Like many of his fellow sixth-graders at Swallow Elementary in the town of Merton, Greyson MacLean has always liked messing around with Legos. He just wasn’t a fan of the stickers that came with them. They were semi-permanent, he says, and left a sticky residue on the plastic blocks.
The inspiration for solving the problem came with a new pair of sunglasses. Peeling a cling decal off a lens, Greyson stuck it on one of his Legos. The decal held, and when he pulled it off, no gluey globs remained.
Greyson’s imagination kicked into high gear. What if, he dreamed, he could make a whole series of reusable cling decals — like a Metro series with a friendly dog, a café sign and a hipster T-shirt? What if he threw a bunch of “splats” and fiery flames into the mix, because, that would be awesome.
His parents, Amy and Matt, thought it was a pretty good idea. So did his sisters, Lily and Annie, as did his aunt and uncle, Nate and Christa Vrabel. So they all pooled their talents and launched BrickStix, now one of the hottest toys in the country.
That’s no exaggeration. Greyson is the brains behind the opera- tion, and to prove it, he was recently named “Young Inventor of the Year” at the Toy and Game Inventor of the Year (TAGIE) Awards in Chicago.
“I seriously did not expect to win,” he says. “It’s like the Oscar for toy inventors.”
He also landed an interview on “Conan,” which he really doesn’t recall, because of the butterflies fluttering in his stomach at the time. He does remember meeting Conan O’Brien, Andy Richter and LL Cool J. “All really nice men. All really funny.”
Greyson, 12, doesn’t know if inventing toys is going to be his life’s work, “but for now, it’s just really fun being part of the toy industry.
“I think this will get me pretty far in life financially,” he adds, “but I’m pretty happy about where it’s taking me mentally. It’s taught me that if you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t expect anyone else to believe in you. And a lot of hard work gets really great results.”
BrickStix are sold at a number of stores locally or online. Visit the BrickStix website at http://www.brickstix.com for more information.