Great Small Businesses: @lepuzzpuzzles !

This week I interviewed an amazing small business @lepuzzles !

  1. Tell me a bit about yourself:

“Alistair: I’m a photographer who specializes in still life. I am also a collector of many things which I often use in my photography. My collections include but are not limited to: miniatures, novelty candles, fake food, vintage puzzles and novelty lamps.


Michael: These days I’m bouncing around New York as a part-time stay at home dad. I enjoy making paintings (but that happens less and less these days). I’m a record and tape collector, puzzle collector, book collector, tattoo collector.

We’ve been friends for a long while and met in Chicago in probably (2008?) in art school in a Japanese literature class.”

2. What inspired you to start your business? How did you come up with your business name?

“LP: We love puzzles and are continuously inspired by the rich history of vintage puzzles. We felt like there were certain things about our favorite puzzles that were not being represented on the market. We wanted to take our favorite aspects of those older puzzles and translate them into a new product. Le Puzz is our attempt at distilling all that inspiration into something new. Early on we made a checklist of things that we always hoped to to find in a good puzzle and we made sure Le Puzz checked all those boxes.

As for our name (lol!) after a lot of back and forth pitching names (of course all of Michael’s were amazing!) one of them was Le Puzz. We both loved it so much because we already always referred to puzzles as puzz’s. There’s a little puzzle within the name – if you move Le to the back in front of Puzz, it spells puzzle!! We were kind of surprised no one had taken that one yet but also I think Le Puzz in Italian is pretty close to “the stink”, which is probably why and just for the record we are 100% ok with that.”

3. How do you pick an image that ends up becoming one of your puzzles?

“LP: For our first series we were working a lot with items we already had in the studio since the pandemic had limited our ability to source things to photograph. Luckily I have several collections of interesting items that served as the inspiration for our first group. There are so many fun tropes to draw from in vintage puzzles like piles of fruit or collections of objects, we just do our best to bring them into a more contemporary setting. Moving forward with future collections we make lists of ideas and the ones we both like the most often just float to the top. We also work a lot with how an image falls on top of a die-line, is it too easy, too hard or just hard enough?”

4. What are your best selling puzzles and why do you think they are so popular?

“A: It’s interesting, we have 4 puzzles that are almost neck and neck with sales. Juicy, Oops!, Match Made in Heaven and Lighten Up were all selling at relatively the same speed. It seems like the fruit theme is the most universally appreciated but our Matches puzzle has been really popular – maybe because it’s one of our 1000 pieces puzzles which is popular with the seasoned puzzlers out there. Matches is also super fun to put together, each matchbook is like it’s own mini puzzle =)”

5. What’s the hardest puzzle you ever did? What made it so difficult to complete?

“A: The hardest puzzle from Le Puzz is definitely I ❤ Stickers. There isn’t any negative space in that one it’s all information and some of the stickers repeat, just when you think you’ve found where something goes you’ll realize it’s a different sticker. After we made it we were both like, WHOA, this is going to be impossible. Thankfully it’s still super fun to do and all the small details really pop out the more time you spend with it. Michael completed it with his family over the holidays this past year, it was a marathon of 6-7 people working on it around the clock.

More recently, the hardest non-Le Puzz puzzle I’ve done was this B. Kliban Momcat puzzle from the 80’s. It was so hard because the focus of the puzzle is a big orange cat which has a lot of similar markings on it. It’s surrounded by a giant blank white space which leaves you with about 200 totally white pieces that all look exactly the same. This puzzle was ribbon so the pieces were relatively uniform which made it so much harder! With random cut pieces at least you have shapes to look for but in the case it’s just a matter of trying them all until you find the one that fits. Maddening!”

6. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?

“A: Yes! Our second series is launching soon! We have 6 new puzzles launching this spring that we’re so excited about!! We also want to dip our toe into the merch-pool a bit, we have a hand full of funny ideas for stickers, totes, hats and more! We’re also developing a line of mini-puzzles that we’re absolutely obsessed with! We promise to have those out in time for the holidays.”

