This week on The Collectors Show (www.webtalkradio.net) we meet Will Reed of The Brick Blogger.
Collecting Lego with Will Reed of Brick Blogger
I’ve never seen a group of people more engaged or passionate about their collections than people who collect Lego. They are in a league by themselves. The hobby transcends age groups and other demographics. So this week on The Collectors Show we welcome Will Reed from Brick Blogger
Will says he is never too busy to talk about Lego! Brick Blogger has volumes of material on Lego though Will says his is one of the smaller sites. There are entire web sites with much more material posted than Brick Blogger. Brick Blogger is a great entry into the hobby for the beginner.
Where To Start With Lego?
So to get started with Lego, first decide what are you interested in? What captivates your interest? There are plenty of opportunities with Lego and if not you can invent one. He and his wife started with Castles because they liked the medieval genre. They went on to Ninjas and super heroes. But the advice remains that starting with what you like is the way to go, because once you start the hobby will take on a life of its own.
It was also interesting that his wife participates with him in the Lego hobby as I would not have thought there were many women interested. Boy was I wrong. The only other things that come close to this level of hobby and collecting involvement is remote control vehicles, science fairs and board games, which Will and Mrs. Reed also collect and design. Will, is a freelance writer often gets paid in Lego sets that he gets to play with and write about. What a cool job!
But what is so appealing about Lego? Is it building? Maybe. Lots of people gravitate to the end product. Fans can submit ideas for others to vote on for Lego sets the company will make and sell. According to Will these always sell out. The latest Ghostbusters Lego set is an example of an idea that was submitted by a collector, voted on by fans and accepted by the company. The winner gets 1% of the take from the company which is probably a lot. I’m thinking of a way to enter the competition. Will also says you have to market your ideas to other Lego enthusiasts as a way to get them to buy in. Creativity, ideation and marketing all from a single, collectible hobby!
Lego works very hard to engage with fans. For example, Local Lego User Groups (LUGS) are invited by Lego to go online and talk directly with the company. The Ideas are but one way.
The Red Darth Vader
Plumbers are the best source of lost Lego parts. But that seems a little random. Finding a specific part for Lego is not. Brick Blogger can help, but Brick Link (http://www.bricklink.com) is a better site for finding stray Lego stuff. Will characterized the site as the eBay of Lego. “It’s a world market,” he said. “Parts, instructions, boxes are all available from Brick Link.”
There are other businesses that make Lego parts that the company will not. For example, Lego will not make anything that is not what they deem “family friendly”. So these companies make military uniforms, weapons, etc. that the Lego company itself will not make. There is a whole industry that has grown up around Lego. So there is no real need for fakes, someone will make it for you.
Movie Tie-Ins and Cross Marketing
There were very few cross market tie ins for Lego until the mid-1990’s. The company was not doing well and decided to try a Star Wars tie-in. Since the Star Wars movies were reissued in the ‘90’s it was good timing. Will says that most recent Lego devotees started because of the Star Wars sets. Lego is also making sets based on the cartoon shows and are very excited about the next movies that will be coming from Disney.
Certified master builders are artists who have an agreement with Lego to make museum type displays from Lego. Some have toured the world as parts of art museum displays. Some “civilians” have made battleships, skyscrapers, and the tower from Lord of The Rings that was 8 feet tall. These take tens of thousands of pieces and hundreds of hours to build. Some of these people use their vacation to do this work. A Seattle woman is on record for making the worlds largest Harry Potter structure at 10 feet tall. Wow!
There are lots of couples who pursue the Lego hobby together. But the hobby can also strain relationships when one half of the couple is way into the hobby and the other not. Will says that those couples drift apart naturally. He was not aware of any divorces that occurred because of Lego, but I am betting there are!
Brick Blogger encourages fans of all ages to come to the site and write about their creations. They have engineers that write about just the basic brick. One factory worker writes about clutch power, stamping process, colors that were tried, etc. and he is only one of the contributors to the site. “We want people to start a conversation about what they like about Lego,” Will said. Brick Blogger manages the flow of information about Lego as well.
They only post one news story per day, so the audience can keep up with the news. “Some sites post dozens of stories a day, but we think that is too much for anyone to keep up with,” he said. They target teens for their site, who are ignored by so many others.
The founder was encouraged by her husband to start a blog about Lego so he did not have to hear about it all the time(not a fan). She took a course on blogging and the rest is history. By targeting teens and younger adults they have a nice blog site that is a great entry point for collectors and for a demographic ignored by so many others. Brick Blogger is an affiliate of Lego and gets a percentage of sales from the company. Brick Blogger also shares information with Lego about traffic and interest in the site from users that the company pays for. Sweet! “The best way to connect with collectors and users is by starting and participating in the conversation with Lego collectors, Will concluded.”