The story of our LEGO® passion

The Kiddiwinks LEGO® brand might have been solidified in 2002, but the truth is our LEGO®  passion began long before that.

During her childhood in the 1970s, founder Bryony Poulter played with her treasured LEGO® sets, a piano, a milk truck, forklift and a family of people who had round faces and little knobble hands.

“Some of my earliest memories involve creating fantasy worlds with our treasured LEGO® sets.” – Bryony Poulter, Kiddiwinks founder

When her first child was five years old he had fallen in love with trains. After trying model railway sets unsuccessfully, Bryony heard of the LEGO® System 4561 Railway Express which she set out to track down.

After trying every store in Cape Town without luck, she went straight to the suppliers, LEGO® South Africa. While they couldn’t supply direct to the public, they suggested she contact a certain shop. However, they too were unable to assist her. Unwilling to accept this as the final word, Bryony created a proposal which she presented to LEGO® South Africa – to trade as a mail order business supplying LEGO® products to the public.

At that time, Kiddiwinks was a kids’ clothing business, creating original designs sold mostly in craft markets over the weekend. But that would soon all change. After a lot of persuading, LEGO® South Africa finally gave in and it was time for Bryony to spring into action.

“Our first order was, indeed, our train with all its accessories.”

“There was a minimum order quantity at that time and we took orders from people until we had half that amount, and then agonised over how to make up the necessary figure to place the order.

“We started the business because we couldn’t purchase a LEGO® set that we wanted. But, over time, we realised that there was a gap in supply. Many people in the Southern Suburbs struggled to find the LEGO® products they wanted.

“This was the driving force for so long – to source and supply sets that people were looking for.

“As more and more businesses started stocking bigger ranges of sets, it became more important to grow a family of customers based on a mutual passion for a product.”

A few of the Kiddiwinks family’s favourite sets over the years

The launch of an online store came next in 2004 – the first time LEGO®  products were offered online in South Africa. The next year, online orders became possible to collect from the very first LEGO®-only shop, operated solely out of the Poulters’ garage, which served as storage and showroom all at once.  

The Kiddiwinks brand soon became the go-to for great LEGO® sets, offering more than just product, but experiences too. In 2006, they launched the LEGO® Education products, allowing home schools and individuals to get the products into their homes. No one else in Cape Town sold the education products then and this is still the case today.

It was around this time that Kiddiwinks got involved in the coaching and mentoring of the FIRST LEGO® League teams, opening the doors to the robotics offerings. In 2006 alone, Kiddiwinks entered four teams with three qualifying for nationals.

Kiddiwinks had expanded so well, that in 2007, they started supplying LEGO® products wholesale to small businesses.

The Kiddiwinks mail order-turned-online LEGO® supply business lasted for almost a decade before Bryony decided to take the plunge into retail in 2011 with the opening of their Palmyra Junction shop. This was in part driven by a dip in online sales that Kiddiwinks had seen – presumed to be due to the increasing competition in the online space. 

“With my mother predicting the doom and gloom of financial failure, I signed a lease for a shop in a very surreal moment.

I still sometimes feel like I am playing shop-shop.”

The passion for LEGO® products has continued through 18 years of Kiddiwinks. Not only has the entire family become involved with Kiddiwinks – from grandparents to grandchildren – but they are all as enthusiastic about this magic brick as they were on day one.

The key, says Bryony, is to never lose sight of the magic.

“LEGO® bricks hold a world of opportunity for everyone, regardless of age, gender, race, ability.

“Find the moments to create a dinosaur that looks more like a horse or build a castle for a king. Don’t be limited by the ‘I can’ts’ that the world teaches us.”

Find out more about where Kiddiwinks started at  our About Us page or simply shop for your favourite LEGO® sets over at shop.kiddiwinks.co.za.

The day The LEGO® Group turned its focus to girls

LEGO® play has always been a joyful and imaginative building experience for both girls and boys. But while many sets that boys could identify with were developed over the decades, it took The LEGO® Group several attempts to come up with a girls range that worked. 

In fact, 90% of the LEGO® customer base before 2011 was made up of boys, according to reports by the company. It’s no surprise then that The LEGO® Group chief executive officer Jørgen Vig Knudstorp announced their intention to “reach the other 50 percent of the world’s children” that year.


An animated TV series of LEGO® Friends premiered in 2014. While another series Another series titled ‘LEGO® Friends: The Power of Friendship’ aired on Netflix in 2016.

The company knew there was plenty of demand for a girls range. However, previous girls ranges weren’t successful as they focused too much on the play factor, and not enough on the LEGO® brick and its element of construction, which is what appealed as much to girls as it did to boys.

After careful market research, the toy company at last introduced a girls range that worked in 2011: LEGO® Friends. The range focused on giving girls between the ages of 5 and 8 an immersive LEGO® experience that focused on “realistic role-play, creativity, and a highly-detailed, character-based world with the core values of LEGO® building.”

“What LEGO® Friends does differently is deliver the beauty, details, accessories, real world themes and need for strong interior play that the research revealed would make all the difference for girls ages 5 and up.” – Nanna Ulrich Gudum

The range was groundbreaking in yet another sense: it introduced the curvy doll-like minifigure that LEGO® research suggested girls could identify with, focusing on five characters in particular: Andrea, Emma, Mia, Olivia and Stephanie.

These friends would adventure in their hometown of Heartlake City. Each character has her own interests and strengths such as animals, performing arts, invention and design.

LEGO Friends characters Stephanie, Mia, Andrea, Emma and Olivia
The main characters in the LEGO Friends range from top left: Emma, Stephanie, Andrea, Mia and Olivia.

LEGO® Friends came under some criticism for its seemingly limited role-play for girls to which the company responded by introducing a new range of sets for the characters offering a more diverse range of activities, including a veterinarian centre, an adventure camper and a tree house to name a few.

Even with this criticism, the overall response to LEGO® Friends exceeded the company’s expectations in its first year.

“[I]t has been amazing to experience the enthusiastic welcome, which consumers have given the new range, as well as know that we through LEGO® Friends have managed to introduce LEGO® play to millions of girls who had never received a LEGO® product before,” said LEGO® Chief Marketing Officer, Mads Nipper.

Find the amazing LEGO® Friends range at Kiddiwinks online shop or at our four stores!

What do you think about the LEGO® Friends range? Tell us in the comments below.