Everything always seems to take longer than I expect. I was hoping by now to be bragging about our new website and our new on-line puzzle stores. But, we have been slammed with new orders. Getting these orders organized and into production has taken up tons of time. Most of the orders are for our new items. We have been working on these lines for months, but the first order means that we have to make final decisions on packaging and artwork. And with over 60 new pieces of art in one of the orders, there are a lot of final decisions.
I do not think most people realize how much work goes into making a puzzle. Actually, making a puzzle is not difficult. They will tell you technically it is simple. Take a picture, put it on some cardboard and cut it into a predetermined number of pieces. But making a nice quality puzzle and then repeating that over and over it not easy. The difference between a really good image and a just ok image is subtle. We look at 10,000 or more images every year just to find the few hundred we make into puzzles. We reject some really great pictures that just are not great puzzles. And then we have to do all over again the next year.
The images on the puzzles we are putting into production right now were found a year ago. Last April I bought a lot of the images. They will not be in stores for another 6 - 8 weeks. Over 1 year from the first time we saw the image until it is in a store. And since then, I have looked at thousands of additional images.
I think one of the qualifications for picking images is that the person needs experience putting together puzzles. Only by putting together a puzzle do you realize the small things within a puzzle that are important. The importance of colors and shapes. The importance of the feel of the puzzle pieces. The importance of the label on the box that you use to help put together the pieces. These are all important. Not to mention having the right picture.
At the Lafayette Puzzle Factory we have that experience. We have put together puzzles. We have bought bad images in the past. We have used cheap materials and seen the results (not pretty). These experiences are what make our puzzles different from other companies. It is why after only being in business for a little over a year we have growing reputation as a company that knows puzzlers. And whose puzzles sell to a consumer who knows puzzles.
Anyway, all this has kept us busy and for that we are thankful. Keep an eye out. New puzzles will be in stores in the next few weeks and months. I can not wait to hear how we did.