Self-isolation prompts business boom at one of Ireland's only jigsaw compainies

Self-isolation prompts business boom at one of Ireland's only jigsaw compainies
Mary Gosling of Goslings Games, Clonakilty, West Cork: "It’s like three or four Christmases all coming together with the amount of demand"

Business at one of the country's only jigsaw and puzzle companies has gone through the roof since the start of the Covid-19 crisis.

While they would normally produce 2,000 games and puzzles each year, Mary and Graham Gosling have sold more than that in just the past three weeks.

Most of their business is coming from Ireland, but they are also selling to customers all over the world.

The couple, whose Goslings Games company is based outside Clonakilty, West Cork, are struggling to cope with the demand.

“It’s like three or four Christmases all coming together with the amount of demand.

“Orders are just pouring in from everywhere and we've lost track of the time of day we are so busy here," Mary said.

 The 'Discovering Ireland' and 'Discovering Europe' games, two of Gosling Games' most popular products
The 'Discovering Ireland' and 'Discovering Europe' games, two of Gosling Games' most popular products

The couple have run out of their best-selling travel-based board game Discover Ireland, which has already sold 250,000 to date.

And they are ramping up production at their near-by factory to cope with the demand.

“Demand has just gone through the roof and although we are a very small operation, we are competing with all the big boys,” Mary said.

“We just don’t know where this is all going to go because we are just flat out all the time.

“Although shops where we used to sell our puzzles and board games have shut, online sales are very strong.

“And I hear it is the same all over."

The couple launched their first game - Discover Ireland - in 1987 while they were both running a guest house and raising a family.

It has since sold more than 250,000 copies and the business has evolved into Irish-themed jigsaw puzzles, greetings cards, tea towels, mugs and fridge magnets.

But it is the board games and jigsaw puzzles now that have really taken off in a way that they just never imagined.

“We are just a small husband and wife team, although we have someone who helps us out,” Mary said.

“Luckily my husband is a bit of a workaholic.”

Jigsaw firms in the UK have seen their orders jump by as much as 150% as people look for more ways to while away their increased time at home away from work and friends.

Wentworth Wooden Jigsaw Company Managing director Sarah Watson recently said: “sales have gone through the roof”.

And like Mary and Graham, they have also been caught by surprise at the sudden interest in puzzles.

And while at this time of year, their smaller 250-piece puzzles would sell, they are noticing an upsurge of people buying 1,000-piece puzzles.

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