Sisters Jackie and Cassie Collier started Bundle by up-cycling old board games with construction paper and handwritten cards and pricing six hours of hard work for $50. Now, paying homage to their family’s love of board games, the company creates custom board games that each customer can uniquely enjoy. In this episode, hear how they rolled the dice on building Bundle.
Cassie: if the relationship between the co-founders isn’t strong, then the business itself is just bound to fail.
Jackie: you didn’t even notice it before, but it’s like, it’s such an intimate relationship in ways that. If you’re, if you don’t have a partnership like this, you really don’t know.
Dana: Welcome to Hustle and Gather, a podcast about inspiring the everyday entrepreneur to take the leap. I’m Dana
Courtney: and I’m Courtney.
Dana: And we are two sisters who have started multiple businesses together. And yes, it is as messy as you think. Because we know that starting a business, isn’t easy.
Courtney: I mean, we’ve done it four times. And on this show, we talk about the ups and downs of the hustle and the reward at the end of the journey.
Dana: And we love helping small businesses succeed, whether that is through our venue consulting, speaking, or team training, we love to motivate others to take that big leap.
Courtney: You could just use our misadventures to normalize the crazy that is being an entrepreneur, because every entrepreneur makes mistakes,
Dana: but we like to call those unsuccessful attempts around here.
Courtney: And we know it’s just part of the process. And today we’re learning from sisters, Jackie and Cassie Collier, founders of The Bundle Game, a unique personalized board game brand all about you. At Bundle, their mission is to bring people together for life’s most celebrated moments. They create one of the kind custom board gains that encompass your favorite memories, stories, and inside jokes. Jackie and Cassie, welcome to Hustle and Gather.
Cassie: Thank you so much. That was an amazing intro. I love that.
Jackie: Yeah, I feel like it’s very rare that we get to talk to people that really, really get it. And you guys are sisters and have started multiple businesses together. So I feel like we have a lot to learn from you. So I’m excited.
Courtney: Oh, yeah. It is very messy. Dramatic.
Yeah. So obviously you’re sisters. So how long ago did you guys meet? we get that all the time. Every time we meet someone, they’re like, it’s either, are you identical or they say, wouldn’t you guys meet? Courtney’s like in the hospital, in the hospital, my mom introduced me to her.
Jackie: It is funny that it’s always those extremes, right? Like people growing up I’m 16 months older, but people always thought we were twins or they would say, you look nothing alike. I can’t believe you’re related. And we would be like, okay, which is it?
Cassie: Yeah, we, we grew up so close. As Jackie mentioned, just 16 months apart. So we grew up in a small town in central Pennsylvania, a little coal mining town with our little brother who’s 16 months younger than I am. So three right in a row. You know, our childhood home was just always full of play.
We were always playing sports, board games poker with our parents. I mean, you name it. And, and we did it, and it was always our way to, to really bond as kids. We had a competitive spirit and we always saw, you know, any sort of game as a way to really, you know, bond us all together.
Dana: Yeah. So how did your paths, like, did you guys always know that you wanted to do something together? Like, were you guys super close growing up or did you kind of go your own path and then kind of come back together.
Jackie: Yeah, I think that’s a really good question. Actually. I think it’s a bit of both. Like, we’ve always been best friends and sisters. We, we joke around cuz you know, we know people who’ve shared a room growing up, but we’re like, oh no, we shared a room. We shared a bed. Like we were like really in it to win it. We went to the same college, but we majored in very different things. Like Cassie went the economics route and I went the acting route. And I think people who know us, they definitely know we have the same sense of humor we really get along. But I think if you were to say, what would these two do together? They would never think that our pets would’ve converged. I mean, what do you think.
Cassie: Oh, yeah. I definitely think so. I mean, yeah, we were absolutely in the same friend group. I used to follow Jackie around at high school football games, wherever her friend group went, I would go, I was always her shadow, but yeah, I think Jackie’s right. That we, we were actually quite different.
I played basketball. Jackie starred in the operas in high school. Our interests were actually quite different., but the one thing that always unified us was we loved games. We loved games as a way to connect with people, and we both joke and look back on this time, our first year of college, I made my best friends in my hallway through playing this game Catch Phrase. I don’t know if you remember, it’s like that handheld
Courtney: Yeah. I loved it.
