LEGO® play is by no means reserved for boys.
This couldn’t be better demonstrated than in the fact that Kiddiwinks’ own founder is Bryony Poulter, who herself grew up building LEGO® sets. This Women’s Month, we get talking to her about her insight into the wonderful world of LEGO® bricks.
Why do you love LEGO® sets so much?
Some of my earliest memories involve creating fantasy worlds with our treasured LEGO® sets that were then carefully packed back into their boxes. I had a piano, a milk truck, forklift and a family of people who had round faces and little knobble hands. Play was simple but all absorbing for hours and hours.
What does a LEGO® brick mean to you?
Playing with LEGO® bricks together with someone else is such an easy way for all barriers to come down. Every skill level has a place to fit in. There is no limit to the scope of imagination.
What fuels your passion for LEGO® products?
There is a bond formed between people when they sit and build together. You can make a world where you can mirror reality or create an entirely new existence. LEGO® life is simple and yet infinitely complex. Your imagination is given free rein.
2018 will be Kiddiwinks’ 18th year. What would you say has been your biggest motivator during these past 18 years?
We started the business because we couldn’t purchase a LEGO® set that we 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. This is the most important thing I ask for in my staff members – to display the passion for the product that more people can enter this amazing LEGO® world, and in doing so can experience the same magic that we experience every time we build.
What was it like to open your very first Kiddiwinks store?
With my mother predicting the doom and gloom of financial failure, I signed a lease for a shop in a very surreal moment. It was terrifying knowing that I had committed to paying tens of thousands of Rands every month and I was entirely dependent on people buying products. I still sometimes feel like I am playing shop-shop.
LEGO® sets haven’t always been so gender-inclusive.
Our website used to have a category called Girls. One day I received an email from a young girl who complained that this limited her LEGO® options as she felt compelled to choose sets from this category as this is what was expected of her. She said she far preferred the sets that her brother was allowed to choose such as cars and boats where there was actual construction, instead of the fantasy play of the pop stage or kitchen counter and food sets that were labelled for her. We removed the category in response to this and, in addition, sent a message to The LEGO Group asking for more construction sets with girls in mind.
If you had to choose one, what would be your favourite LEGO® set of all time?
I think I have always been more drawn by the little details in sets as opposed to the vastness of an impressive construction. The simplicity of a LEGO® duck put together with 4 basic pieces is awesome. If I have to choose, I think the set that held the most magic for me was the Medieval Market Village 10193.
Tell us one wonderful memory you have of LEGO® bricks and your family.
We went overseas in 2007 and spent a glorious week in LEGOLAND Windsor. We camped in a borrowed tent and were first in the park every day, living LEGO® bliss in all its glory. I was pregnant with my youngest and he constantly reminds us that his turn is still to come….
Kiddiwinks has been instrumental in sharing its passion for LEGO® products through LEGO® parties, LEGO® exhibitions, robotics training and competing in the FIRST LEGO League challenge. Tell us a bit about how this empowers LEGO® fans.
So often assumptions are made about LEGO® sets. There is the assumption that everyone has knowledge of the product, and yet, at probably every third party we run there is a kid who has never played with a LEGO® set before. It is presumed that LEGO® bricks are for children, and yet the scope of how the LEGO® robotics components and skills can be used in university labs is mind-blowing. Every exhibition or display reminds us of how LEGO® creations open a world for people which is unlimited in its magic.
What’s your LEGO® wisdom?
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.