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GAME-CHANGER: Bahamian entrepreneur releases Junkanoo-themed jigsaw puzzles online

Puzzles are manufactured in The Bahamas

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Antoine Thompson is seeking to put together the pieces of a fractured cultural sector along with his latest creative endeavor. 

The Bahamian entrepreneur and cultural ambassador recently re-launched his flagship product, Junkanoo-themed jigsaw puzzles.

Antoine Thompson, Owner of Jigsaw Bahamas.

The patriotic puzzles, which portray a few of the most vivid snapshots of Junkanoo, at the moment are available for purchase on Amazon. 

In an interview with Eyewitness News, Thompson reflected upon his time as an avid Junkanoo participant and the way his affinity for the festival later piqued his interest in producing cultural puzzles. 

“What really got me into it, I used to run with the Valley Boys, since 1995, ” said the 44-year-old. 

“Just being on the market and being an element of the festival, you get to feel the energy, the thrill and the eagerness – not only from the participants, but in addition from the group, especially the tourists. 

He continued: “Junkanoo is so original and so, – it’s nothing like -, Carnival is one thing but Junkanoo is one other thing and I felt that it had such a mystique to it. 

“I used to be like: ‘What else can we do with this parade that has all this color and sound and motion in a single picture?’” 

“What can we do to promote it apart from just saying that it’s the primary festival on the earth, you must come down here and see it?” 

Thompson further noted that a detailed friend also identified that the country was void of any cultural toys for Bahamian children to play with. 

“A friend of mine, who’s an art teacher, she also was like: ‘Kids within the Bahamas don’t have their very own cultural toy to play with”. 

Thompson said that their conversations inspired him to pursue a cultural puzzle project, recognizing that the standard toy has stood the test of time”. 

“We live in a time where everyone has smartphones or play stations, yet you continue to find people doing jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles and sudoku, which tells me that this has stood the test of time”. 

“So I went on YouTube and I googled and I saw some videos on just how you can make a basic puzzle, what machine to purchase, the way you go about taking pictures and putting it on cardboard,” said the puzzle manufacturer. 

Putting the pieces together 

Thompson would go on to speculate in a jigsaw puzzle machine and procure a business license to jumpstart his entrepreneurial enterprise. 

In December 2014, he created his first puzzle using a picture that he captured at that yr’s Junkanoo festival. 

Thompson’s puzzles would prove to be a game-changer, garnering praise from the Ministry of Tourism for being progressive. 

He recalled: “Once I created my first junkanoo puzzle, I went to the Ministry of Tourism”. 

“They’ve a bit that deals with Bahamian artisans that make Bahamian crafts right here in The Bahamas, they usually saw the junkanoo puzzle they usually were like: “Man, that is something different. We’ve never seen anything like this before”.

“They used to have a display on Bay Street where they might allow Bahamian artisans to display their work, and I might go on the market with the puzzles and tourists would buy them.” 

A pair is the topic of this puzzle portrait.

Thompson, after seeing how the tourists responded favorably to the puzzles, he planned to launch them on Amazon. 

It took him two years to accumulate a seller’s permit with the net retailer. 

He says that despite the cumbersome process, he feels achieved to have his puzzles live to tell the tale the web site. 

“It felt so good to say: ‘Man, I’m on Amazon” 

“As a Bahamian, while you do something like that, you’re feeling like a celeb. You are feeling such as you’ve reached that level while you’re competing with the large business corporations who’ve stuff on Amazon. 

“Though it took me almost two years, I felt so achieved.” 

Thompson told Eyewitness News that he plans to expand his business’ reach, revealing that he’s working towards getting the puzzles in US retail giants, Walmart and Goal. 

Antoine Thompson’s junkanoo puzzles might be found on Amazon, and customized puzzles will also be requested on his official website: https://jigsawbahamas.com

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