take a chance on us. Um That probably took six months. Yeah, it takes a while, I feel like for myself personally, and for anyone I speak to manufacturing is just the biggest hurdle. Yeah, so much longer than you expect. Like I was definitely the same as you thinking, it would just be like, oh yeah, find a factory and they go wrong, right, right. Exactly. And did you start with like, did you have to have a lot of capital to start the business or you're able to kind of bootstrap it as you went along? Yeah, luckily I was able to bootstrap it as I went along, I knew I didn't want to raise outside capital in the beginning um and I haven't yet and I'm hoping to keep it that way.
00:12:33Edit Um so it definitely like it was a decision and it changed how I ended up doing things. If I had raised a bunch of, could just like plow through certain things or just, you know, the time or money trade off, I definitely spent more time than money. But um yeah, there were some upfront costs, I mean just the basic like incorporating and setting up the company legals, all of that, but on the actual manufacturing side there were deposits, I had to make up front um and that just came from savings and then luckily, um I was able to start selling before I had to pay off the rest. So Um you know, it was like a net 60 for payment terms for the factory and I was able to actually start selling taking orders on the site, so, so have some revenue before I had to pay it off. So um I think, yeah, that was definitely a learning and, and would be advice to anyone in this position of just thinking creatively, you know, cash flow is, is the biggest um kind of factor to balance and keep in mind.
00:13:49Edit So um just getting creative with payment terms and timelines and can you pre order pre style or sell gift cards redeemable, are there ways to make it work um in terms of cash flow? But yeah, we have bootstrapped and was able to make it work. Um, and then, you know, other costs wise, it was mainly just the inventory, again, some legal fees and then we'll run on Shopify. I used one of five for Shopify templates. So many friends who did your site, like who did this? Like, uh, me and shop. Um, so yeah, I think, um, I think just, you know, being being scrappy and using what you can and um, and making it work and it's funny because people like the feedback has said, you know, like it's a like minimalist and like nice and chic and, and minimal and I'm like super intentional, super intentional, like little do and it was like the only side I could really figure out how to do.
00:14:57Edit So I think there are, you know, silver linings from having constraints and just like that. Yeah. And I feel like as well for your product, you probably like sell people on the product before they even get to the site, you don't need all the bells and whistles like people are in when they see your instagram and then they just click through and use the functionality to buy. Yeah, that is true. It's such a visual product, instagram has been great for us and, and it's like, there's not a ton of education. It's not a brand new, like people are familiar with puzzles, there's like already some nostalgia association or memory, you know, and then seeing them, you know, elevated and Artsy and it just collects and people like, Oh, I get it. This is cool. The price point, you know, 40, 40, both, both skews are under $50. So it's like accessible enough that people convert. Um, you know, just from seeing it on social media. So yeah, there's, there's a lot less kind of education we have to do around it.
00:15:59Edit We still want to story tell about us as a brand and the artists we work with and their work and stories of course. But um, it is like a very, um, kind of immediate resonance and people like, yeah. And I feel like your product really lends itself to word of mouth marketing because you see something on instagram or you see something on someone's story and you're instantly like, oh, what is that? Like? That's really when I posted about you, multiple people have come back to me being like, that's so cool. I'm going to order one because you just see it and you're like, it's different. It's exactly like, yeah, the kind of thing you want to do in your spare time versus like a puzzle. That's a stock photo. Right, right. Yes. I think it's very like social chatter, you know worthy in that people, um, see it didn't want to share it and then once they receive it and have it in their homes and are doing it, you know, for days, weeks then, you know, they kind of track the progress and show how they're doing, um and then once it's done, they're proud of themselves and want to share it.
00:17:01Edit So it's definitely a product kind of um with these moments of sharing, embedded into it. Yeah, for sure. Um I want to talk a lot about how you actually launched and started to grow the community, because I feel like you would have a very, like, engaged, loyal kind of fan base from what you've been creating, and especially with the artists that you're working with. Um so what was your launch strategy? Yeah, so we launched in november right before the holidays, um and the launch strategy started just super organic with my, just my network and friends and family and announcing it, we had started the instagram probably about a month before, um maybe a little longer, and so started just kind of teasing things and building some traction there, um but really just launched with an announcement to, to our social following, and um and my friends and family that were alive and start sharing.
