DETROIT – In two short years a father went from launching inclusive puzzles to making it on the list of Oprah’s Favorite Things.
“It’s a priceless galactic level explosion,” said Matthew Goins, owner of Puzzle Huddle and a Detroit native.
Goins, a gather of three, was making breakfast for his kids when he found out Puzzle Huddle had caught the media tycoon’s attention.
“There is no way to conceptualize how many people now know the thing that you’re associated with,” he said.
A few years ago as a new dad Goins noticed there was not enough diversity in children’s toys and he wanted his kids to be represented.
“If you look at you know how children feel about their skin tone, their hair texture, their eye color, if they’ve played and interacted with toys that give them confidence and make them feel good about themselves. You would just hope that, that’s going to show up in them as they mature as children as they become adults,” said Goins.
He decided to bridge the gap and created a diverse puzzle collection himself.
“My solution was to just cut some puzzles out of cardboard at home in the living room,” he said.
He made about thirty. But the puzzles were flimsy, fragile and falling apart.
“I started to look for a commercial printer that could create a commercially viable puzzle for me. So that’s how we kind of went into a puzzle company. I was looking for black ballerina puzzles for my daughter is how I got here,” he said.
Puzzle Huddle features Black scientists and superheroes and the idea took off. He has received letters from grateful parents around the world.
“We have families that send us notes and say things like my child thinks they’re the character in the puzzle, or that they’ll react when they open a puzzle and they’ll say things like look mom it’s me,” he said.
Goins now lives in Washington. His mom was a Detroit Public School teacher. He says these puzzles are personal.
“Things that are connected to my childhood started coming up in my remembrance. Even my high school friends from Cass Technical High School, have been really connected with me and inspired me and supported me through this entire process,” he said.
He even heard from his kindergarten teacher who bought a puzzle for her granddaughter.
“That feels just as emotionally vibrant as being in Oprah’s Magazine to get an email from your kindergarten teacher is just, that’s a priceless experience,” he said.
It might be too late to get a puzzle huddle under the Christmas tree but you could get one for Kwanza or Black History Month.
For more information on the Puzzle Huddle or to place an order click here.
Puzzle Huddle offers a wide range of jigsaw puzzles for kids and toddlers. Kids puzzles can be used as a tool to support the development of fine motor skills, imagination, and learning about contextual environments. Each toddler puzzle provides an opportunity for boys and girls to learn while having fun.