Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I am up late tonight. I am working on quote sheets, samples and presentation materials.

It is getting late in the selling cycle to get our products on shelf for this coming 4th quarter. By now, most retailers have made their decisions on what they will carry for the the holiday seasons. In a few weeks, we will actually begin shipping for the Fall retail selling season.

But this week, we received a request to meet with someone who had seen our puzzles in other retailers. They liked what they saw and they want to see if we fit into their puzzle set.

This is very exciting. And very rushed. The retailer thought they had made all their decisions. But seeing our Spring line in stores has made them curious. The funny part is we have been trying to meet with them for months.

Being the new guy on the block, we will jump at any opportunity. So I am up late putting together a presentation for them. I have been in their stores a lot this winter and I was back today to make sure I had not missed anything. I can tell from visiting the store so many times what sells well and what does not. When you go look at the puzzle aisle of a retailer every week for months, you can see what is new on the shelf and what is gathering dust. I will use this investigation to make recommendations.

But first I am taking a break to write a blog post. I am going to try and write one blog post a week from now until the end of the year. It did not seem so hard when I decided to commit to writing more frequently. But now that week three is dawning, I am feeling a little pressure to keep up. I do have a back up plan if I can not think of anything to write. I might just post pictures of cute babies I see. Other blogs do this and it is very effective. Everyone likes to look at cute babies.

My next post might be about the puzzle our family put together this weekend. It was one of our Colorluxe 500 piece puzzles on sale at Target right now ($3.99 for a limited time!). It was really fun and I am not just saying that. The colors were great. I rarely tell you to go buy one of our puzzles, but you really should check out our Colorluxe puzzles at Target. I am so proud of them.

Keep on puzzling!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It was my turn to answer the phone. We are still small enough the president has to answer the phone when it rings.

"Hello" I said warmly. "Thank you for calling the Lafayette Puzzle Factory. How may I help you?"

"There is a pea in my puzzle"

Uh-oh. My mind raced. I have answered the phone for 3 years. I have talked to hundreds of puzzlers. I thought I had heard it all.

I said the first thing I could think of "Huh?"

"There is a pea in my puzzle and I want to know why".

My mind was in full swoon. A pea. In the the puzzle? How did a pea get in her puzzle. We do not allow food near the puzzles. No drinks, no food allowed in the production area. A pea.

"The pea is bright green and it stands out against the puzzle. And I want to know why."

Bright green? A pea in the puzzle? I have never heard of such a thing.

I asked "What puzzle are you trying to assemble and are you sure the pea was in the box?"

The caller answered "The pea is in the upper right hand corner."

Upper right hand corner? What does that mean? Why is she telling me what corner the pea is in. Wait. Wait. Does she mean that pea is in the picture.

Gathering my composure "Do you mean the pea is in the picture? In the image?"

"Yes!" she exclaimed. "Why is it there?"

"What puzzle are you assemblying?"

At this point the caller explained that she was assemblying a picture of licorice candy we have in the line this winter. The licorice is basically pink, white, and brown. It is a neat puzzle and I remember looking at proofs of the candy. But I did not remember any peas in the picture.

The caller went on to describe her theory for why the pea was in the image. While she described her theory, I went scrambling to find the image on our servers.

"The Cherokee Indians (jp note: it might have been another tribe, but I know how to spell Cherokee, so Cherokee it is. If you know what tribe was described, let me know and I will correct this sentence) had a belief that you can never have all of a like thing together. When they wove a blanket of wool, they would be sure to include one thread of straw so that the blanket was not all wool. Did you add the pea so that the image would not be all candy? Like the Cherokees"

I love this theory. And I found the image. There is a green pea in the upper right hand corner. How it got there? I have no idea. But I like the theory. We put the pea in the upper right hand corner so that the image would not be all of one like thing. What a great idea. Maybe we should hide a pea in every image we do. It would sort of go with my name, JP. It might be the hook we have been looking for.

But that is not why the pea is there. As a matter of fact, until this phone call, not a single person had noticed the pea in the image. Now, we all notice it. Our eyes are drawn to it. Its all we can see when we look at the image.

It was a fun phone call and we talked for quite some time about puzzles and the types of images the caller liked. She was an expert when it came to puzzles and I enjoyed listening.

Here is the image:

Do you see the pea? I do.

Keep on puzzling!