Inspired by her LEGO fanatic son, a Hampshire mother has launched WeLoveBricks, the UK’s first online LEGO rental business.
Most adults will remember their childhood LEGO being a bucket of bricks designed for “free play” – to fire your imagination and create whatever you like. But in recent years LEGO has become a series of themed sets, with models to be built by following a set of instructions. As a result, for many of today’s young brick fanatics LEGO has become all about “the thrill of the build” – they love to build it and parents love to watch them concentrating eagerly and building independently. But after the build, the models are often forgotten, moved to the back of a cupboard or they disintegrate into the LEGO box, and the child asks for a new set to build.
After spending a small fortune on LEGO sets to satisfy her son’s craving for new models to build, business founder Lucilla Carr set out to find a way of offering young LEGO fans “the thrill of the build” without breaking the bank. Lucilla realised; Why not rent it instead of buying it and at the same time help children to embrace the concept of sharing? And so WeLoveBricks was born.
The business allows members to rent and play with as much LEGO as they like for a monthly subscription of £7.99, that’s less than £2 a week. Members create their own Wishlist by choosing sets from the WeLoveBricks online catalogue. When they’ve finished playing with a set, they just send it on to another member. It’s like Love Film for LEGO, but with a difference. This sharing-business will create a virtual community of WeLoveBricks members. Instead of returning a LEGO set to the centre after playing with it, members send it to another member of the WeLoveBricks community. There are many benefits for the member, including:
- members can play with as many sets as they like every month – “Unlimited LEGO”
- there’s no time restriction, so they can play with a set for as long as they want
- cost of postage for the whole WeLoveBricks community is halved, relative to the traditional rental business model
- monthly subscription cost is kept as low as possible
- members will have a different set to play with nearly all of the time – their new set will arrive as soon as they’ve posted the set they’ve finished with
- there are more sets in circulation than there are members, so players will occasionally have two sets to build
- reduced environmental impact by halving the number of times a set is packaged and posted
- space-saving: no need to store LEGO sets – just send them on when they’ve finished playing.
The catalogue currently features over 60 LEGO sets with an average retail price of £25. For example, if a child plays with four sets per month, that’s £100 worth of LEGO building pleasure for just £7.99 and no problem if a player loses a few bricks, WeLoveBricks will replace them for free. During the Christmas period the Club is also offering gift subscriptions to suit a range of budgets. Members can sign up for 3 months for £24, or 6 months for £45, or even £85 for a year.
While conceiving the business, Lucilla searched the internet for other businesses in the rapidly-growing, sharing economy. “As far as we know, WeLoveBricks is the only LEGO rental club in the UK. In addition we believe it is the only rental service in the world to use this new business model of transferring the product directly from customer to customer.”
“LEGO is now the world’s most popular toy and has been enjoying a huge revival in 2014, fuelled by the success of the LEGO Movie, so this is the perfect time to launch WeLoveBricks”, said Lucilla Carr. “Parents are eager to teach children the importance of sharing and looking after their toys, and just as keen to save money by renting rather than buying. So we are keeping the subscription price affordable and in line with their children’s pocket money budget!”
Based near Salisbury and operated online, this new business venture has big ambitions for the future and plans to donate 5% of profits to children’s charities twice a year, asking its members to vote for their preferred charity on their website www.welovebricks.com