Young entrepreneurs bedroom LEGO business goes global with Roland DG
United Bricks | UK
Realising that LEGO didn’t produce a military themed product range, 15-year-old Callum Winspear took matters into his own hands. The teenager identified a demand from like-minded LEGO enthusiasts for similar niche figures and, what started out as a hobby, began in 2013 to facilitate the production of customised products for himself and others from his family home in Scotland. It was here that his company, United Bricks, was born.
Benefiting from LEGO’s famous customer-driven R&D department – where customers can discuss ideas with fellow fans and submit designs to the toy manufacturer via a peer-to-peer forum – Callum was able to engage directly with prospective customers and swiftly build up a loyal client base. He soon realised he had a viable business opportunity and United Bricks had to revaluate its production process.
“We were outsourcing production to a company that would pad print a 2D image onto a 3D object,” explains Callum, the company founder and CEO. “This could take over a week because the ink has to dry before another colour can be added. This process not only affected turnaround times and our ability to meet customer demand, but had a limited colour range. Five colours is not enough to meet the detail expected by our customers who are used to the high standards of the iconic LEGO brand.”
United Bricks decided to bring production in-house. “As it was my first investment in printing technology, I needed more than just speed and high quality,” continues Callum. “The device had to be easy use, with a small footprint for my bedroom and flexible enough to handle different sized pieces, from figure heads to replica weapons.”
Following extensive market research, Roland DG and its VersaUV LEF-12 desktop printer stood out. The four-colour CMYK compact UV inkjet printer – which also offers white and clear ink capabilities – produces high quality text, photos, logos, images and other designs on two- and three-dimensional objects up to 100mm in height.
“In October 2014, my family and I visited the Roland stand at NewTech Wetherby trade show to see the machine,” recalls Callum. “The team listened closely to what we were after and then took us through a detailed demonstration of what the LEF-12 would offer our business. The integrated long-life LED lamp stood out as it dries the ink immediately – no more time wasting literally watching paint dry. We placed our order on the spot!”
Following installation and support from Revolution Digital in December 2014, Callum was instantly ready to tackle his back catalogue of orders.
“The accompanying training was great. The engineer carefully explained how both the hardware and software work – including how to submit my designs, pre-set popular jobs and how to make jigs for new parts. We were up and running in no time and the impact was immediate. United Bricks has become an international business in just six months with an impressive global reseller network that includes the USA, Asia and Europe.”
United Bricks has now extended its LEGO product line to include a host of new niche themes including weddings and other customer requests, and is aiming to invest in an external production site to accommodate its current business, as well as a fledgling sister company that will focus on other personalised items. A rapid rise for a small bedroom start-up from Dumfries & Galloway.
For more information on United Bricks - CLICK HERE