Last week I met up with Darren and Claire from Brick and Mix, the new Lego shop to open in Exeter. I chatted with them, and their two lovely daughters, about Darren’s long history of Lego enthusiasm, how they see the shop developing and the role they see it playing in the local community.
A passion for Lego
Darren explained that he had been a huge Lego fan as a child but as he grew older, he moved on to other interests. Post uni, he was clearing his childhood bedroom out and sorting things out to sell. Rebuilding some of his old Lego sets to take photos, Darren was “rehooked”.
Lego was still seen as a toy for kids but the launch of the Star Wars sets changed the world of Lego forever. As more and more adults became addicted to the growing hobby of Lego collecting, Darren began attending Lego creator shows and buying and selling Lego via car boot sales.
Darren also began making huge models for his own enjoyment which led to commercial builds for companies. He explained to me that one of his favourite models was this 4-foot-long Routemaster bus. It took him over a month to build with 10,000 pieces of Lego and weighs 20kgs!
Being made redundant just after Claire became pregnant with their first daughter, Leia, was the impetus Darren needed to take his passion for Lego and turn it into a full-time job. Such was his success, that within 3 months, Darren had replaced his previous salary by selling Lego parts.
New Lego shop to open in Exeter
Darren wanted to expand the business to fit around his growing family (Maisie has joined the family now) and Brick and Mix was born. Darren explained that he wanted to be able to share his love of Lego with a new generation and bring an interactive Lego shop to the wider community.
Both Darren and Claire are passionate about St Thomas. They are both Exeter born and moved to St Thomas in 1999. So, it’s no surprise that they chose to open their new shop on Cowick Street in St Thomas.
As well selling hard to find parts, they’ll be offering vintage and retired sets, ideas books, storage boxes, lunch boxes and other Lego merch.
But Brick and Mix won’t be just another Lego shop with lots of boxes and a few models on display.
Brick and Mix Lego shop in Exeter
A huge part of the shop floor will be dedicated to the build your own area. Vast tubs of Lego will be on offer for you to make your own mini-figure or model right there in the shop. If you love your creation, you’ll be able to buy it to take home with you.
They’ll also be offering some fabulous services to the local community, such as build competitions (for children and adults), after-school clubs, parties and Duplo toddler groups. Both adults and children will be catered for – Darren and Claire see their new venture as being integral to the community they love.
While we’d been talking, both girls had been helping out with gusto – taking it in turns to sweep the floor and organizing the crates to hold the Lego pieces. Leia took a break from her sweeping to describe the fabulous Lego creation she is planning for the first lightbox display on the shop counter. It’s this level of family involvement and enthusiasm that is sure to make Brick and Mix a sure-fire hit in Exeter. I can’t wait for it to open.
Brick and Mix Lego shop in Exeter will open in November 2017. See their Facebook page where details of the opening will be posted.
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