00:18:06Edit Um also the artists that we work with, you know, they're all emerging, they're not hugely established, but some of them have their own followings or listservs, and so, um they were excited to share it. Um so started super organically, and then uh went into the holidays and pushed the holiday gifting and press around gift guides and, you know, these product roundups and lists. Um and started instagram then as well, so, um, some paid on instagram and, and like gift guides. Um we're probably the biggest growth factor in the first few weeks months. Yeah, really cool. And, and then as you kind of become more known and I've seen that you've had like really impressive press and on like teen vogue and these kinds of things, has your strategy changed? Are you still doing those same kinds of things and getting great results?
00:19:11Edit Yeah, still doing the same things we've layered on a couple other initiatives that we started doing some in person stuff, which has been really fun. Um obviously that's on pause right now given the circumstances, but before that we had had a series of puzzle parties. Um so it was so cool. Yeah, yeah, I was curious to see how it would go. We hosted our first one, it was like a soft launch party puzzle party and um I hosted it here in new york at the Soho house and I was curious if people would like, you know, just like come and have a drink and kind of look at them, but like not really engaged and it was the opposite people showed up to puzzle. They were like, all right, I hear I'm here, I brought a friend, we have 90 minutes like how much can we get through. It was like competitive puzzling. Um and so that was really fun to see. We hosted a couple others with hotel here, a coworking space.
00:20:15Edit Um, a couple of people's apartments. We started a kind of a very early beta version of like kind of an ambassador program where you host your own puzzle party, um, invite your friends, you went together. Um, so yeah, that's been really fun to see and it's fun for me to see because I started, as I mentioned, a kind of the founding story. I started puzzling alone as like my kind of stress relief and meditation, but um, it's been really fun to see it as a social, you know, tool and activity of people coming together of our puzzles. So, um, we started doing some in person stuff with the parties and just continuing the organic social building our own content on instagram and paid on instagram and um, and press, that's been kind of the, the magic combination for us.
00:21:15Edit I feel like for you guys partnerships who would be such a, a wonderful thing as well because your brand aligns with like other really cool brands that really thrive on social media and can do wonderful things and create magic together. Have you done any partnerships to date? Yes, 100%. I am so excited about some of the partnership ideas that we have in the works. Um, have we launched? I need to date, We did um, we did a couple for March for women's history month and um, we partnered with a, it's called the National Museum for Women in the Arts and it's the only major museum in the world that is dedicated to championing women in the arts. So we partnered with them around international, uh, March eight, which is international women's day. And then we also partnered. There's amazing um, creative here based in new york as well, Jessica Walsh and she has her own agency. You do, Me too.
00:22:19Edit I've been like such a fan for a long time. So, um, had been thinking about her for Jiggy even before we launched and then reached out and um, we partnered with her nonprofit ladies Wine Design for March as well for Women's history Month. So we donate a percentage of sales and we're talking about collaborating on a design for a new puzzle. Um, so yeah, we have a couple other brands that we're talking to and working on as well, but I'm really excited about some of the brand partnerships and um, like larger artists that, that we intend to work with you. Yeah, well, wow, it's so cool. I am only discovered her recently on instagram and it was just such a fan, go straight straight from that moment. Maybe I'll try and get her on the podcast as well. Yeah, she's been great, wow. And I want to talk obviously about the current kind of climate with everything that's going on. Um, a lot of brands are obviously in sort of bad positions and everything, but I feel like you're probably a brand that's thriving.
00:23:27Edit Um and I know we spoke earlier about the fact that you were kind of like running out of stock and all this kind of stuff, but do you want to talk about how it's affected you? Yeah, so um you know, we were, we had kind of mapped out the rest of the year in terms of the big campaigns and moments we were doing and then um you know, obviously this, this all happened and circumstances that that you could never foresee or wish for, but one silver lining if everyone being home is a lot more time to discover um kind of just, I think we're back to the basics and you know, putting things in perspective and just wanting to be present and creative and do something with their hands and spend quality time, you know, with people are alone. Um, so I think puzzles as a tool for that has, has been great to see people connect with and rediscover. So um, I mean we started, it was pretty, pretty direct, you know, um, correlation between when people started staying home more and when our sales and just shot up and we sold out of the best sellers pretty quickly and now have have one design left.
