Navaneethum Pillay

Soul Puzzles at Yabba Dabba Do (Pty) Ltd

What does your company do?

Soul Puzzles is an pioneer in South Africa. We design and manufacture whimsy wood jigsaw puzzles. We have developed a specific process to ensure a better hairline cut and fit and seamless images. Our designs are inclusive of all cultures and traditions. Our policies are focused on people empowerment, creation of jobs for marginalised women and canine rescue. 90% of the profit of Soul Puzzles is committed to being an unassailable and constant source of financial stability for the local Canine (GodDog) Rescue. Although we have been actively supporting local organisations committed to the rescue and care of predominantly canines for over 20 years, such activity cannot be sustained or expanded upon through donations and fund raising only. The escalating desperation and depravity require escalated and accelerated action. COVID, flooding, looting, dramatic increases in the cost of living are some of the additional pressures on families with pets. There is no system of financial support avaiable for animals. Rescue organisations are already overwhelmed. Following on the rescue of canines is the desperate need to address the general lack of respect and care and LEGAL RECOURSE for animals in South Africa. Rescue organisations are consistently hampered and hindered by a constitution that does not recognise animals as sentient beings and does not provide for their protection. One does not need to watch videos of violence against animals, here in South Africa or in other supposedly forward-thinking countries around the globe, to KNOW that animals are constantly exploited. We need to transform our thinking and our laws. The justice system is an expensive and usually greedy machine that requires regular and timeous payment to keep it grinding. Puzzling Objectives: a. To develop a culture of puzzling as a hobby, craft, therapeutic and meditative mindfulness practice in Africa and to encourage cognitive development thrugh puzzling. b. To provide and promote images and designs that are aligned with SOUL qualities and are culturally appropriate to Africa, South Africa and the Indian and African diaspora. c. To manufacture international quality laser cut wood jigsaw puzzles for export as an employment generating industry in South Africa. d. To produce educational and special needs wood puzzles congruent with our respective national needs and identities. e. To create and maintain a company policy of transformation. We do business the way a dog wood! f. To create professional opportunities and skills development and training where applicable. Puzzle design and production requires creative and technical skills, computer skills and a high level of attention to detail. Packaging and despatch are manual assembly line processes engaging skills easily taught and developed within the work evironment. To have fun!

What is your biggest success?

We have lived and worked in accordance with our transformational values and survived. I am not a CEO. I am the puzzle designer and website developer / maintenance and marketing manager. I am the social media manager and the office administrator and accountant. I am also the eCommerce manager for TakeALot ad now Amazon. I am the warehouse manager and despatcher... Essentially a one woman business financed by private loans, other work and the bond on my house. People power! We have developed a small team of loyal and commited individuals. Development of a pioneer process that exceeds existing international standards. Development of a vast range and variety of puzzle keylines with massive potential for the next five years of production for local and international retail, bespoke production and wholesale production. Established Soul Puzzles France and Soul Puzzles USA as independent companies and warehouses for global sales. Our environmentally friendly upcycling!

What has been your biggest hurdle?

There are no hurdles, just constant learning curves and challenges. These include: The lack of necessary technology, skills and finance in South Africa. A female entrepeneur must have funds to apply for funds. Access to global markets. Lack of communication from those government departments established as support systems. Disrespect to women. It is almost expected from the average man, but wholly unneccesary from other women.