We made a million by flogging our board game over lockdown – we had to borrow from our nans but it was worth it

MOST couples dream of escaping the 9 to 5 but not many of them succeed in turning an idea into a million- pound business.

Yet Jordanna and Grant Sanderson have done just that, despite the financial stresses and strains nearly costing them their wedding in August 2018.

After keeping the business going by borrowing money from their grans, the couple’s hard work and perseverance paid off as they have made their first £1million.

Their card game Shot In The Dark became a bestseller during the lockdowns. Now the Sandersons are raking in £20,000 a month — and their relationship is better than ever.

But call centre worker Jordanna, 29, and accountant Grant, 30, from Leeds haven’t given up their day jobs just yet.

Jordanna says: “Launching this business has put our relationship to the test. We came up with the idea for a card game four years ago, but we are only starting to reap the rewards now as sales have soared during the lockdowns.

Random questions

“It’s been so hard, but everything worked out and the wedding went ahead — I got a husband and a million-pound business.”

The idea for Shot In The Dark was born in December 2016 after Grant and Jordanna kept losing games of Trivial Pursuit to Grant’s dad Gary, 63. Grant says: “Dad told us we were sore losers and that some people would always win at quiz games because they had better general knowledge than others.

“I said to Jordanna that we should come up with a game where players get asked questions so crazy, nobody could possibly know the answers. It would be a game of guesswork so players of all ages had the same chance of winning. We spent the next year coming up with random questions.”

But getting the game off the ground put pressure on the couple — who met on Tinder six years ago — taking its toll in the run up to their wedding. Jordanna says: “We knew we were on to something but with Grant working up to 80 hours a week already and a wedding to organise, it caused arguments.”

The couple needed £1,000 to create a trial run of games and when Grant suggested borrowing from the wedding fund, Jordanna “blew her top”.

She says: “We had decided to get married in Greece because we thought it would be a cheaper option but it ended up costing a fortune. I told Grant a flat “no” to borrowing from the wedding money. The run up to the wedding should’ve been a happy time but there was so much pressure, we couldn’t enjoy it.”

Loans from grandparents helped cover the initial costs and as the wedding approached Grant was frantically trying to get the first batch of games shipped off to Amazon.

Jordanna says: “I still wanted to support the venture because I could see how much it meant to Grant. But I couldn’t believe he was packing up boxes the same morning we were due to fly off to get married. I was going crazy that he’d left it so late. He was still finishing off ten minutes before the taxi turned up to take us to the airport. There was a moment I thought we weren’t going to make it, and have to call the whole thing off.

More time together

“Grant could have left it until we got back or delayed the dummy launch until later, but I’m so glad he didn’t. Our wedding was amazing in the end. We had such a brilliant day and all our worries and upset were completely forgotten.”

After spending two weeks in Greece, the couple got straight back to work, whacking £15,000 on credit cards to make more games. Grant says: “The first run of games got us some great reviews on Amazon but we needed more money to make more games. We struggled to secure a business loan so we ended up using credit cards. It was a risk, especially as we were only selling five packs a day in the beginning.”

When lockdown hit, sales skyrocketed with 70,000 sold between March and December last year, making them around £850,000. Jordanna says: “It went mental and all of a sudden we were selling 200 units a day. People were snapping up games to play with friends and family over Zoom. We couldn’t believe it — our dream was coming true.”

The game was ranked the top Amazon board game at Christmas and the couple have been approached by people wanting to buy their business.

Grant says: “Our success has meant we have been able to invest in our company and we have launched two more editions. We have just hit the £1million mark.

“We’ve been able to pay off our credit cards and put down a chunky deposit for a house much bigger than we thought we would be buying.”

Despite their success, Grant and Jordanna still run the seven-figure business from their dining-room table.

Jordanna says: “Although we have big plans we are being sensible and playing it safe for now.

“We never forget how lucky we are to have made a success of the business through lockdown, but we hope the game brings fun to families and friends who can’t be together.

"As for our relationship, it has gone from strength to strength.

"We get to spend more time together and have our meetings at the dining table. The stress of the past few years has definitely paid off.”

  • Shot In The Dark is available at Waterstones and Amazon, £11.99.

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