Cassie: we would stay up till all hours of the night in our dorm playing this game. And that was how I made my closest friends. And Jackie also had a similar experience with how she made her friends.
Jackie: I made all of my friends playing a game called Battle of Sexes, and I loved it so much I became like a women’s studies minor like that semester. I was like, yeah, women rock. I mean, still think women it’s more nuance now, but yeah, we definitely bonded over games.
Dana: That’s so fun. That is fun. Yeah. We played a lot of games growing
Jackie: Did you have a favorite?
Dana: I still play lot games. Oh, we’re big boggle fans.
Courtney: Yes. Yes. Love boggle. Love boggle. Dana. We just recently played boggle on our recent trip and Dana spanked everybody. She got like 18 in one round. It’s amazing.
We don’t, we don’t allow three letter words. You can only have four letter words or more.
Dana: Yeah, we don’t, we don’t play risk as a family, cuz that always ended with the board getting flipped over our dad by our father, our father, he was super competitive. we played a ton of Rummy, a ton of Rummy, like that’s yeah.
Courtney: We used to take baths, we would play, we would take baths and we, this is how close we were. One of us would be in the bathtub and the other one would be, we’d be playing gin Rummy that wouldn’t be sitting outside the bathtub, just playing gin Rummy. That’s how we took our bath
Dana: and we played it for pennies for pennies points. So we always had this like collection of pennies. you’d see who had the best, had the bigger piles and whatnot.
Cassie: my God, you really optimized all your time together. Like bath time, turn it into a game of cards
Dana: Yes. Okay. Well, okay. So you obviously love games., when did this idea become a reality? And did, did you guys obviously graduated and did you do something separate first? Yeah. Before you made your business?
Cassie: We did. We went different ways. I packed my bags, moved to Nicaragua for two years where I, I did the Peace Corps down in Central America. And while I was down there, my primary job was actually teaching entrepreneurship with high school students and through working with them, I really got this entrepreneurial bug. I was working with the student’s day in and day out and seeing how their minds were looking at something and thinking about how it could turn into a product. And they were just bold and creative. And so at the end of the peace Corps experience, I thought, okay, at some point I would love to start my own business, but I know I wanna do it in partnership with someone.
So I came back to the us. So that was my mindset, at some point, I know I wanna start a company, Yeah, Jackie, you have quite a different path as well, but somehow the paths,
Jackie: Some of it converged. Yeah I went to a grad school for acting and then I did a children’s theater tour and then I moved to New York and I did a lot of theater and I did some film and TV. You know, I’ve always been really obsessed with storytelling, like that’s why I like being an actor, and really getting to know people like I like to get inside people’s heads and find out what makes them tick and all their stories. And I’m always asking a thousand questions.
And I think that’s where we converged with Bundle because I didn’t necessarily know I wanted to start a business, but Cassie had come up with the idea for this game and it was like, oh my goodness. We can find out all these people’s stories and I can do a deep dive and it can be my job. And it’s not like I’m a weirdo asking all these questions. So I think that’s sort of the, how it all came to be.
Dana: Like secret stalker, like you’re the covert, like I am, doing this for a game, but really, I just wanna know everything.
Cassie: Yeah, exactly. And it’s funny the, the first prototype of our board game that we ever made was actually for our parents. Christmas was coming up and we wanted a thoughtful and heartfelt gift. And so we made a Call your Family board game all about our inside jokes and our traditions and our memories together.
And we played it Christmas Eve as a family and really, you know, saw how special that time was as a family, where we got to reminisce about our childhood memories, and I think that was a moment where Jackie and I were like, oh, we have something. And if we can make these for our family and it’s a hit, then maybe we can make ’em for other families too. And so that was really where the seed got planted.
Dana: Hmm. I love that. Like I think, so our par our grandparents are still alive on my mom’s. Oh, I guess on both sides, but we’re really close to my mom’s parents and I feel like every time I see them, I just want them to talk like the entire time.
Cuz I wanna remember all the stories and they say the same stories. Like I’ve heard the same 25 stories like my entire life, but every time I’m just so invested in it, cuz I don’t wanna forget it. And I think it’s, do you see the game as almost a way of preserving memories of even people like, like grandparents and parents, like after they’re gone, like, this is the way to kind of open up a vault.
Jackie: Yeah, that was awesome. The way you frame that. That’s I think that’s exactly right. And I think that sometimes it’s like, you’re saying, you know, you hear the same stories over and over, and sometimes it’s easy for people just to toss off stories, but sometimes it feels awkward or like there’s not really space to do it.
