There are many things that people enjoy when they are young. While some love colouring books and crayons, others may love puzzles and legos. But as we age, life often gets in the way of doing the little things that bring us joy. Somewhere between crayons and Excel sheets, we all grow up.
But there comes a point in everyone’s life when they start to look around and realise that there is a need for balance - for going back to those activities that provide respite from the hassles of the day-to-day. And what better way to return to the simple joy of being present in the moment like children, than indulging in an activity like puzzles?
And when we talk about puzzles, we’re not talking about lacklustre, outdated patterns or Spiderman and Paw Patrol, but gorgeous pieces meticulously illustrated by talented artists. Founded by Sharon Sigamani, a lifelong puzzle enthusiast, Piece Up is a recently launched Bangalore-based brand that breathes much-needed new life into the world of jigsaw puzzles in India.
Peace by Piece Up
While she hails from Chennai, Sharon is now based in the city of Bangalore and has had a career spanning 17 years in the world of entertainment, including tech, TV, and radio. After an unexpected twist in her life, she decided to set out on her own with Piece Up. During the challenging days of the pandemic, Sharon, like many of us, sought solace from the chaos in her own ways. This time eventually made her rediscover the love she had for jigsaw puzzles. Sharing this pastime with her aunt, Sharon found that piecing together puzzles during this time became a gateway to inner peace and mental serenity.
However, there was a puzzle-shaped problem – the designs available in the market were dated, not to mention - the options for complex puzzles in India were few and far between. That's when a spark of inspiration led Sharon to create a homegrown brand that could challenge the notion that puzzles are uninspiring, space-consuming, time-intensive, and/or primarily meant for kids. She set out to create mini 80-piece puzzles tailored specifically for adults, with a focus on promoting mental wellness, self-care, and stress relief. To top it all off, the puzzles come in travel-friendly boxes, making them ideal companions for journeys and even make for thoughtful gifts.
Creating a Puzzle Isn’t Child’s Play
One unique aspect of Piece Up is its commitment to supporting female artists from around the world. Sharon handpicks artwork that she believes would make fabulous puzzles and gives these artists a platform in her own way. The process of creating these beautiful puzzles is no child's play, but Sharon and her team have figured it out with time, patience and a lot of revisions. According to her, "Creating one of the puzzles starts with finding the perfect art or illustration. After that, it's all about reaching out to the artists, discussing commercial terms, and licensing the image. Once that's in place, the team gets busy designing the boxes that will house the puzzles, and then they go into production mode. Careful packing and swift shipping ensure that every Piece Up puzzle reaches its new home in the best possible condition."
From the artwork to the boxes, the puzzle boxes are quality-checked closely by Sharon, her mom, her aunt, her brother and with the occasional overseeing and comments from her dad, like the way most Indian dads do. Piece Up isn’t simply a brand or a business, it is a project of love and passion for the founder. She hopes to take her love for puzzles and turn it into a chance to inspire adults to take a nostalgic journey, where they can rekindle their love for this classic pastime.
When asked about her favourite product from the Piece Up collection, Sharon admits it's a tough choice, but if she had to pick just one, it would be the "Flower Shop" puzzle that she created in collaboration with . This artwork holds a special place in her heart as it was the first piece she curated for Piece Up.
The Way Ahead for Piece Up
As a self-proclaimed Christmas lover, Sharon is already buzzing with yuletide joy, already starting work on doing a mini Christmas puzzle drop. For her, a Christmas puzzle was a top priority from the moment Piece Up was just an idea. After all, what's more wonderful than the holiday season for a Christmas lover to do something extra special? She is working towards creating a drop that would make for the cutest gifts and can even become a little art piece to add to one’s Holiday decor.
As for the future of Piece Up, Sharon envisions a world where the brand collaborates with both established and up-and-coming artists from India. She plans to diversify the puzzle offerings by featuring various art forms, from sketches to abstract to pop art. Sharon also hopes to showcase the rich art and culture of cities in India, creating puzzles that capture the essence of different places. And, just maybe, there might even be a more challenging 500-piece puzzle from Piece Up down the line.
And in a world that sometimes feels fast and frantic, Piece Up offers a tiny escape, a little return trip to the simpler times of childhood. These mini-puzzles are not just about finding the right pieces; they're about seeking inner peace too.
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