Former Newmarket Holidays marketing director Phil O’Sullivan is putting the pieces of his career back together – by selling puzzles of well-known travel landmarks.
O’Sullivan, who is looking to return to the travel industry after 15 years as a board director at the escorted tours operator, has set up PuzzleBag after returning to his hobby of jigsaws during the first national lockdown.
He spotted a gap in the market for good quality puzzles of famous travel destinations, sold in bags instead of cumbersome boxes.
PuzzleBag launched in February with a 1,000-piece jigsaw featuring a picture designed by O’Sullivan of US landmarks including the Grand Canyon and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.
Hundreds have already been sold after a deal was secured to sell the jigsaw on Amazon, while more designs are planned.
O’Sullivan, who was promoted to cruise, events and sustainability director at Newmarket in a restructure in 2020, was made redundant as a result of the pandemic in October last year.
He said: “I hadn’t done a puzzle for 30 years but when I was buying them during the first lockdown they all seemed to be dreadful quality.
“I have created a brand selling jigsaws with a travel ‘bent’. They are world-travel inspired and come in a velvet bag.”
He added: “Marketing the US is very close to my heart from my time at Newmarket. I designed the picture on my Mac and have copyright of the image. I managed to find a manufacturer in China to make the bag and one to make the jigsaw and then import them.”
O’Sullivan also set up marketing consultancy Proffer Marketing & Design last year and has worked for a variety of travel and non-travel businesses. The companies are providing some income while he looks for a permanent job in the travel sector.
“I’m currently looking for my next opportunity in travel however with the best will in the world it will not happen in the next month,” he said, adding that he hoped to keep PuzzleBag going as a sideline business in future.
“I have had great feedback from customers who have travelled the world,” he said.
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