Like how do we get it going? And I think that Bundle facilitates that, and serves as a time capsule because we have photos and we have our favorite memories and inside jokes and traditions all preserved in the game. So it’s like a living memory book, but also it’s so interactive because you learn things that maybe you didn’t know before. So that’s kind of a fun way to explore and deepen relationships.
Cassie: And one of the most poignant emails we ever got from one of our customers was from this son whose mom had been diagnosed with stage four cancer, and they were going on one last family vacation together, the son reached out to us and said he wanted a game to really celebrate her life. And they were all going to play it together on this vacation.
And it was one of those moments where it’s like, you know, why we believe in our product so much, and what keeps us going through the ups and downs is stories like that, where people are taking bundle and using it to celebrate life and help people through the tough times. So that I think for us is a really special part of, of doing this business together.
Courtney: I can only imagine; cause we’ve never tried to create and sell a product-based thing. Like we’re very service based or space right based. So like, take us back to like that first game that you made and then like, how did you scale this?
Jackie: Oh, yeah. We’ll take you back to what it looked like when we were, when we were doing it at first. So people. Oh, when they hear that we were really bootstrapping it or doing it, bare bones, I think they have an idea in their head. Like, oh, it, you know what it looked like. I mean, it was literally us. We had a board that my, our mom like went to local thrift stores and we’d get like an old game.
We’d cover it in contact paper. And Cassie was like really good at like, smoothing out, like all the bubbles.
Cassie: Getting the bubbles out.
Jackie: we would, I mean, I’m sure there was an easier way to do this, like printing out a whole sheet of it, but we would cut out every square out of construction paper and glue it on, and then we would hand write all the cards. So to make a game, I mean, Cassie, how long would it take?
Cassie: At the beginning, it took us six hours to, to make a game. Yeah, it was a real.
Courtney: How much did you charge at the beginning for said games?
Cassie: Oh, my goodness. Well, I think we were totally low balling. I mean, truly., and luckily we had a few mentors along the way that was like, your price point is way off, but at the beginning, we, I remember we put a Facebook post you know, on our Facebook and we’re like, does anyone want one of these games?
And at that point, I think we were only charging $50 or something because it was so, I mean, it looked like a kid’s art project to be completely honest. The content was really good, but like the actual aesthetic looked like a kid’s project. So at that point we were charging $50 just to get people playing it and then giving us feedback.
So we would, you know, we had a few really supportive friends and family members who bought them from us. And then after they’d play, we’d say, hey, can you send us like a voicemail or an email with the everything about the game that you liked everything about the game that you didn’t like, was it too long? Was it too short? you know, basically give us all the feedback and then we would take all that information. And then Jackie and I would make tweaks to the next round of, of games that we made.
So that feedback really on was really, really helpful for us. And we also had these in person Game nights that we would organize in New York city where we would invite a bunch of friends over order pizza, drinks, and then have people play in real time. And Jackie and I would be in our note, you know, in the corner with our notebook, taking notes about what was working, what was not working. And that was also really enlightening for us too, to see how the game played out in, in real time.
Dana: Yeah. So like a bunch of beta test testing, basically.
Jackie: Yeah, a lot of that. And once we, once we did a lot of beta testing, we thought, okay, we’re ready to, you know, stop using glue and scissors and contact paper. And we decided to do a Kickstarter to raise the money, to just do one sort of order of games from a, from a real manufacturer. So that was really exciting to get, to do that and to work on the Kickstarter campaign because I, I feel like we had fun with it.
Like for the rewards, it would be like they would get the game, but also if they donated a certain amount of money, they would get a Bundle ballad or belt. So Cassie and I would take famous songs and we rewrite the lyrics and put their names in it and put, bundle in it and things we knew about them. So it was a really great way to, yes, raise the money and sell product, but also to generate buzz for the company. So that was, that was a really fun time getting to do that together.
Dana: Did you have like a great reaction to it? Did you feel like the Kickstarter is what got you to the next level?
Cassie: Yeah, I think we, our goal was just about $10,000. We wanted just enough to pay our manufacturer for the first round of games. And I think we ended up. 15,000 or so, so it was a good amount to, to get us going. Yeah, it was an exciting day when it got officially funded and then we were able to call our manufacturer and say, okay, you can start printing.
