If I was to guess where my love of all things Treasure Hunt stems, from the Saturday evening show of the same name featuring Anneka Rice flying about in a helicopter solving clues is probably a huge influence. I wasn't even in my teens at the time it aired in the '80s, and I was Irish, so most of the clues were a mystery to me, but I still felt happily swept up in the excitement of it all.
By the time that show stopped being aired another fantastic show for puzzle addicts came along - The Crystal Maze starring the flamboyant, Richard O'Brien and I loved it. It might not have been a treasure hunt in the strictest sense, but it had challenges contestants had to win to be in with a chance to win some Treasure in the Crystal Dome.
I grew up in rural townland in the west of Ireland where fun, exciting things, outside of books and television, didn't happen nearly frequently enough for my taste.
I created my first treasure hunt for my younger sister's birthday party. I think she was turning 7 at the time. There were some clues that made no sense, and I can't remember having actual Treasure at the end, but it was a lot of fun. Years later, I started making treasure hunts again, this time for my own children and then one day it dawned on me that I could make these clues generic and sell them as printable PDFs on Etsy.com.
In 2014 I opened my Etsy shop, TreasureHuntClues, and sold some Christmas Themed Treasure Hunt Clue sets. I didn't make much profit by 'this is a real job' standards, but that didn't matter because the feedback was phenomenal. People really liked them, and I was encouraged.
Over the next few years, I continued to create more Treasure Hunt PDFs and sales and good reviews continued to rise, but over time I started to feel a bit stagnant. There's only so much diversity you can inject into Treasure Hunts that had to fit every home. I wanted people of every budget to have the opportunity to enjoy them and wanted to keep the cost per sets down. I also did not want to take on the task of creating bespoke Treasure Hunts for every customer that wanted them - I would get bored of that very quickly. I wanted an automated process, but I couldn't see a way of doing that on my budget.
Then I discovered Corjl.com and knew I had the answer to the issue I was facing. Corjl.com allowed me to make my sets available to customers in a way that made me feel my designs and work was protected but also gave flexibility to clients, enabling them to change and personalise the original clues to exactly fit their needs. Corjl.com also gives me the ability to create Treasure Maps, an idea that had been floating around in my head for years but I couldn't see a straightforward way to do it the way I wanted to.
Etsy had been good for me, but January 2020 is the time to get better and go bigger, and OpenChests.com was born. I think this is going to be a lot of fun.