Tell us about your company and products:
Dope Pieces Puzzle Company is a jigsaw puzzle company that creates puzzles using the artwork of Artists of Color. Our slogan is, "We Make Puzzles Dope Enough to Frame". We focus on art that positively represents the Black and Brown diaspora, while at the same time providing a platform for artists to share their work with a broader audience.
How do you feel that African American art impacts our culture?
Art can serve as a visual representation of many aspects of Black culture. It is a way to carry history and keep a visual record of our beauty, struggle, success, and triumphs. Art tells stories, expresses and conveys a multitude of feelings, messages, and thoughts. It shows what was important, popular, or significant. Its impact is immeasurable. The financial impact of art on African American culture is an opportunity to create wealth through collecting and understanding the value of art. It can be passed down generation to generation creating a culture of wealth through art.
Why a puzzle?
Puzzles are a great inexpensive way to introduce and bring art and artists into your home and to conversations. It provides the opportunity to see, touch, and experience art in a very hands-on way.
What does success look like for you?
We want to be Worldwide. We want our artists to have opportunities to share their work with people around the world. We want to have artists from every continent to share the beauty of their culture and share their stories through art in the form of puzzles. As we grow to touch all the parts of the world we want to expand our customer base through partnerships with more galleries, museums, boutiques and bookstores.
What is your process in selecting an artist to collaborate with their art?
It starts with the work. I am attracted to colors, the brighter the better, second the content of the piece. We always want images that highlight the best of people. Since the puzzle industry lacks diversity the images that I select embody people of diverse backgrounds but in a way that is uplifting. That is very important to us. So many people have said of our images, "That looks like my... [insert loved one]" and we want those images to evoke pride, hope, and love. The artists have to trust us with their work, and from there the relationship is established, but the work is how it starts.
What keeps you motivated as an entrepreneur?
When I start anything, I visualize the end goal. I can see the plan of Dope Pieces and all I have to do is bring it into reality. I am motivated to make the vision a tangible reality that the world can see.
What's next for Dope Pieces?
We are currently in 25 locations, and are looking to more than double that in the next year. Also, for 2024 we have a goal of getting into 10 midsize and big box retailers, including Barnes and Noble, Target, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Z Gallerie, Urban Outfitters, Anthropology, and FOA Schwarz. We are very intentional about how we grow, but ultimately we want Dope Pieces to be a global brand.
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