Dana: Yeah. That’s really awesome. That was awesome. I know, I always wonder about those Kickstarters. Like my husband’s a huge Kickstarter fan. We have so many random ass products in our house from Kickstarter,
and I think it’s a really neat way to bring people into your business. It’s almost like having very silent investors, but people that, because I think, you know, in this world where we have influencers and whatnot, it’s like almost like a mini-influencer market.
Cuz I can’t tell you how many times we’ve talked about the products we loved off the Kickstarter, you know, and convince someone else to buy it. It’s amazing and great and whatever. So I think that’s really neat to do it that way.
Jackie: You sort of get people in on the ground floor and they, they become like mini-influencers for you. And they’re, they’re almost, they feel like they have a stake in it cuz they got in at the ground floor and that’s really fun too. They’re like, oh yeah. I mean we found that like long before anyone did so yeah. We had a lot of supporters that way, which was great.
Courtney: How else did you, like, obviously you said you generated some buzz with the kickstart, but how else did you get that buzz going?
Cassie: Oh, you know, I think a big thing and it helps cuz we’re both fan girls, Jackie, especially like we have our celebrities that we love and we follow. And so what we did in the you know, the first year or two a bundle, we would choose a celebrity, do a deep dive on their social media and then make ’em a game and then send it to their house.
And surprisingly enough, like more often than not, they’d actually post about it on their Instagram.
Dana: Nice. Wow.
Cassie: Jackie and I love reality TV. So we sent quite a few out to Survivor and Amazing Race contestants. Who else? Jackie, did we send games to?
Jackie: Oh, we hit like all the NYC mom bloggers and they, yeah, you do like that whole circuit we did. It was funny too, because it was a great way for us to being a fan girl. It was a great way for us to connect and do that, like secret stalking and be like, oh, we get to learn even more about them. And then we had a really fun in person interaction with two of our most favorite entrepreneurs. Cassie, do you wanna tell that.
Cassie: Oh sure. So Jackie and I are, you know, obsessed with Sarah Blakely, the founder of Spanx, and her husband, Jesse Itzler who’s an author entrepreneur ultra-marathoner he does it all. So at the start of, I think it was 2019, we, you know, Jackie and I like making our vision boards at the start of the year. And we put on our vision board, we want to meet Sarah Blakely and, and Jesse Itzler.
So I think it was marathon weekend, New York city in 2019. We found out via Instagram that Sarah and Jesse were in New York that weekend celebrating their anniversary. Jackie and I had already had a Sarah and Jesse custom bundle made for them, like just in the off chance we would ever run into them. We were totally prepared. We already had the game made. We see there in New York city, Jackie sent a message, just a DM, like a random DM on Instagram to Jesse and says, we have an anniversary present for you. Can we meet up and give it to you?
A few minutes later, Jesse responds and he goes, sounds great, meet us at our hotel at 9:00 AM tomorrow morning. In what universe? In what universe do we get a response from Jesse? So this is, I don’t know, Jackie, I think like Sunday at three o’clock in the afternoon, we get this message. We know we’re meeting them at 9:00 AM the following morning.
So Jackie and I are just on cloud nine, freaking out. And we come up with this idea. I text Jackie and I was like, hey, you know, we’re meeting Sarah and Jessie tomorrow. We have to be memorable. They meet so many people. We need to do something to stand out. Jackie, what was the text you got from me?
Jackie: She goes, I have a great idea. Why don’t we show up at their hotel dressed like them? She’s like I have a Sarah Blakely wig, I have a Jesse Itzler one for you. Let’s show up. And normally I’m down for any like wacky thing. Like I love costumes, but like, I was like, I just gotta blow out for this. Like I just. Like do we do I have to, but then like I got my head on straight and we went in full costume to meet them. We were carrying a sign that said happy anniversary.
And they came downstairs in the elevator and we thought we were just gonna hand off the game to them. But when they saw us, they were like, What the actual hell is going on. couldn’t stop laughing. And they were like, we have to sit down. And then we sat down and we played the game for like an hour. Cassie and Sarah. Oh my God. They were, they were amazing. Like they were the best Cassie and Sarah were talking strategy for like 40 minutes. And I was just asking Jesse about like his all-fruit diet and what he eats.
