Interview With Kaylin Marcotte
Describe your product or service:
“JIGGY is a new female-founded puzzle company that's reinventing the humble jigsaw. Each puzzle features art by an emerging female artist (who gets a percentage of every sale), sustainable and elevated packaging, and specially formulated puzzle glue. JIGGY puzzles are art — in pieces.”
Describe your company values and mission:
“Our mission is to reconnect people with downtime and mindfulness while supporting creatives from around the world, giving them a platform for their work.”
How are you funded? I.e. venture capital, angel investors, etc.
How big is your team? Tell us a little about them (I.e. co-founders, freelancers, etc.)
“Three employees and four freelancers — founder, ops & logistics, partnerships & sales, content, digital marketing, PR”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“I've always been a problem solver and love building things but didn't necessarily envision doing it on my own! I was previously the first employee at theSkimm so [I] got to see the ground floor and what it takes, and that made me more and more comfortable taking the plunge with my own idea! I had been doing puzzles as my nightly unwind for years before launching JIGGY — it was an idea that just kept coming back to me, and I couldn't shake it, so I finally decided to dive in. As they say, a dose of naivete is actually probably a good thing.”
How did you come up with your startup idea? How did you decide to actually act on the idea? What gave you confidence that you were on the right track?
“Five years ago, I was working 24/7 as the first employee at theSkimm and started doing jigsaw puzzles as my meditation and nightly unwind, but the designs were so outdated (and frankly lame!). Conceived as a way to elevate the classic jigsaw, JIGGY features art by female artists around the world (who get a percentage of every sale), chic packaging, and puzzle glue to preserve your masterpiece for framing. I'm a first-time, solo, bootstrapping founder, so [I] can share a LOT of the ups and downs of doing it all!”
How did you come up with your company name? Did you have other names you considered?
“I had a whole google doc of name ideas! I wanted it to be fun, playful, memorable, and connect in some way to jigsaw puzzles. One day, on a walk with a friend in the west village, JIGGY popped out, and I knew that was it!”
What is the greatest challenge you faced in starting your business, and how did you overcome it?
“I had a background in media, and JIGGY is my first physical product experience, so there was a steep learning curve in all things manufacturing, freight, fulfillment, etc. Finding a factory partner was harder than I imagined, and learning the right questions to ask, how to get ahead of predictable surprises with logistics — and then the context switching to handle all the other parts of the business too!”
Who is your product or service made for? Who is your target market?
“Our target market is thoughtful, design-oriented customers, mostly women in their 30s-50s who connect with our mission of reconnecting with downtime, getting away from screens, and building something with their hands while supporting artists. Customers who appreciate sustainable and elevated products, packaging, and giv[ing] back [with] every purchase.”
What's your marketing strategy?
“We bring together a combination of digital marketing, word-of-mouth organic growth, press, and influencers to build a cohesive campaign.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“They were totally organic! Friends and family shared with their networks and started the ripple effect. We also see a lot of gifting with our product, and since we launched in November 2019, a lot of people received them as gifts and then wanted to get another themselves!”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“Overall sales, repeat customer rates, average order value, customer acquisition cost.”
What's your favorite book on entrepreneurship?
“I loved ‘Shoe Dog!’ Great stories, and [it] helped remind me of all the ups and downs and that building a brand is a long game!”
What is your favorite startup or business podcast?
“‘How I Built This.’”
What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
“The highs and lows, I was told to expect them, but how high/low they are and that they happen five minutes apart sometimes. Everything will seem to be going wrong, and then you'll get a big win and think, ‘this just might work after all!’ I'm still learning to let go and enjoy the ride for what it is more.”
How do you achieve work/life balance as a founder?
“I live by my calendar and make sure I'm diligent about scheduling in personal time, lunch breaks, exercise, and I take weekends seriously. I've really seen the hard way that when I'm not at my best, the business suffers, so it's worth working smarter not harder.”
How do you stay motivated?
“Interacting with our customers and artists keeps me so motivated. It's been really fun to do our Union Square Holiday Market booth and see the ‘a-ha moment’ as customers see the puzzle art completed and framed, and [it] definitely energizes me to keep going!”
Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success? If so, what are they?
“Definitely ruthless prioritization. I have to carve out time to think big picture because it's so easy to get caught up in the urgent but not necessarily most impactful to-do list.”
What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?
“We have supported our artist partners and distributed tens of thousands of dollars to these emerging creatives around the world! Especially over the past couple years with the pandemic and so many working artists left without many outlets, we were able to help monetize their work while helping alleviate some stress and anxiety for our customers when it was most needed.”
- Check out JIGGY's business insights, origin story, and ways to support them!
- Hear startup stories from real founders on the Startup Savants podcast.
- Keep up with more startup companies by visiting our list of the top startups to watch.
- Form your own startup by reading our review of the best online incorporation services.
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