MEET THE BRAND: LUXE DOMINOES
Our collections are filled with beautiful products from niche brands, each with their own unique story. This week, we're introducing you to Jonathan Cohen, the creator behind our favorite modern games: Luxe Dominoes. Jonathan and his team are elevating the art of play with their fresh spin on classic games like ping pong, mahjong, mancala and more.
Below, Jonathan shares the story behind Luxe Dominoes, how he comes up with new games to recreate, and his very favorite Luxe Dominoes game.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE YOU LAUNCHED LUXE DOMINOES?
I first launched Luxe Dominoes as a side hustle. Before starting Luxe Dominoes, I worked in digital marketing at an ad agency, having worked on accounts such as American Airlines, Motorola, Caterpillar, Dish Latino, Toyota and Home Depot.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE THIS MODERN TAKE ON CLASSIC GAMES?
What inspired me was family. I come from a family that loves to play games, dominoes being the one we most played. At home we had a beautiful chess set and a beautiful backgammon set, but we didn’t have a domino set nice enough to leave out on a coffee table. I also felt a deep connection to the domino tiles themselves: they are iconic, classic in their simplicity and design. I wanted to let them shine, not hide them inside a box that just looked like a box. Acrylic was the perfect vehicle to create a modern looking box that showed them off.
BEYOND DOMINOES (THE GAME THAT STARTED IT ALL), HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHICH GAMES YOU WANT TO RECREATE?
Deciding which games we make is informed by looking at the ones we are most passionate about, ones that have been suggested by friends or family or clients, and ones that are trending, like our Luxe El Wordle (a board version of the popular online game Wordle).
WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY LIKE FOR YOU?
First I walk Rex, our golden retriever (@goldenrex on Instagram), then take the kids to school. Next I go for a swim, check emails, put in incoming orders, and take meetings before breaking for lunch with my dad. After lunch, I stop by our workshop to check on production (handmade in the USA!), attend product development meetings, work on billing and administrative duties, and wait for the UPS guy. After work, I pick up the kids at sports to head home for dinner and, on Tuesdays, domino night! We end the day with another walk with Rex, then I watch some Netflix and usually pass out after five minutes of TV.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR VERY FAVORITE LUXE DOMINOES GAME OR DESIGN?
It would have to be the El Catire domino set with racks, for two reasons. One, this set was named after my grandfather who taught me how to play dominoes - it was his nickname. Two, we try to incorporate something unique and new to each design, so coming up with a box that so neatly included the set of four racks and the tiles together was enlightening. We used this technique to later develop the El Rumi set that also comes with the racks inside the box (El Rumi also happens to be my second favorite of our games).
ARE THERE ANY NEW GAMES YOU'LL BE PRODUCING YOU CAN TELL US ABOUT?
There are still many classic games we would love to add to our line. The Ping Pong set we recently launched was an unexpected hit. Our advantage has always been our ability to make and test our game design locally, so development time is faster than most other companies that produce outside of the United States. Unfortunately, we can't share new games in development so as to keep that competitive advantage!
WHAT ITEM FROM TRULY GIFTED WOULD YOU LIKE TO GIVE AS A GIFT? WHAT ITEM WOULD YOU LIKE TO RECEIVE AS A GIFT?
I would always choose one of our games to give. Picking one to receive is tough, but I always appreciate anything with simple, timeless design.
HOW DO YOU LIKE TO SPEND YOUR TIME OUTSIDE OF WORK?
Mostly traveling, eating, spending time by the lake and, of course, playing dominoes.
WHAT IS SOMETHING PEOPLE WOULD NEVER GUESS ABOUT YOU?
I'm a chemical engineer.