Behind Her Empire: JIGGY Founder Kaylin Marcotte on Scaling a Hobby to a Startup

It started out as a way to relax after work.

On the episode of Behind Her Empire, JIGGY founder and CEO Kaylin Marcotte talks about how she turned her fascination with jigsaw puzzles into a thriving business.

Marcotte worked at the digital media company theSkimm, managing their brand ambassador program and grassroots marketing divisions, among other areas. The workload was overwhelming, she said. She looked for something meditative to relax her after work and stumbled onto jigsaw puzzles. Completing one helped reduce stress.

But the designs weren’t great. Instead, she started experimenting with making puzzles of female artists’ work, creating JIGGY in 2019.

“Given that they were real pieces of art, we decided to include puzzle glue so you could keep it when you were done and frame it or display it as an art print,” said Marcotte.

Marcotte landed an appearance on ABC’S “Shark Tank,” where she raised $500,000 from billionaire Mark Cuban. She grew the startup to $1.6 million in sales within its first nine months, making a point to pay her artists — who get a share of the revenue of their puzzles — on time.

“We work with our artists. It’s baked into the business model that we do percentage of sales,” she said.

Click the playhead above to hear the rest of the episode, in which Marcotte offers some lessons she learned building her company and how she navigated the pandemic.