2020. What a year. Last year in 2019 we celebrated our 100th birthday as a company, and we all thought that 2020 would be relatively quiet in comparison. We want to thank everybody who has supported us through this unprecedented year – our wonderful, patient retailers and customers, the teams in the warehouses and factories, and of course a huge thank you to our fantastic team at HQ who have kept the company running throughout!
At the beginning of the year, we launched our Perfect Puzzle Project, something we have been working on for a long time. One of our main goals is to reduce single use plastic and we were thrilled to announce that our Little Gibsons jigsaw puzzles are entirely plastic-free. What’s more, we reduced the size of our lovely blue puzzle boxes by 29%, and removed the cellophane. This change saves 521,096m of plastic per year (the same as the length of 4300 football pitches!), and the smaller box now means that we need less room to transport our products – reducing our carbon footprint, and making it easier to store our puzzles!
We launched our online website in the final quarter of 2019 and online sales this year have boomed, with a whopping 1200% increase of sales within a year. Thankfully we had the foresight to recognise that online shopping is a wonderful way of purchasing our puzzles, and with people finding themselves under lockdown in March, our website became one of the main ways for customers to order jigsaws.
COVID-19 made immediate impact at Gibsons and we moved to working from home almost overnight. It was a sudden change and we had to embrace technology, finding new and different ways of working together, from virtual chats, team check-ins and Zoom quizzes. We launched our #WellnessWednesday initiative to promote the benefits of puzzling to the nation, where we encouraged puzzlers to piece together their favourites every Wednesday evening to focus and calm their minds.
We donated over 1000 puzzles to those in need, and donated all profits made from our Piecing Together Collection between March-June to the Samaritans charity. We released our stunning Rainbow Heroes 500pc circular jigsaw as a way to recognise the hard work that front-line heroes have put in this year and donated an additional £2 from each puzzle sold to the Samaritans. We also supported other charities and organisations who worked tirelessly to support those in need. You can read our blog post about it here.
As lockdown lifted, we gradually started making our way back to the office, in two different bubbles to ensure social distancing – some of us still haven’t seen our colleagues in the other bubble since before lockdown began. But being back in the office has been wonderful for our team and we have had some lovely shared lunches and antics in a safe and COVID-secure environment.
We have been humbled that jigsaw puzzles have provided so much comfort to people throughout the pandemic. We have had overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers around the globe, discussing how sane puzzles have kept them. It has been fantastic to see how people have swapped their puzzles with their friends and family during the pandemic as they realised how much joy a puzzle can bring. Even celebrities have been in touch, from Dawn French to Mary Berry, to the English rugby team reaching out to tell us of their puzzling fun.
With the popularity of puzzles meant some complications for us in-house, as demand for our jigsaws started to outstrip supply. To keep up with demand, we invested in a brand-new puzzle machine which cuts puzzles twice as fast as the older machines. This is a hugely complicated machine that took a team of experts many weeks to install.
The team at Gibsons expanded, with two of the team leaving on maternity leave, and we gained some wonderful new colleagues in return. We launched some incredible new products, including our brand-new Christmas Around the World advent calendar which was featured on ITV’s This Morning and quickly sold out due to its popularity! We also launched Quirk!, a hilariously funny family card game which was quickly given a seal of approval by the Good Play Guide, along with our other games Race the Rails and Card Game for Rebel Girls.
Our Rebel Girls jigsaws (500pc and 100pc) were shortlisted for the Best Sustainable Licensed Product in the Licensing Awards, while another of our games, Rockpool, got a Seal of Approval in the Imagination Gaming awards and was also highly commended in the Right Start Awards! Our Christmas Limited Edition puzzle, This Way to Santa was shortlisted in this year’s Dream Toys list, and Gibsons was shortlisted for the Investors in People award as well.
We launched our Trustpilot page earlier this year and by mid-December had over 5000 reviews, with a Trustscore of 4.8* - thank you to all our fabulous customers who have left us a review, we are so glad that you are happy with our products! During the pandemic we realised the importance of having a strong brand and a good product, and we realised that we are very lucky to already have both of those things.
So let’s raise a glass and celebrate the end of a long, difficult but successful year. We have made it to the other end stronger than ever and we can’t wait to see what 2021 has in store for us!
From all of us at Gibsons, we'd like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We know that this Christmas is going to to be a bit different and our hearts go out to those who will be alone this festive period.