No date on Valentine’s Day? No problem.
Two enterprising sisters have come up with a unique February 14 event that caters to both couples and singles.
“Take Back Your VDay” offers food, drink and a chance to purge old love letters in a “Museum of Broken Relationships.”
And there will be games. The organizers, Jacklyn and Cassie Collier, know a thing about board games.
They are the duo behind Bundle, a business that personalizes board game based on family history, funny anecdotes and other real-life tidbits.
What started out as an unusual gift the sisters made for friends and family members has grown into a business they are now looking to expand.
Imaginative games were an important part of their childhood, they said.
“We grew up in central Pennsylvania, a small town of 6,000 people and there wasn’t always a ton to do,” said Cassie, 32, a financial analyst who moved to the city in 2015. “Our parents were really great about creating joy and play in our household whether it was board games, or playing basketball or our dad teaching us how to play poker.”
Jacklyn, a 33-year-old actor who lives on the Upper West Side, said her mother came up with fun “sibling bonding” games for them to play with their younger brother, Shawn.
“She called it ‘bucks for bonding’ and you had to answer questions about your siblings for cash,” Jacklyn remembered with a laugh.
When they each went off to college, board games turned out to be a low pressure way to make friends.
Tasked with finding a Christmas present for their parents in 2013, the sisters quickly figured out another scrapbook was not going to cut it.
“We always liked getting them something sentimental and heartfelt,” Cassie said. “We realized we have all these memories, all these inside jokes as a family, we could make a game.”
It was a hit. They giggled over questions about Shawn’s beloved blanket, Cassie’s childhood imaginary friend and Jacklyn’s high school crushes.
“We played it on Christmas and all felt so connected as a family,” Cassie said.
Over the next few years they made specialized versions for couples, bridal showers and family members. In 2018, they officially launched Bundle after a Kickstarter campaign.
Personalized versions of the game, which comes in a stylish and compact cloth sack, sell for $60. The generic versions cost $35.
To help customize the game, people answer 10 questions in what is called a Bundle blueprint.
“If people tell us their social media handles, sometimes we do a little deep dive to throw in a few surprising things,” Jackie said.
One heartwarming response came from a customer who had purchased a customized bundle for her elderly parents. They had been married for over 50 years, and her mother was struggling with dementia.
“She said playing the game helped bring back memories for her mother and allowed her dad the space to reminisce with other family members,” Cassie said.
Personalized games take about five days to create, and the sisters are currently taking orders for Valentine’s Day.
They are bringing a special version of the game filled with questions about dating, marriage, break-ups and self-care to the Valentine’s Day event, which is being held at Rise New York, a co-working space on West 23rd Street in Manhattan, from 7 to 10 p.m.
“Some people feel like their only options on Valentine’s Day are to go to a fancy restaurant and wait on line or stay home and binge-watch sappy movies,” Cassie said. “We wanted to create a space that brings everyone together to celebrate friendship and love.”