Making a Cool Thing Cooler: Greyson MacLean of BrickStix

Greyson MacCleanDo you like LEGOs? Who doesn’t?! But one enterprising Kidpreneur knew that as cool and fun as LEGOs are, there was room for improvement. That kid is Greyson MacLean, and his idea for BrickStix is the best thing to happen to LEGOs since… well probably ever!

We had a chance to catch up with Greyson recently, and he agreed to answer some questions for us. His answers give some great insights into what it really means to be a Kidpreneur, and what it takes to be successful

Kidpreneurs: You came up with the idea for BrickStix at the age of 9. Did you think of the idea with the hopes of making a business out of it or just for fun? How did the business grow to where it is today?

Greyson: I actually came up with the idea just for fun. I just wanted something that could be put on my LEGO bricks to add detail without ruining them. I never expected it to grow into a company. BrickStix were something I wanted to play with. We figured out how to make it happen. It started off as a bit of a joke. But after a while, we realized we could figure it out. It took a year and a half from my idea to the first three sets. But, we did it! It was a huge team effort. I did not do it alone.

BrickStix

Kidpreneurs: What has been the biggest business challenge you’ve had to face, and how did you overcome it?

Greyson: I have to say that our biggest challenge was figuring out how to get BrickStix in the hands of kids. We had to make lots of phone calls and meet with lots of people to figure out how to make it. Then we needed to design all of the sets. Then we took it to Toy Fair. None of us knew exactly what we were doing. Mom always says, “We make it up as we go.” Luckily, we have a good family friend in the toy business who has helped us along the way. We just keep going. We don’t give up.

Kidpreneurs: Are your parents entrepreneurs? What have they taught you about running a business?

Greyson: My mom, not long before the idea for BrickStix came about, came up with Loopteeloo with my sister. They are a decorative accessory to hold girl’s tees in place. What I learned from watching and listening was all the parts that go into getting a product made. It’s more than the idea. There are legal things, testing, patents, vendors and so on, that need to be figured out. My dad has started a business, too. I have watched them work hard. I knew it would be a lot of work.

Kidpreneurs: What’s it like to have the attention you’ve gotten for inventing and successfully marketing BrickStix? Is there any pressure, or is it mostly a lot of fun?

Greyson: The attention feels kind of strange at times. I don’t feel any different than any other 6th grader. Luckily, my friends treat me the same. I have had some really incredible opportunities, and I really do appreciate them. I could not have done any of it alone. The whole team works really hard. Though there is pressure at times, most of the time it is pure fun. Sometimes I worry about deadlines and interviews, but everything always turns out fine. My favorite part is researching new themes and helping design the stix with my uncle.

Kidpreneurs: What advice do you have for Kidpreneurs interested in starting their first business?

Greyson: It pays to be patient. It took over a year to get BrickStix manufactured and into stores, so don’t expect instant results. Most important, if you don’t believe in yourself, don’t expect others to believe in you.

Kidpreneurs: What are your plans for the future? (What do you want to be when you grow up?) :)

Greyson: I’d like to be in a creative job that also uses my skills in math, science and art.  I’m thinking I would like to be an architect, or another sort of engineer.

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