I’ve learned that sometimes it’s just better to get started and learn and stumble as you go.
Cassie Collier got her competitive spirit from her younger brother, who turned everything between them into a game – whether it was calling shotgun 24 hours in advance of a road trip, or seeing who could race faster on their bikes in the backyard (albeit with training wheels). Cassie served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in a small dairy town in Nicaragua, where she taught Entrepreneurship courses to small business owners, and also brushed up on her board game-playing skills with kids in her community. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree from Susquehanna University, and a Master’s Degree from Harvard University, where she studied business & regulatory policy. Cassie was then part of a three-person team that launched Catapult, a global start-up incubator for young tech entrepreneurs. Cassie currently works on Wall Street as a valuation analyst. Born and raised in Central PA, she shares an apartment with Jacklyn in NYC.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
A few years ago, my sister Jacklyn and I were looking to give our parents a unique gift for the holidays. Finding nothing in the stores, we designed a board game from scratch, crafted with our own childhood memories and family traditions. After an evening of laughing and reminiscing around the living room, this hobby soon turned into a light bulb moment for us: could we scale this idea, and create personalized board games for all special moments in people’s lives? And Bundle was born.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Jacklyn and I start the day at 8am. We read off our to-do list for the day, and then jump in. From 8:30-11:00, we are typically emailing journalists in order to land in gift guides for this holiday season. From 11:00-2:00, we work on making our games. This part is really fun! Because each game is personalized, we create custom questions for each order. From 2:00-5:00, we are often planning an upcoming event, such as a “ladies night in” event where we gather together 12 women to play our game.
We make each day productive by having a to-do list at the start of the day that we review, making sure to tick off each item as we finish it.
How do you bring ideas to life?
We jump in! When we first had the idea to start our own board game company, we didn’t yet had a manufacturer but decided to post on Facebook anyway that we were taking orders for our game. When orders came in, we had to start making the games by hand – we had no other option!
What’s one trend that excites you?
I love that in a high-tech world, people are starting to crave authentic, phone-free moments with the people around them. That’s why I feel so strongly that our game is coming along at the right time.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I keep a physical planner. Forget electronic calendars! In my planner, I have every deadline, every journalist name I want to contact, every event we are planning. It helps me to stay organized and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would say, “Jump off the cliff and learn how to assemble the parachute on the way down.” For most of my life, I needed to have all my ducks in a row before I launched into anything. But with Bundle, I’ve learned that sometimes it’s just better to get started and learn and stumble as you go.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Anyone can take cold bucket showers and use a latrine for 2 years. (I did it in the Peace Corps – and I’m no more special or tough than anyone else!)
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Don’t look for outside money! My first inkling when I started Bundle was, “Oh, we need investors!” But soon I realized, let’s just bootstrap this ourselves. Not only will we retain full decision making power, but it will allow us to focus on the customer and the product – instead of spending all of our energy trying to win over investors.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One strategy we have taken is, free press! We have $0 allocated to marketing right now, so we’ve been laser focused on getting featured in different newspapers. It’s free and it allows us to share our story in more than just a soundbite.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
We applied to Project Entrepreneur (a Rent the Runway accelerator) and weren’t accepted. It was a pretty big disappointment to us. How did we overcome it? Well, we are going to apply again this year and hope for a better outcome!
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
One really annoying chore when I still had my car was getting my oil changed. It would have been great if there was a mobile oil change business that came and changed the oil while I was parked at work.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I spent was last weekend when I rented a car to drive to Mt. Washington. It was an amazing hike that was inspired by another fellow entrepreneur, Jesse Itzler in his book “Living with the Monks.”
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I love Shopify. It’s the e-commerce platform that processes each of the orders we have on our site. It’s a super intuitive platform.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recently read “Rise and Grind” by Daymond John and really loved it. He talks about his hustle from waiting tables at Red Lobster, and then starting to sell FUBU hats on the side. I was really inspired by his grit and tenacity to get his business off the ground.
What is your favorite quote?
My 87-year-old gram always said to me, “If you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” I feel so lucky that I’ve found that job with Bundle. 🙂
- Jump in, and figure it out as you go!
- Don’t necessarily think you need outside money. Find a way to bootstrap your business instead if you can.
- If you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.