Sales boom for Wentworth jigsaws
Friday, February 5, 2021
Wentworth Wooden Puzzles made an appearance on ITV News at Ten this week, in a report about how jigsaw sales have soared during lockdown.
Presenter Tom Bradby described Britain as being “in the grip of jigsaw mania” with millions of people stuck indoors with time on their hands.
Wentworth is based in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, and its British-made puzzles have their own fan club, with HM Queen also believed to be something of a devotee.
Online jigsaw fan communities have blossomed, with the co-ordinator of one Facebook group lauding the soothing process for its mental health benefits during the pandemic restrictions.
Wentworth's precision laser-cut puzzles feature the firm’s trademark ‘whimsy’ pieces – special shapes such as people and animals – that match the theme of the puzzle.
“It’s been relentless which is good in many ways. Pretty much overnight demand for puzzles increased, for us by at most around 400%,” explained Wentworth managing director Sarah Watson in the report.
According to the firm’s website, after the Covid-19 pandemic took hold last year the business went into production 24/7 to keep up with demand, while also adapting to Covid-secure working, with almost 250,000 puzzles produced.
The jigsaws have even taken off on Instagram, with celebrity fans including Hugh Jackman, Ellen DeGeneres and Patrick Stewart posting videos as their jigsaws take shape, and as they place the final piece.
Demand has stretched the small team at Wentworth, with the business explaining on its website that it is currently making puzzles to order due to the boom in demand, with a lead time of 20 days.
The firm has also temporarily suspended its personalised puzzle service, although it did make an exception for ITV News, with the final frame of the report featuring a bespoke branded puzzle being produced for the show.
Plans to install additional machinery were put on hold last year due to the need to maximise available production, with additional equipment now set to be installed in March, which will up capacity by 30%.
The business was founded in 1991 by Kevin Wentworth Preston. In a typical year it makes around 150,000 puzzles.