If you like to learn more about this great small business. The following contact information is below:

Instagram: @lepuzzpuzzles


Thank you so much Alistair and Michael for the interview!!!!

Until next time!!

Valentine’s Day: A Recap

Hello everyone,

So I was debating for the last 12 hours to write this but it was on my mind… so I thought it was better to get it out in the open rather than repeat the thoughts in my mind.

I work in customer service I take a lot of returns, phone calls, and delegation. The place I work at had rules about return policies and I follow them. I don’t make the rules but it is my job while I am working to enforce them. Our return policy is 90 days which when you think about it is a full season…. thousand of hours, countless days turn into night etc.

It is not the customer service’s fault that the customer decided to not make the time to return something within that period. So harassing, intimating, or belittling me doesn’t serve a purpose. For verbally attacking someone who has anxiety. You put someone who is simply enforcing the rules at there job feel harassed. You had no right to do that. That small interactions speaks volumes of your small character, and lack of dignity. It serves no purpose to act like a child but perhaps people do not know how to outgrow their childish actions.

A little Valentine’s Day note…

Hello all,

To all who celebrate this day. Happy Valentine’s Day! To those who don’t happy Valentine’s Day anyway.

To those who don’t have a special someone. May I suggest that you treat yourself on that day?

Watch your favorite movie, eat your favorite food, buy out all the chocolate in the candy aisle.

Send a card to yourself or in my case send out five.

Either way the love of your life should be you. If you choose to share love then remember…

Love comes in the simplest form. A card, a text, even a phone call is saying hey I care and love you.

It takes very little to show but it means a lot more then you realize when you do.

Welcome to the Insta-hood: @mownby!

This week I interview fellow instagrammer @mownby!

  1. Tell me a little about yourself:

“Tell me a little about yourself. I grew up loving movies and they’ve been my passion since I was very young. I started out mostly loving horror and as I got older and was able to dive deeper through the internet and film classes I discovered a world full of amazing cult and foreign films that blew my mind. Several years ago I began working at Turner Classic Movies and I feel lucky that I get to talk about movies all day long.”

2. How did you become part of the TCM Underground group?

“First I’ll say that Millie De Chirico (TCM programmer and co-host of the I Saw What You Did podcast) is an amazing programmer and has been programming TCM Underground since 2007. When the pandemic hit, Millie asked if I would be interested in becoming a panelist on a show she was creating where we could give some of the amazing films she programs for TCM Underground a platform for discussion and discovery and have fun in a sort of virtual slumber party setting. Now more than 20 episodes in, TCM Slumberground has become a true passion project for us all and so much fun to produce.

3. What was the weirdest movie that left an impression on you and why did it leave such a memorable mark?

The Doom Generation

“I would say that Gregg Araki’s The Doom Generation probably had the biggest impact on me out of everything I saw when I was young. The in-your-face sexuality was so impactful to me, especially knowing i was gay from a very young age. Watching that movie gave me a sense that films that spoke to outsiders or people breaking heteronormative expectations were out there if you looked hard enough and that was exciting to me. “

4. If you have to create a list of five movies to watch this winter season what movies would you put on the list and why?

“Love a theme so I’d probably go with some wintry thrills and chills –

You’ll Like My Mother starring Patty Duke is a good one along with Dead of Winter with Mary Steenburgen.

The Spell

Winter also makes me want to watch a lot of made for TV movies so I’d include The Spell starring Lee Grant.

The Victim

The Victim with Elizabeth Montgomery.

Night Drive

And one of my new favorites and discoveries from last year – Night Drive starring Rhoda herself – Valerie Harper! “

5.  If you were writing an autobiography on yourself: what would be the title of your book and why? 

“My Puppet/My Self – I like the idea of taking a well-known book title from the 70s and creating a spin on it based on my own interests. I’ve always been interested in dolls and puppets and have even dabbled in making some of my own – thus a book title is born! “

If you would like more information on Matthew. The following contact information is below:

Instagram: @mownby

Email: matthewownby@ladycultblog

Thank you so much for the interview Matthew!

Until Next time! 🙂