Karen Kavett can finish puzzles faster than most people, and she makes money while doing it.
“It’s always been my favorite hobby,” said Kavett, the woman behind Karen Puzzles.
She has finished puzzles of all kinds, from a 3D Christmas puzzle to a 13-foot-long puzzle. She films the process and posts them to her YouTube channel.
Last year, she finished second in the individual competition in the National Jigsaw Puzzle Competition. It was her first real competition.
Her YouTube channel – which features everything from the process of putting together a puzzle, to rare, vintage puzzles she finds – has more than 200,000 followers.
“During the pandemic, everyone got very, very into puzzles and my channel really took off,” she said. “The one that really sort of helped my channel blow up was when I did the 24,000-piece puzzle which I’d been wanting to do for literally 10 years.”
Kavett said she found a niche that no one was really talking about at the time, and she’s always loved puzzles. Five years later, it’s what she does full-time.
But finishing puzzles for a living isn’t all games, there’s a lot that goes into her work. “When you're an influencer, you're doing like 50 jobs all at once,” she said.
Yet, there’s broad appeal in puzzles. Some of her videos on YouTube have more than a million views.
“Puzzling is something that everyone can relate to. Even if you're doing a really small easy puzzle, most people in their life have done a puzzle or at least know about jigsaw puzzles. It's a lot more accessible than maybe some other niches that require a lot of specialized equipment or money to even get your foot in the door,” she said.
Kavett’s favorite puzzles are “Puzzles on Puzzles" released by Ravensburger, the 24,000-piece Life Puzzle, and the 5,000-piece Gradient Puzzle from The Play Group.
Now, she is focused on collecting vintage puzzles and creating her own puzzles in collaboration with other companies.
“Maybe someday I’ll open my own puzzle museum,” she said.
In September, she plans on competing in the World Jigsaw Puzzle Championships in Spain.
National Puzzle Day is January 29.