00:24:45Edit So for us it just changed kind of the timeline and prioritization and we just rushed right back into production. Um and you know, working on restocking and brought up the timeline of our new collection launch. Um and of course, you know, with any spike in demand, our sales, ton more customer service and, and outreach and social media and, you know, GMS and everything that we have to be on top of, so not to mention like shipping and logistics and foot moment. So it has just kind of been a mad dash all around and throw me way back into the weeds and um kind of reactionary mode of just trying to keep up with everything. Um so yeah, it's been it's been busy, but it's all, you know, try about perspective. It's all, it's all good things and good problems to have. And so the initiative we're launching next week, um we're donating all our proceeds to covid relief efforts and um, you know, just supporting the artists in more ways.
00:25:55Edit Um, so, you know, just very aware that that we've been really fortunate um to, you know, we have a small team, but still able to keep everyone. Um and I want to do our part and give back where we can who are the people that you have on your team. Are they all local in new york or they remember? Yeah, so we've we have been remote from the start. So I have a part time operations person. So I was very, I was very glad that I did everything once and, you know, for the first run for launch every piece of it, you know um did did myself so know how everything works and the factory relationships and the fulfillment and freight forwarders and you know all the things um but also very quickly realized like my my time and strengths are so much better suited elsewhere in the business.
00:26:57Edit So um let's let's bring someone on for this part time operations person in michigan. So we've actually never met, we were introduced to these amazing that all all remote. Um and then I have a couple graphic designers that I've used in product design. So all of our packaging and branding used product designers, graphic designers. Um two based in new york but remote as well. Um And then I for the holidays for our launch and holiday season um enlisted a freelance pr person to help with some of that. Um And then I have an intern for my college when I I went to school here in new york and I posted in our like like a facebook group I still have access to. And so I have a student who is interning. Um and that's also now remote because school is closed, so she's at home.
00:27:59Edit Oh it's kind of great that you started off by having a remote team and just working in that kind of like manner from the very beginning and not having just when all of this happened as well. Yeah. Yeah being having already worked from home a lot and and having the team kind of set up and familiar um with processes and everything that way has definitely helped with kind of just the adjustment and learning curve. Do you think in hindsight there's anything that you would have done differently, especially around the packaging and like having all the different suppliers and that kind of thing. I know I thought about that a lot because um it has certainly not been the most economical decisions uh you know, the dimensions from like the materials themselves that he used to then just the dimensions of the product, you know, mean that shipping can get expensive if the right box size isn't used because it enters dimensional weight and like, you know, all these things.
00:29:06Edit Um but then on the other hand, seeing people, you know, open and interact with and respond to the product. Like I still feel like it needed to be that way and it needs to be that way and you know, the art is amazing that the packaging is like such an experience and it's a big differentiator and so I have days where I'm like, oh, I was like way too precious about that and it took too long and it costs too much and then, you know, I see the responses even just like what were tagged in on instagram or I did these pop up markets. So I actually, you know, saw people in real time kind of touching and feeling it and you know, their responses and I think it's still what you know, makes it special and feel like um an experience and treat versus just like, you know, one of those dusty old puzzles so that you shove in the back of the.
00:30:11Edit Exactly, exactly. So I still go back and forth, but we're sticking with it. Um and I think it really just comes down to like what kind of a Brandon product do you want to build and how you want to position it in the market? You know, Is it is it a little bit more elevated? Is it a higher price point? Um Or are you trying to make it super habitual accessible to everyone, you know? So um yeah, I think I think it could evolve. I also could definitely see a world where we have a couple different lines, you know, different product lines and at different price points with different materials. Um So that's something I've been thinking about as well. How many um collections do you plan to do in a year? And do you also like change the artists every time or? Yeah, Right now we're planning like 3-4 collections a year. Um the the first one that we launched with the debut collection was really just kind of my my taste things that I created and loves and artists I wanted to work with.
