2020 has allowed me to connect with so many amazing women. Black women, moms and business owners who are claiming their spaces in industries and definitely making a name for themselves, Tiffany is no exception! Tiffany Hill is the CEO and creative genius behind Puzzle and Bloom a toy company that seeks to bring awareness to cultural differences. I had the pleasure of chatting with Tiffany about her company and I left with a feeling of empowerment that I have never felt before.
1. What inspired Puzzle & Bloom?
There are so many moments that inspired me to create Puzzle and Bloom. While in graduate school, I was a substitute teacher and I noticed the lack of black and brown characters for the children I looked after. And, the kids in my classes were mostly kids of color.
I also have a love for literature and I wrote a children’s book years ago. I wanted to do something different and more interactive this time around.
2. How have you managed during the pandemic? Have you found ways to pivot ?
The pandemic was tough for me at first. I have known people who have lost their income, been sick and have passed away. So, that has been painful.
But, when it first hit, I was in acupuncture school and working at a university. Now, school and work are all online which gives me more time at home. For the first time in years, I was forced to stay home. I didn’t even realize I needed the rest. So, I just stayed home, created Puzzle and Bloom and did a bunch of self care.
3. What motivates you as an entrepreneur ?
I love learning and entrepreneurship is a constant learning. There is never a dull moment. And, I get in what I put in. It is fair ground for me.
4. How do you balance life and mom and boss?
I currently don’t have any kiddos. But, I do balance work and school well on some days. Other days are like ground hogs day, I’m not always sure what day it is, or what time it is, LOL! We have a huge whiteboard in our living room. That helps. I write everything important on it.
5. What encouraged you to create toys that represent different cultures?
I have sold most of my puzzles in person and when I see the kids faces light up. I light up. I am happy to know I’m connecting with children and giving them a platform to see themselves. Our puzzles are also great for kids who are not of color. It helps them see their friends and classmates in a new light. Not to mention all the cognitive benefits of puzzling. It’s a win-win.
6. How has the recent news in the black community affected your business?
I can not express how encouraging people are about my business. I have a bunch of cheerleaders who want me to be successful because they can see themselves, their kids, their nieces, their grandchildren, etc in what we are doing. Representation and being treated fairly needs to matter on all fronts and all aspects of life from social justice to media to treatment in hospitals and in the medical community. The list is long. But, every day, I see someone creating an initiative and to help. It’s beautiful.
7. What are your ideas?
I definitely want to create more puzzles and some books. Writing is my first love.
8. As a small business, how have you garnered support and funding for your business?
I did reach out to the Small Business Association and requested a mentor who was helpful with ideas and paperwork. I have not received any funding, but I keep hearing that there is some available for small black and woman owned businesses.
9. What would you tell a young black girl who is looking to start her own business?
I would tell her to start today! There will be ups and downs and things you don’t understand, but entrepreneurship creates another muscle in the brain, literally. I had an arts and crafts business 7 years ago. It was pretty successful in the beginning. But, in the end, I completely destroyed it with poor financial decisions, poor vendors and the lack of resources when things were tough.
But, I learned SOOO much. That’s why I say start now. This could be a “learning business” or it could be the one you can retire from. Entrepreneurship also makes you more valuable in the workforce. I am an all inclusive employee. I have worked so many places and have been told how well I do my job, but it’s the entrepreneurship experiencing that shines through. As an entrepreneur I don’t look at one aspect of a business. I look at it as a whole and see how I can make the whole thing run better.
10. What’s next for Puzzle & Bloom?
More puzzles! I also love to write. So, definitely some books.
We love Puzzle and Bloom and have definitely added it to our must haves for kids everywhere! To find out more about the company visit https://puzzleandbloom.com or on IG at puzzleandbloom_ .