Mathew Goins had always found children’s puzzle drawings quite intriguing but he noticed a problem – the lack of diversity. So he took it upon himself to start his own puzzle company to address that issue. With his wife’s support, Matthew Goins created Puzzle Huddle in January 2018. As a couple Matthew and Marnel have three children all under the age of seven.
With the creation of Puzzle Huddle, young children have now been able to see images of kids that look just like them as well as identify with them in the puzzle arena. Currently with the coronavirus pandemic which led to the shutting of schools with kids at home, the timing has increased sales for Puzzle Huddle, Black Enterprise reports.
Since launching a line of diversity focused puzzles, the company expanded to include wall decorations, t-shirts, pillows, and blankets. The puzzle images largely represent themes that are important to their family: education, achievement, culture, religion, and diversity.
In a chat with Black Enterprise, Goins who grew up in Detroit and attended Howard University talks enterpreneurial journey, inspiration and lessons learnt.
On how it all started:
“I’ve had a lifelong interest in becoming an entrepreneur. I sold Blow-Pops out of my locker and bookbag in middle school. I’ve also had a lifetime discipline and interest in academic progress through school. My academic and pragmatic career disposition had more influence over my life until recently.
My upbringing in Detroit, then attending Howard University, connected to a peer group of people that are determined to achieve and make a difference in the world.”
On inspiration to start Puzzle Huddle:
“As my family grew to include three young children, we looked for toys and games that would support their learning. Puzzles are a pretty standard purchase for families with young children, but I was very frustrated with the lack of diversity featured in the puzzle drawings.”
What sets Puzzle Huddle apart from other companies:
“Our puzzles emphasize diversity and career images. Browsing our website we hope people notice the ranges of skin colors, hair textures, and career images. We enjoy hearing from parents and children that believe the puzzle art was drawn to look like them. We started with STEM images and we’ve added public safety careers, art professionals, Bible story characters, and others.”
On lessons learnt from entrepreneurship and advice to upcoming business owners:
Entrepreneurship requires comfort with risk taking and storytelling. I recognized early that people were interested in the small business journey, so we communicate a storyline around our products and business journey.