00:31:23Edit We're moving to a little bit more kind of dramatic and seasonal. Um so our collection launching next month is um very kind of summary and uh new artists a couple a couple repeats because there were I license before we launched, I licensed like 30 to 40 pieces and we only manufactured six. Um and there were some that I just like I felt I fell in love with and so we've included two of those in the next collection. And then um for new artists and um yeah, planning to and then we'll have another collection for um for the end of this year for the holidays. So Get just scaling up and getting up to speed to be able to do about 3-4 days a year with different themes and um and seasons attached. And then on top of those kind of evergreen collections were also planning to do uh kind of more limited edition, like drops of of cool collaborations.
00:32:27Edit So those will be kind of peppered in throughout the year. Well, that sounds exciting. And you guys at the moment, you just direct to consumer due to see are you planning to wholesale and expand the business that way? Yeah, I was I was definitely planning to before all this happened. And I actually went to our first trade show and got grazie back and a ton of interest and now, you know, most all of the stores are closed. So we've kind of put a pause on that too, you know, meanwhile the store is closed and our online dtc demand shot up. So um we kind of just paused wholesale. But I'm definitely interested especially with some of the kind of, you know, uh smaller local boutiques and gift shops and the places where, you know, people who live there go two for discovery and you know, it's it's just um aligned with our kind of brand and mission and supporting artists.
00:33:30Edit So yes, definitely interested in wholesale in the future. Um and we actually, we had one small account. Um there's, I don't know if you've heard of feed the feed bags? Um they they're these tote bags and now they launch backpacks and leather goods, but um it's called feed. And I started by Lauren Bush Lauren who um who it's a donation model and supports um feeding kids across the world. And so they have a shop and cafe here in Brooklyn. Um so we have sold gigi's in their store um and a couple others here and there, but we were really planning on ramping up wholesale. And that's been one change that we just had to be dynamic with of, you know, potentially bring on a salesperson or um going more trade shows and scaling scaling that up.
00:34:30Edit And now, you know, that was kind of the first thing that that we put pause on and and and de prioritized with everything happening and where was the trade show that you went to, it was here in new york is at the Javits Center um and it was just really interesting I mean there were buyers from all over the world um and you know that side of the business is so new to me as you know with the skin, it wasn't a physical product but it was a consumer brand, so how to talk to and interact with and you know sell to consumers. I was something you know I had done was familiar with, but the insider world and how to do that B two B was is still totally new. So a lot of good feedback and learning to be taken from that and. Yeah, well see I'm excited to do more than um and and some in new york and then there are big ones throughout the U.
00:35:35Edit S. Um that we were looking at doing as well. Yeah and I think like for the trade shows it's obviously a really big investment to go into a trade show and you have to be super prepared, what did you have to do beforehand to make the most of it? Um When it was coming to like your outreach to other buyers and knowing who was even going to be there, did you have to prepare like a custom stall? Yeah so we I will say we definitely did the smallest booth possible and just made it work, you know. Yeah I heard like people do whole build outs and construct walls and paint and it can be like tens of thousands of dollars. We very homemade version. Um And got the smallest booth and I bought like a couple shelves furniture off amazon. Um But to prepare you know went through the attendee list and did some outreach beforehand, you know sharing, we're going to be here, here's our booth number. You know this is our line sheet comes by with a connection person.
00:36:40Edit So did a bunch of outreach beforehand if people who would be there. Um And I really used it as an opportunity of course you know wanted sales and and leads to come from it um to have conversations start there but also really used it as like a test to see what was the appetite, you know, which kinds of designs resonated. What was it? Was there certain geography ease of um people who thought that their customers would really like it versus others. Um You know our gender split, we don't need to, female artists would like male buyers be interested. And so I kind of used used it as an opportunity to really just kind of test some of my hypotheses um and gather feedback. So um it served both. I got a ton of feedback. Um I learned a lot from our conversations and also had interest uh and and took some real orders. So all in all I think it was a good learning um to do early on.