I was like, he’s like, yeah, we’ll let them just chat. Like they know. So it, and, and it was funny. Cassie was dressed like Sarah and they were chatting and I was dressed like Jessie and we’re in the corner chatting. So yeah, it was really, really epic. And we got to see firsthand how she crafts a story, like even on her Instagram, like she took a bunch of footage of us and then shared it in a really strategic way that just painted the picture of what Bundle was.
She did a grid post for us. She did a bunch of story posts and that was another bump for us too, for sales and awareness. And just being like, oh man, we got to actually hang out with two of the people that we’re completely obsessed with.
Dana: That is that’s so cool. Like what a, what an amazing opportunity.
Jackie: Okay. It’s funny. Cuz people say to us too, they’re like, oh, that was really risky to do that. But like we, I mean, not personally, but we follow them so closely that we’re like the bigger risk is actually being boring. They like crazy stuff. So we’re like, no, we wouldn’t show up. One time, we had a pitch meeting to do a game for like a dating app or something. We’re like, great. We’ll make it really quirky. We’ll be in character. I’ll dress like, like I think I was dressed like Zach from Saved by the Bell and you were Kelly Kowski and we were like, Flirting and like doing the whole thing and the, the guy that we were pitching to, I mean, didn’t crack a smile one time and was just like, okay. And then like logged off the zoom. So it doesn’t always land.
Jackie: you blocked it out.
Courtney: you blocked it from your mind.
Jackie: you guys said, there’s a lot of messy stuff and we block out most of the messy.
Dana: You just forget about it. It’s not a memory worth keeping. Yeah well, was there ever a point in your journey because we like to ask this question, we call it kinda like your oh, shit moment where you’re just like, oh my God, like I’m in over my head. Oh my God. To like, what, what am I doing that you guys are just like, this is too much or I have no idea where to go from here.
Jackie: I feel like for me, it’s probably a little less, so cuz my whole life is a series of like, oh shit moments. So I do remember one time and this was like less of like a like emotional or existential thing, but like it was, or even like a big picture business thing, but there was one time when we had had, which was great, a bunch of orders for Christmas and.
A bunch of, we had just sent a, a partnership with hallmark channel. We had a bunch of those orders. So we had a bunch of personalized games and a bunch of hallmark orders. And our business is like somewhat seasonal. So sometimes like there’s an ebb and flow, but this was really busy. I think what was it?
We had to stay like fully awake and up, I think it was 19 hours straight and we couldn’t really take a break. And there was a moment where like, I was like trying to capture something for social. Cause I like thought that was important to that moment. And Cassie’s like, Jackie, we have 18 more hours of packing stuff.
Do like Instagram could wait. And I was like, yeah, I, I, I needed to like zoom out because it’s that thing. Yeah, sometimes for me, it’s hard to know what the important thing is, is that moment. And Cassie’s really good at keeping me on track for that.
Cassie: Hm. Yeah, I remember that night. That was definitely, that was stressful. I think I,
Courtney: we’ve had, we’ve had similar nights like
Jackie: What do you guys, oh, how do you guys like get through it?
Courtney: One of my favorite memories of ours is when we were,
Dana: Courtney being an asshole is how we get through it, most of the time.
Courtney: It’s not true. We were doing flowers, we used to have a floral company, and so we would do flowers and plan weddings. This is like the very, like near the beginning of our business. So as Dana and I doing this big wedding, and it was a big flower order, it was huge. It’s like 200 people, this, this huge old barn.
Dana: And they had, and they had all this, a U-Haul of stuff of stuff that, that we had to put flowers in.
Courtney: For the flowers. Right, so we got there the day before and we were gonna like work on it. Like we had, they blocked off like eight or nine hours or something like that should have been enough time. No, like we could not finish. It was like 10 o’clock, 11 o’clock, 12 o’clock one o’clock in the morning. Middle of the night, two o’clock in the morning. Well, I am like punch drunk at this point.
And we’re trying to move something, it was a table. I can’t remember what happened, but I could not stop laughing. It, it like, literally it broke or
Dana: Like it fell on my foot and she just started cracking up laughing. And I was like, this is not the time.
Courtney: No, she looked at me and she was like, I am in no mood. Pick up the table and keep moving. I was like, but I just could not stop laughing. It was like, everything was funny to me at that point. Like I’d lost it. I think we got like three hours of sleep that night and then came back and we had to do the wedding, like cuz we were the planners.
