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Bart started Vertellis in 2020. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Vertellis?
I’ve had a smooth upbringing. Parents are still together (married for over 45 years), gave lots of love to me and my older brother, and paid for my education. But…
I had different ideas than my family about life, education, and the path I wanted to take. I never really felt understood or taken seriously as the youngest member of the family.
This caused a lot of struggle when I was younger which resulted in arguments, disappointments, and more. This, in turn, not only caused a lot of stress for me but also my parents and brother.
I wanted to explain to them why I did what I did...why I wanted to take a different path than my brother and others around me. But they never really understood. They told me I was a rebel.
When I was a bit older, I got to the point where I felt this connection with my family was never going to change and I would just have to live with it.
At that time, I started working on my personal development and was learning a lot about myself, psychology, and human nature. Through this, I began to notice the situation with my family wasn't about me and that there wasn’t anything “wrong” with me.
My family didn’t understand me and we never had meaningful conversations about life together. But...I also didn't take the initiative to talk to them or ask them meaningful questions. Consequently, I was failing to include them in my life, too!
Once I realized this, I had an idea that, later on, changed everything for me and the people around me.
Back in December 2015, Liz and I were a couple and we were trying to come up with a fun and meaningful way to connect with our families during the Holiday season.
We were due to start traveling around the world and again - my parents didn’t understand why I sold all my belongings and wanted to travel to Bali...
That Christmas was the last one we were going to spend together before leaving for our new adventure. So as a final chance for me to connect with them,
I created this handwritten question card game in the hopes we would have a meaningful conversation about my plans in life.
To my surprise, something really special happened that evening:
There was so much understanding, love, and even a few tears during this memorable Christmas. We’ve never felt so close to each other.
This not only transformed my overall relationship with my family but also enhanced their relationship with themselves. My mission for having meaningful conversations & spending time offline had begun and That’s how the first Vertellis game - the Holiday Edition - was born.
We came up with a few questions that were designed to get to know our families better, reflecting and talking about the past year and the plans that each of us had for the new year. We wanted to encourage everyone to dream, plan, and make things happen in their life.
We’ve shared our story through Facebook ads and experimented intending to get 500 pre-orders to start production. But the 500 became 25,000 and the next thing you know we had a business!
This “homemade” game of handwritten cards was a success and it sparked some memorable conversations and beautiful moments with our families, something that we’ve all longed for and were touched by. That Christmas we shared food but we also shared stories and dreams and we connected deeper than we have ever done before. There were hugs and tears and laughter and we all felt that much closer together.
And then we started our trip around the world and we met Lars in Bali through a friend of ours. Lars was ‘into personal growth’ and ‘we definitely should meet!’ our friend told us. He persisted so much that he even made a Whatsapp group so we would get in touch and find a date.
Lars was there working on his dream at the time: CoWorkParadise. Bringing together a group of like-minded entrepreneurs in Bali! Although this sounds like a dream job, it was hard work, and later on, Lars decided to go full force with Vertellis.
As we started spending time together, traveling for a bit, pursuing our business ideas, and getting to know one another, our little handmade game came up during one of our long chats about family and experiences and plans for the future.
“You should do something with that game of yours”, said Lars. “It’s a great idea and I could help you with a website… we can brainstorm ideas and see where it takes us”. And so we did and that’s how it all started. Lars had experience in Facebook Marketing for his (then) current business CoWorkParadise, I had experience in Door 2 Door sales so I knew a little bit how to get a good message across and Liz loved writing. This combination turned out to be deadly for Facebook. Robert Cialdini and his 6 principles of persuasion thought me a lot when doing sales, and now it turned out to be valuable in the storytelling of Facebook too!
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder @ Starter Story
- Wiki Updater