MR Brick Designer sells a wide array of items, ranging in price from a few bucks to $200.
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In their La Vista apartment, Ryan and Meghan Nelson live with about 250,000 Legos.
In the guest room, living room and kitchen, you'll find Lego houses, Lego cars, Lego robots, Lego lamps, Lego robot lamps, Lego drink coasters, Lego city blocks, Lego earrings, Lego clocks and Lego business card holders. And then there are the dozens of containers of tens of thousands of raw Legos soon to be part of something bigger.
The Nelsons, both 31, are AFOLs (Adult Fans of LEGO). Their entire relationship, in fact, is sort of built around Lego.
Shortly after meeting at a mutual friend's luau party, they realized they both had a childhood love of Legos. And so they rediscovered that love as adults while also, you know, falling in love with each other. Legos became a regular date night activity. Instead of buying her flowers, he bought her Lego sets. For their honeymoon, they went to Legoland.
And then one Christmas Meghan surprised Ryan with a working lamp she made out of Legos. The first thing he said was, “This is awesome.” The second thing he said was, “We should sell these.”
That was when their passion became a business. They now dedicate every waking, non-day-job hour to MR Brick Designer (by day, he's an account manager at PayPal; she's a microbiologist).
MR Brick Designer is a two-tier business.
Meghan's the creative side, making the many aforementioned Lego items to sell on their Etsy shop and also taking the occasional custom job.
Now you might see one of her creations on the movie screen. Last summer, Ryan and Meghan Nelson got an email from Warner Bros., saying they'd like to use one of their Lego clock designs in the “LEGO Movie,” which opens Friday. The Nelsons, after finding out this wasn't a prank, excitedly agreed and signed the paperwork. They don't know at what point in the movie their clock might show up. “It could just be a flash and it's gone,” Ryan said. “I'd be happy with anything.”
Ryan's the business side, running their business site and their page on BrickLink, an unofficial Lego marketplace. For BrickLink, the Nelsons will buy Legos in bulk and break them up by color and size to sell in smaller sets. Between both sides of the business, they get between 15 to 20 orders a week.
And to do it all, they need a whole lotta Legos. So the Nelsons pay close attention to Lego sales. At a Walmart Black Friday sale, they went home with nearly 20,000 Legos.
They can just about keep up with their insatiable need for Lego pieces. But the Nelsons are increasingly running short on an even more precious commodity: time.
“It's a labor of love,” Ryan said, “but it does consume all our time.
“We're getting to that point where we're going to have make the decision about how we can continue to grow.”
And not just grow their business but grow the actual size of their products.
Their next feat? People-sized Lego furniture.