And I had to go direct that wedding and then break it down that night. I mean, it was a really, really long, long weekend, like, what have we gotten ourself into?
Cassie: the lack of sleep can really get to too., oh, that, that I’ll share. I, I remember now that you were talking about that event, I think this is at the, the height of COVID. It was like, we’ll say October of 2020, and we had ordered a shipment of playing cards to get delivered to the apartment.
And in each deck of cards, we have like 83 cards, and typically our manufacturer will send them to us already sorted. So each deck basically can be put, you know, right in the mail. It’s ready to go. But what happens is we got a shipment of, I don’t know, 500 decks, but they were actually sorted by like, they were grouped by the card, if that makes sense.
So like they basically, they, I had to lay out like, 30,000 cards in my apartment and Jackie was sick
Jackie: I had COVID
Cassie: and she couldn’t help out. And so I remember there’s just this, you know, picture of me with our entire living room floor just covered in the cards as I had to sort through 30,000 cards and organize them.
And that was a moment where I’m like, what am I doing? How do I get out from under this mess? But I look back on that picture and it’s like, you know, it brings me a laugh now, but it is that, that moment, like you were saying, Courtney, it’s just like, you hit that low point and you don’t know how you’re gonna, you know, get past it.
Dana: Well, when you just start questioning everything, like I’ve definitely been in those, like when the task seems too large at hand and you’re like, why did I think I could do this and why, what, what is broken in our system that this has happened? Like, how did I let this happen? Because it, it definitely makes you think about it. Like, okay, like, cuz you don’t ever want it to happen again. Like I don’t ever wanna be in that position
Cassie: You’re exactly right. You’re exactly right. And I thought, well, if I had only sent an email to the manufacturer before they assembled the cards and said, can you organize them like this? Instead of that, it would’ve saved me you know days, but you’re right. You, you oftentimes, as entrepreneurs, we get in our own heads and think about, okay, how can I do it differently? And I absolutely was like, oh man. Okay. But next time I’ll know.
Dana: So one of the things that we talk about often, especially being sisters and Courtney says this, I knew this more than she did, but she just assumed that we had the same parents. We had the same upbringing that we would be the same. We had the same origin story, right? Like we had the same origin story, so we’d be the same.
So how she thought, how I thought. And it really wasn’t until like year two and year two, three in business, and we started getting actually like super busy, starting to have to decide like, who is good at what, and making those tasks, that we realized we are two very, very, very different people. How we process information, how we like, how we work, like the pace we move at.
Like, did you guys find that to be similar? That there’s a little bit of friction almost in, in, I don’t wanna say work ethic cuz I don’t think it’s a difference of work ethic, but I guess work style.
Jackie: Yeah, I think that’s such a great point, because like you said, as sisters, like, we all have the exact same nature and nurture, so we should theoretically, but yeah, no, I think, many things definitely in work style, but also in the way we communicate, like if I get frustrated, I. Yell and I cry and then it’s over.
But then that’s like putting the emotional burden on Cassie who is a lot more like even keel. And for me, like when someone’s even keel, I’m like, are they secretly mad at me? Are they passive aggressive? And I know Cassie’s not, but that’s still my way of like, well, I can’t keep my emotions in. So I think that was a big thing too, of when something is upsetting to us, Cassie’s a lot more calm and I’m like pretty explosive.
Courtney: But it is shocking though. Cuz I think like for Dana and I. we’ve obviously we had the option of sharing a room, not sharing a room. Like we shared our, I can think of like, from the time of like past middle school, when Dana was in middle school to high school, like we maybe had like one sister fight.
Right. We went on vacations together. And we still do. like, we can still vacation together. And it’s literally never a hiccup. Like there’s never a a friction moment or anything. I mean, we get. I think so.
Yes. But when you start mixing in your, you know, day to day and the pressures and the anxiety of running a business and growing a team and like all of those things, when I think those differences really start to like shake out and for me, it was, it was super shocking. Cause I was like, we’ve done all of this life together. and been through big milestones together. Like even planning weddings and like all of those things together and it was fine.
But then at what point it was like not fine, you know, and then I realized, okay. And I think that really forced us to take a deeper look into, okay. What does make us tick? What is our personality? Like? We can’t just base our future relationship on our past relationship success. It takes on a different role.
