We quit our jobs to make PUZZLES – it's not sexy but we'll make millions as our products are sold in Harrods

TWO best pals say they have finally found the missing puzzle piece in their lives – making them for a living.

Ashley Ling and James Edwards, both 26, admit that jigsaws are the furthest thing from sexy, but they're ready to make millions flogging them.

The pair met while studying business at university in London and later squirreled away in busy and demanding city jobs.

When Covid hit, they found themselves struggling to switch off away from their screens and desperate for a way to wind down.

Both turned to puzzles and found them the perfect way to relax, but quickly got bored of the steam trains and flower arrangements on offer.

So they put their heads together and came up with a "sexier" version of the 260-year-old game – and Piece and Quiet was born.


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The brand offers "striking and stunning contemporary art jigsaw puzzles good enough to frame", and it became so successful so quickly the mates quit the corporate world.

And now, their products are flying off the shelves in the world's leading luxury department store Harrods – and the lads are ready to make their first mil.

James, who had a career move to Australia cancelled due to the pandemic, said: "Like lots of people, we started doing puzzles in lockdown and found that they were great way to relax.

"It had its own therapeutic and mindfulness benefits, and was one of the few things that made us put down our phones, avoid scrolling through social media and watching Netflix for hours on end.

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"But we quickly grew tired of the same boring countryside and steam train designs and thought there had to be a better way.

"There’s been somewhat of a renaissance of things that aren’t typically cool – knitting, clay-making and jigsaws to name a few – so we decided to partner with UK artists to create modern and exciting puzzles, in packaging that looks great on display in your house.

"Fast forward 12 months and Ash left his job as a management consultant to focus on the business full-time."

The business hit turbo mode and the duo found themselves in front of the Dragons' Den millionaires pitching for some much-needed cash.

"We were really early on in the business when we applied and to be honest, we never expected to get through the application stage, it was more of a case of 'why not?," James, from London, said.

Despite impressing the Dragons with their idea, and Touker Suleyman describing them as "inspirational", the lads failed to secure an investment.

But to make matters worse, they were delivered a devastating blow three months later when they were told they wouldn't be appearing on the show.

"We’d been patiently waiting with no communication from the BBC and we didn’t even get told the season was starting," James said.

"We’d invested quite heavily in stock and outsourced fulfilment in anticipation of a surge in demand from appearing on the show, so it was naturally a massive disappointment when we found out.

"The hardest part was receiving the news in a fairly brutal copied and pasted email to say we wouldn’t be featuring, with no explanation as to why.

"It was the first email we’d proactively received from them in nine months (seven episodes into the season), which definitely made the news harder to take and with a bit more notice, we could have avoided some of the time investment and money we’d spent preparing."

But the two friends didn't let that stop them, and pushed on to get their puzzles out to the masses.

They partnered with a range of artists to create one-off designs – including a Dragons' Den themed puzzle to remember their bittersweet time in the lair.

They now sell their jigsaws online and in Harrods, and Piece and Quiet is predicted to treble in size by the end of the year.

Ashley said: "Our biggest success so far has been being listed in Harrods, probably the most famous shop in the UK.

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"It is really surreal for us to see our products there alongside all of the other incredible brands.

"We've been growing so fast. We surpassed our first four months and are forecast to reach more than £100,000 in revenue in year two."

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