Pieces for the Planet

Pieces for the Planet

Surf Shack Puzzles

Founder, Mahina

I didn't realize I had a love for puzzles until I found Surf Shack puzzles. I was intrigued by the beautiful art that each puzzle created, each uniquely presented by talented local artists. I bought one with the intention of framing the finished art piece, but soon discovered that solving a puzzle was so fun. My family and I worked on it for nearly a week, and it was such a fun bonding activity. Look no further for finding gifts that anyone would love!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how Surf Shack Puzzles came to be.

Aloha! My name is Mahina and I'm from the windward side of O'ahu. My full-time job is in Environmental and Native Hawaiian law. I have two keiki and one of them is a self-proclaimed puzzle maniac! I started thinking about how great it would be if there were more Hawaii-specific, culturally-based puzzle designs out there. My husband and I started doing puzzles during the covid lockdown, and it was super relaxing after working from home with two little kids all day! We started thinking about highlighting local artists and others who have a similar beach vibe, and the next thing you know, we're running this small business out of our house! 

What is the process like to create a puzzle?

It's way more complicated than I thought! We initially tried to make them at home with a laser cutter, which was crazy and super time-consuming in hindsight. Through a lot of research and trial & error, we ended up finding an awesome manufacturer who used 100% recycled premium board and is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. This means that they meet the gold standard of ethical production. Puzzles are made using a die cutting press, which uses a  sharp template to stamp out the pieces. We've been able to provide some feedback to our manufacturer and even design a new template with more variation, so pieces aren't exactly the same. 

In what ways is Surf Shack Puzzles a sustainable eco-friendly company?

From the beginning, I've wanted this company to be a vehicle to donate a portion of proceeds to causes we care about. We started out donating directly to organizations doing amazing work in marine conservation, and are now a member of 1% for the Planet. Not only are our puzzles 100% recycled, our packaging is now too! There is no plastic and our pieces come in an organic cotton mesh bag. We also do our best to eliminate waste and reuse all our cardboard boxes for shipping supplies. We ship carbon-neutral and are always striving to learn more and do better.

What makes Surf Shack Puzzles unique compared to other companies that sell puzzles?

We are all about supporting women artists and ocean conservation programs! I also think we've done a good job curating the designs so there is a somewhat cohesive aesthetic. 

What are some future goals that you have? Do you plan to expand your range of products?

We'll definitely be focusing on puzzles for the near future. We have so much to learn about sustainable growth, refining our systems, and just business in general. But who knows what the future has in store! 

You can find Surf Shack Puzzles on Instagram @surfshackpuzzles or online at surfshackpuzzles.com

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