Jackie: Yeah. And you’re saying stuff that you would never see as sisters or as best friends. Like you just wouldn’t see that stuff. So it’s not like you didn’t even notice it before, but it’s like, it’s such an intimate relationship in ways that. If you’re, if you don’t have a partnership like this, you really don’t know.
Cassie: It’s so true. Even like, this is such a tread example, but how we, we assemble our game in a certain way. And I like to fold the board in a certain direction and put it into the bag in a certain way and fold the rules in a certain, you know, pattern. For me, that’s very important. And for Jackie, it sort of doesn’t matter.
Like she’ll fold it, whatever she feels in the moment. It’s such an example of like, when would that have ever come up in our pre-bundle lives? Like I would never,
Jackie: Jackie just bolds in the moment.
Cassie: Right. And I’m like, so anal about it, but it’s, it is like little things that you’re like, this would have never come up before starting a company together, but it’s things you learn.
Jackie: Think something also that was, I think surprising for both of us is you sort of assume that the other person, I think it’s kinda like where you’re saying Dana, like that the other person will think like you and want the same things. So like I said to Cassie, like, I want her to be the CEO of the company.
I like getting marching orders from her and she’s like, no, I don’t wanna feel like I’m bossing you around or I don’t want you to feel like that. I was like, but I do. I like that. Like, I’ve always been someone who, I really like taking direction, like I enjoy it. It’s just part of my personality. And I think like, I didn’t wanna put unfair pressure on Cassie to do it, but I think you’re good at it. And I, I think you like it. Is that right?
Courtney: It’s clearly is a younger sister issue, or trait, not issue, it’s a trait, a gift.
Cassie: No, you’re so right. I think as a younger sister, it felt very unnatural in a way to be telling my older sister what to do. But I think once Jackie said, like, it’s actually very important that our roles are this, then it brought clarity. I’m like, oh yeah, that actually, it does feel better that way, but yet that conversation never would’ve happened if Jackie, you know, if she wouldn’t have been honest and said, like, I really wanna be in a role where you’re the CEO and I’m the COO.
Cassie:, So I, I appreciated that candor at the beginning. Cause I think it really set the stage for, you know, our working relationship.
Dana: Yeah, I think it’s like eon. Like ahead of where people are, because we’ve just had that conversation. We’ve been in business partners for 17 years and we’ve tried to keep everything 50, 50, like the mental load, 50 50. And it’s not, it just isn’t because like, kind of what you were saying, Cassie like you care how things are folded.
I care deeply about how things are done. And Courtney’s like, well, as long as it just gets done, like why does it matter? Like the end result’s the same? I’m like, yes, but there’s this client experience. There’s this whole other things that get us to that point. And so finally got to the point like, well, what do you care about?
Like, and what you care about is what you should be in charge of what I care about is what I should be in charge of. And then there’s sometimes tension of, I don’t wanna care about this. like, I don’t want to be the one that cares about this. Like as this job sucks and it’s boring and I hate that I care about it and I don’t wanna be the one thinking about it, but it is kind of how it gets divided.
So just like super self-aware that you’re like, this is our roles and we’ve, we’ve literally just had this conversation about CEO and COO. Like where, where should we be? And, and how should that, that function in, you know, what we call our mini empire because we have, we’re literally running four different companies and it’s a lot, you know, and it’s not, and even like, oh, you do these two and I do these two. It’s not how that works. It doesn’t work like that. So I love that you guys had that conversation early.
Jackie: What you said too, Dana about that is really enlightening, cuz I know Cassie and I talked about this, like Cassie does our business tax every year, and she doesn’t think it’s fun. Like that’s not a fun, it’s the whole thing you’re saying like, I don’t wanna have to be the one that cares about this, but like someone has to, where someone has the skillset.
So yeah, I that’s, that’s another thing too. And then actually thinking about, what do you care about? Because it’s fun. And then what do you care about? Because you know that you can handle it the best. It’s, there’s a lot there.
Dana: I think it really comes from getting into a really great spot mentally with your business partner. And I definitely, I’m sure you guys have had, you know, ebbs and flows. Like it’s been really high and really low, and we’ve had some very low times as partners and very high times as partners, but in those low times, it’s when you get that feeling of like resentment and frustration and you feel like martyr, like I’m the only one doing this, what are you doing?