00:37:41Edit What was the learning that you got out of that, that you were really surprised about that you maybe hadn't thought of yet. I think I just learned like how important like merchandizing in terms of, because we played around with our display there and like you know, we had a couple of the puzzles fully completed and framed to show like the end result and you know, some of the skews that like hadn't really stood out before, once they were completed in frames and kind of this like hero moment, everybody was interested in those um you know, telling the story of the artists behind them and people connecting with different aspects of, oh like this is you know, a is an artist in new york who had a whole career before she discovered collage art and connecting that or you know um this Nigerian artist who now like I license from a year and a half ago and it's blowing up and she's had two new yorker covers and people like we really connected with that.
00:38:42Edit So yeah, I think the learning about just merchandizing and how to display um you know how to connect the dots for people and display the product um and kind of, I don't know, learn from like guiding, you know which ones we which ones do we want to sell and so how do we, you know, show those off, it was interesting to play around with what's your most popular product on the store from the current stuff? Yeah, our current best seller is called bathing with flowers and it's got, it's amazing Slovenian artist, all Jakarta and um it's this, it's a woman in her bathtub surrounded by plants and flowers and it's just like beautiful and colorful. Um and so yeah, that has been the best seller so far. But another learning, it's been interesting to see how it changes. Like um one of ours called Berlin Magog, it's like very striking and dramatic and kind of high fashion looking and so the san Francisco moma Museum of Modern Art um uh purchased her to wholesale in their, in their gift shop um and like a vogue writer we were talking to chose her as a gift.
00:40:01Edit And so that one's, it's been interesting to see a little more like the artsy, kind of high fashion, sophisticated crowds um and then we have like a big flamingo that's like playful, a beachy and fun and a lot of like florida, like you know, kind of a vacation town. So it's, it's been fun to like see the different what resonates with um with who I really loved the boobs one and I posted on my instagram today and I had a few girls right back and tell me which their boobs, I love it. So I thought that one would have been the most popular? I just thought it was so good. Yeah, if your, where's your like, where's your biggest customer base? Um I would say in new york I mean last time I looked it was kind of the big like us markets that we would predict new york California um texas, Chicago Illinois and I think some Georgia and florida um internationally we get the most demand from the U.
00:41:08Edit K. And um Australia actually one of our artists is Australian and so she posted about it a lot and so I think a lot of her followers are Australia and we have a lot of demand from Australia. Um and then we ship to U. K. Canada and um lately have been getting interest from other european. A lot of outreach from Germany and Portugal and spain so hoping to figure out our shipping a little more and bring costs down and be able to to serve more places. Yeah the shipping is a really hard one. Are you thinking about going on amazon not right now less the logistics question than just a brand question. We don't want to be an amazon quite yet. But yeah I mean shipping I don't I don't think I realized just as a consumer how you know amazon has created these expectations that are like fully impossible to me as a young company. Um And yeah I don't think I realized how how expensive shipping gets.
00:42:11Edit So yeah it's a shame I here with everyone that I speak to and and the question of like building it in or adding it on. Um it's just so tough. Yeah. Yeah. It really is. I mean, I just thought like transparency why we still subsidized, like we pay for, you know, half the shipping essentially right now, so it's still subsidized. But um yeah, I don't know, like baking it in, you know, it would put our, one of our price points like in the mid fifties and I was just like, I don't want people to be like, what? I think like $60 for a puzzle, like, you know, like we have to get it to you and it costs a lot. So yeah, and I think as well, because your product is so grateful gifting as well and you want to keep in the bracket, that's like gift appropriate. Exactly, exactly. Yeah. So like I'm, you know, both, both Products are under $50, so yeah, like $50 for a nice gift. Um I think, you know, a lot of people are very comfortable with, but um yeah, shipping, we've definitely gotten gotten feedback on and I hope to bring it down, it's just one of the biggest costs of the company right now.
