Business

Corridor based BondingBox website aims to help couples boost, renew their relationship

Garage Band: BondingBox provides brief activities

BondingBoxes have activities involvign games and food. Photographed at Merge in Iowa City on Thursday, March 29, 2018. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
BondingBoxes have activities involvign games and food. Photographed at Merge in Iowa City on Thursday, March 29, 2018. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
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A young Corridor company believes busy, tired couples could use some help to improve their shared quality time.

BondingBox (https://www.getbondingbox.com/site/) is a subscription service that brings date night home to couples, particularly those with children, who find it difficult to set aside time for improving or renewing their relationship.

“We combine food and games in short activities and experiences that couples can share in short intervals of time,” said Jay Cooper, co-founder, chief operating officer and chief technology officer of BondingBox.

“The activities are fairly short — 20 or 30 minutes — that help build intimacy through quality time,” said David Miessler-Kubanek, co-founder and CEO. “It is meant to help couples who are tired and don’t have the energy or time to find something they can do to help them spend time with each other without much of a commitment or financial obligation.

“It’s really targeting that segment of couples who can’t or don’t want to go out to do something together.”

Miessler-Kubanek said couples interviewed for the development of BondingBox found that as little as 10 more minutes of quality time each week helped couples renew their relationship.

“People who have tried BondingBox so far have found it enjoyable,” he said. “We currently have it set up so couples can receive a box each month, every three months, once or twice a year or just try it once.

“We are really in the early stages of determining what people prefer.”

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A 2014 study published in Personal Relationships found that spending time on shared activities helps couples sustain and improve relationships. Cooper and Miessler-Kubanek have designed the recipes for food and the activities to work with couples.

“We have been approached about possibly doing a family version,” Cooper said. “Some of the couples who provided feedback to us during our initial development phase said they involved their children and they liked it.

“We are not ruling out developing a family version. It’s just not one of our options right now.”

BondingBox was launched in 2015 during Startup Weekend, an annual showcase in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City for young companies. The company was originally called Sexy Life.

“We found that really wasn’t a good name for what we are selling,” Cooper said.

“We changed the name to BondingBox in mid- to late summer of 2016. We had four possible new names that we tested with people and BondingBox was preferred by more than 70 percent.”

BondingBox is sold through the company’s website, www.getbondingbox.com. The cost for a one-off “trial” box is $12 and $20 to subscribe for a minimum of two deliveries.

“You pay by credit card and the box will show up at your door within two to three weeks,” Cooper said.

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While the idea of offering a product or service to help improve or renew relationships is not new, Miessler-Kubanek said BondingBox will be different from the competition by focusing on helping couples interact without lecturing them.

“By combining food with games, we hope to get couples to talk about their feelings and reward them because people like to eat,” he said. “We want to create a positive experience.”

While couples with young children are the target audience, Miessler-Kubanek said “empty nesters” are finding BondingBox an enjoyable way to renew their relationships.

“We also have couples ordering a trial BondingBox as a gift for friends,” he said. “We expect the majority of the empty nester purchases will be made by women, which is what we have observed so far.

”Among younger couples, the split is roughly 50-50.”

Cooper and Miessler-Kubanek assemble each box and handle shipping. Cooper is a freelance media producer and Miessler-Kubanek is a freelance designer.

While they are not seeking financial investors, Miessler-Kubanek said they welcome feedback to continue improving BondingBox.

“We see this as a niche product,” he said. “We want people to give it a go and help us make it the best product for people to reconnect.”

• “Garage Band” looks at businesses in their development, sometimes pre-start-up phase.

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