Blah, blah, blah, whatever. And, and it really, to me, and it took a long time for me to take a step back, cuz I am very, as much as I am like, this way I am not even keeled at all. There’s something even keeled about me. Like I am super like up and down. I just, and I let myself feel it cuz I have to like, I I’m very much like this.
Yeah. I recognize a lot of times and I’m feeling like we’re in this low point, there is some truth to it. But a lot of it is, is me. Like it’s how I’m feeling and it’s not necessarily what is actually happening. And I was just having a conversation with my therapist yesterday about this actually. That I’ve always been very empathetic.
Like I’m a super empathetic person, but I don’t have compassion. And those are two very different things because I can, I can feel for you and I can empathize with where you are, but I don’t give you grace because to me, I’m like, suck it up. Get out of it. I’m sorry. It’s happening. But like, here’s how you can get out of this mess. You know what I mean?
Cassie: Yeah. You’re problem solving
Dana: Yes. It causes a lot of friction that you don’t, I don’t have both those things. So there’s definitely a lot of that, that. I think the business has made me learn more about myself than anything else in my entire life. More than my marriage. More than being a mother. it’s being Courtney’s partner.
Courtney: I tell Dan all the time I say this often I’m like, we should have a vow renewal. Like whenever we go to a wedding, I’m like, we need to celebrate this 17 going on 18 years of being in business together because it is a feat. Like it is, it really is.
Cassie: it’s so true.
Jackie: Yes, we should normalize those
Cassie: Yeah, but we we’re friends of Esther Perel, the, the therapist and she, you know, has a podcast where she works with couples through, through therapy and relationship counseling. But she’s recently started one for employees to, to work on relationships because I don’t think it’s something, any. Think about enough and there’s so much to unpack in a relationship with your co-founder or your employee.
And she’s just starting to scratch the surface in a way that I think is so important because if the relationship between the co-founders isn’t strong, then the business itself is just bound to, to fail.
Courtney: yeah, absolutely. I know.
Dana: So, so crazy. Well, we’d love to hear anything fun or new in the works, you guys just launched your own podcast?
Jackie: We did called Bundle Buzz. Cassie never thought. I said, when we first started the business, I said, Cassie, I said a lot of companies now, especially companies like ours, like. It’s gonna be a lot about like, I mean, you guys know cuz you, you do it like it’s very forward facing. You are the brand. She was not on like any social media.
I said, we’re gonna have do videos. You’re gonna have to be like forward facing. And she said, never will I ever, and then all of a sudden now she’s like podcasting, she’s making videos. She’s in charge of our TikTok. We just recently hosted panels at nineties con and Christmas con, and this convention called Ramma drama for our game. She’s on stage hosting these game nights. I’m like Cassie, you’re just like out there doing it. Yeah,
Dana: That’s awesome.
Cassie: Yeah, no. So Bundle Buzz we’re taping episodes now and hopefully dropping them in a few weeks. So that’s been really fun. We’ve started to partner with companies. I think, you know, companies now that they’re, they’re going back to hybrid work where some people are in the office, others are working remote.
It’s sometimes hard to build team culture when you are working in a hybrid mode. And so we’ve started working with companies to do game nights for, for their companies. That’s one thing too, that we’re also, you know, really excited about.
Dana: it’s a great idea. It sounds like a blast. I know. Sounds like so much fun.
Dana: Thanks everyone for Gathering us today to talk about the hustle. For our episode with Jackie and Cassie, we are drinking in espresso martini. We hope we get the chance to make it this week in cheers to sisters and business. To learn more and connect with Jackie and Cassie, you can visit our business on Instagram @thebundlegame or visit their website at thebundlegame.com. You can also connect with them personally on Instagram, by searching @jacquelinecollier and @cassie_collier1
Courtney: To learn more about our hustles, Visit us on the gram at canddevents, at thebradfordnc, At hustleandgather, and at anthem.house. And if you’re interested in learning more about our speaking training or venue consulting, head to our website hustleandgather.com.
Dana: And if you love us and you love this show, we’d be more than honored If you left a rating and a review.
Courtney: this podcast is a production of Earfluence. I’m Courtney
Dana: and I’m Dana.
Courtney: And we’ll talk with you next time on hustle and gather.
Hustle and Gather is hosted by Courtney Hopper and Dana Kadwell, and is produced by Earfluence. Courtney and Dana’s hustles include C&D Events, Hustle and Gather, and The Bradford Wedding Venue.