Puzzles are the new self-love, time out we’ve been waiting for! We are very excited to welcome back Okay Lady this October in Melbourne, eager and ready with new puzzles for summer days. This clever collaborator is one inspiring lady, proving the mountain is worth the climb when it comes to lady business. Could this be the summer of your puzzle masterpiece?
We caught up with Kristy of Okay Lady to dig a little deeper on what it’s like
to be a puzzle queen and a small business boss lady.
Tell us a little bit about your journey, who works with you and what sparked the idea of creating Jigsaw puzzles?
I had worked in corporate sales roles for a number of years and arrived at a stage in my life where that type of work was no longer working for me or my family. I was looking for more flexibility, more time for my family and a situation where my earning capacity wasn’t capped by a salary.
Before Okay Lady had its name and before it was a puzzle company I knew I was building a lady business. The ethos of supporting, uplifting and working alongside other women would be key to this new thing I was cooking up.
The ethos of supporting, uplifting and working alongside other women would be key to this new thing I was cooking up.
Jigsaw puzzles had long been a secret pleasure of mine and they became the perfect fit for the brand because you can do them on your own, they give you some mental stimulation but they’re not too taxing, and you feel like a relaxed genius when you’ve completed one.
So, I set out to find some like-minded creatives to help me bring a more visually exciting, beautiful, thoughtfully designed (and therefore way more enjoyable to complete) jigsaw puzzle specifically to women.
Okay Lady loves a collaboration! Talk us through the process and why collaborating with artists is so important to you.
Oh we so do! The number one reason we collaborate is that I’m no artist, so by necessity I had to find others to bring their artworks to the project. I have a strong belief that if you work with clever women who are at the top of their game you’ll end up with a fantastic product, a healthy business, and a few new mates too.
The process is very unscientific, I simply choose artworks that I like and that I think will lend themselves well to a puzzle. With the first collection, I ensured each one would be different from the next to create some variety for our customers and get a gauge on what people like. Some of the works we licensed as they were and some we worked with the artists on colours to create a cohesive collection.
I’m planning the second collection now and this time I’m looking to our social media audience for suggestions and inspiration. So much fun!
Taking time out to build a puzzle takes skill! Talk to us about the element of mindfulness and self-care involved in puzzle completion.
For me, working on a puzzle brings me a unique pleasure. It takes a level of concentration that I don’t find comes easily elsewhere in life. And when I’m in that zone I’m 100% there, focusing on the patterns, remembering where I saw matching pieces and constantly sorting and grouping them. Working towards completing the various sections of a puzzle gives smaller, more regular bursts of achievement and little dopamine rushes along the way to the big prize that is completing the full picture. I like to go away and come back to a puzzle over time which I find brings new perspective each time and such a buzz when you crack a particular section that might previously have been driving you nuts.
It’s something you can do solo and lose yourself in it for a while. Giving myself the space to do something as frivolous as a puzzle when the washing has piled up and the kids are in bed and there are 1,000 emails waiting for me is a small kindness that feels very freeing.
Do you have a fave puzzle design? Is there one that puzzles(pardon the pun!) you more than another?
Ah, that’s like choosing a favourite child. No, I couldn’t choose a favourite but I think each of them brings an individual challenge. I can say from experience that the ones with more clear space are definitely more demanding but completing them is great fun.
Can you tell us about your experience debuting at Finders Keepers earlier this year and what can Melbourne expect from Okay Lady this spring?
I must say that I was super nervous in the lead up to our first Finders Keepers earlier this year. It’s a big investment for a new small business to undertake a market of this size and caliber and I have zero experience with these events so the nerves were buzzing for sure. I also had a 5-week old baby at home so logistically it was a tricky one, I spent much of the weekend in the parent’s room pumping! I’m so glad I just went for it though. With some outstanding help from a sensational team, we totally crushed it. Having the opportunity to speak directly with so many of our customers was invaluable and our sales totally outperformed my expectations.
Now I’ve got one under my belt I’ll definitely be better prepared. We’ve got more of the same for Spring/Summer, lots of puzzles, giveaways, taking online orders, helping people with their Christmas shopping and having a good old chat.