Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dawn Walsh, Founder of Puzzle Culture, LLC, located in Mahopac, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Puzzle Culture is a jigsaw puzzle subscription box for people seeking a unique, screen-free alternative activity for their date nights, family nights, or game nights. Our customers are parents, couples, and people who love puzzles or are looking for new kinds of activities to try for fun and relaxation.
Tell us about yourself
I am a native New Yorker from the Lower East Side of Manhattan and a proud Latina with Puerto Rican roots. The majority of my career was spent in the retail planning world, working for major department stores like Macy's, Lord & Taylor, and lastly, as a VP of Divisional Planning at Century 21 stores. After the bankruptcy of Century 21 Stores due to the pandemic, I decided it was time to follow a dream and start my own business. As an avid puzzler, lover of all things geek/nerd culture, as well as a fan of subscription boxes, I created Puzzle Culture as a way to bring my passions together in a new and unique way. This business has been an amazing opportunity to create a culture and community around puzzles with people who love the hobby or are new to the hobby, as well as the independent artists we use and the vendors we source gifts from.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I am so proud of how far the business had come from when I started it, not really knowing what to expect or whether it would succeed. One of my most joyous moments so far has been overhearing people at a recent event talking about my business and puzzles with such excitement, not knowing I was standing there listening! Having brand recognition and hearing that excitement about checking out my products was something I couldn't imagine happening, and it felt so amazing.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
A lot of time, it can feel isolating, especially when you're a one-woman show. I'm making all the decisions and doing all the work, and it's a lot. It's been great to find a supportive network of other female entrepreneurs on that I can bounce thoughts and ideas off of and know I'm not the only one struggling out there. But I'm still at a point where everything falls on my shoulders, and that can be really tough.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
The first would be to make sure you are truly passionate about the project, whatever it is because you will be breathing it night and day. The second would be to try not to start without reaching out to other entrepreneurs across any other fields to get some insight and tips. You don't have to start completely from scratch or reinvent the wheel. Learn from others as much as you can before, and while you are working on the business, there are tons of resources out there. And finally, go easy on yourself and have patience; no matter what you see out there on social media, being successful takes a lot of time and work, and overnight success is not normal.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.