00:43:22Edit Yeah, for sure. Nightmare. Um I usually ask everyone in the same six questions, but before I get to that I just wanted to ask um if you had any advice for someone who was wanting to start a business or go into the startup world, what would that be? Yeah, I think um mhm I think for me, I, you know, I listened to a lot of these, how I built this in like different podcasts and I think I still found it kind of unattainable or there's always something that, you know, you're like, oh, I could learn that more, I could, I need to like get more experience in this area, in this area and finally I was just like, I don't know if there's ever a good time, I don't know if you ever feel totally prepared and I think really what you need is just like grit to get through it and you know, listening to some of those podcast ultimately, I was like the only difference between having an idea and having a company is doing it and so I just kept coming back to um to, you know, if they can do it, I can do it and I think it's so true now having done it like, you know, I think, I think there's no kind of secret sauce silver bullet, you know, um shortcuts, I think you just have to do the work and problems, all of everything that comes up and you know, work through obstacles.
00:44:54Edit Um and so I hope that people who have an idea or just starting out and might think that, you know, there's something that they are missing or lacking or still need to learn or do um I think just, you know dive in and and take it one day at a time and that's really the only things standing in the way. Yeah, it's just like a series of tiny, tiny steps that compound over the whole time and then you look back and you're like oh my gosh, exactly yeah, cool, okay, so six questions, it's like a quick fire kind of round um and I think I've shown them to you or you might have heard them already from some of my other episodes. Um Number one is, what's your, why my why is to support female artists work and to reconnect people with the pleasure of some downtime. What is the number one marketing strategy that made your business pop Well the number one thing that happened to you.
00:46:03Edit Yeah, pulp. Ok, well early on, so a month in post launch, we were on the Today show, so that was like the biggest kind of single day, like wow factor um and then I'm kind of just uh everyday like slower burn um definitely instagram both paid and organic. Um because it also allows, I mean we're damning people every day. It allows for like relationship building um with people as well. Yeah, absolutely. You can really have that dialogue and like hear what people are saying instagram um where do you hang out to get smarter i from going to college in new york and now having been here since 2000 and 8 to 12 years. Um I just have such a community here of people in different industries which I love, I'm from l a lot of friends in san Francisco I think kind of my sister's in dc like kind of like a single industry towns I think are interesting, but what one thing I love about new york is that ever and I know does something different and so I get so much inspiration and creativity from, you know, these very kind of cross functional, interdisciplinary um groups of friends and networking groups that I'm in.
00:47:32Edit I love that. How do you win the day? It's question # four mm and this is around you're like am and PM rituals, things that you do to like keep productive, keep happy. Yeah, um I mhm, definitely. So I'm not a morning person, which I feel like a lot of people's days like start with their morning. I finally read this article in the new york times, it was like being a morning person does not make you like moral or like, you know, like a good person, I think night I was like get some heat sometimes, but I I when I feel like I've really won the day, it's when it's the days when I've like really nailed the balance of prioritizing my friends and relationships and work and myself, so um it's always a negotiation to balance those things, but the days when I've really, you know now it looks like having a facetime or a phone call um with a friend and you know just being present for dinner with my fiance's and you know paying through my to do list.
00:48:50Edit Um And then getting some time to I still puzzles my unlined. Um So some days it's not possible that the days that I really feel like empowered and like I've owned it are when I nail that balance. Yeah. Yeah And if you only had $1,000 left in your business bank account, where would you spend it or allocate those funds towards you? Um I think I would. That's a hard question. I think I would try to buy as many puzzles as we can and then um you know the artists get a percentage of that. So so uh some of it would go to the artists who we work with and um yeah I mean ultimately I want I want to get as many people puzzling and reconnected with it as possible. So um I think yeah more inventory and and being able to serve more customers.
00:50:01Edit And final question is how do you deal with failure? And that can be either a specific example or just a general approach? Oh I'm like pretty um kind of action oriented and that I like take a moment and kind of like what can we learn, what can we grieve? But I like move forward pretty quickly. Um And so I think with failure you know that that motion looks like um trying something new and just taking any lessons that can be learned, but iterating what did work, it didn't work. Um and just continuing, you know, I think a lot of times the failure, was it the idea was that the execution, you know, which um what made it a failure and then trying a different, different route, but always keep moving. Love it