Strictly Briks founder and CEO, Brian Semling was recently featured on the Late Night Parents podcast to talk about the inspiration behind creating his innovative toys and his mission to encourage off-screen, creative play for children. The interview dives deep into the importance of imagination and how Strictly Briks toys allow children to build in completely new ways. Here’s some highlights from Brian”s interview.
What is the history of Strictly Briks?
Strictly Briks began three and a half years ago. My children, who inspired the idea behind the company’s innovation, were four and seven years old at the time. They loved LEGOs®. We’ve been in the toy industry for 20 years, but we started Strictly Briks more recently and we noticed that while LEGO® and Mega Bloks were doing a great job of creating model-making kits and licensed products, they weren’t necessarily engaging my children in creative play the way I wanted. This is where the idea for Strictly Briks all started.
We wanted to encourage creative play so we set out to offer various colors of baseplates in different shapes and sizes that were stackable. I wanted these colorful stackable baseplates to be functional with other building bricks and toys kids already owned, and not just LEGOs, but action figures, dolls, toy cars, etc. We wanted to innovate and pioneer to help children build in a new way that really emphasized creative play. It’s reminiscent to building with bricks in the 80s when I grew up, when we didn’t have screens during playtime.
What’s the age range for Strictly Briks?
The age range for Strictly Briks toys is three to twelve. We have two kinds of building bricks: Big Briks, which are ideal for children ages three through six, and our classic-sized briks which are best for children ages six through twelve.
When our kids play with Strictly Briks they’re not playing on a screen. When we were kids we didn’t have screens during play time, but that’s something our children don’t get to experience. How do you feel about that?
We took our play time without screens for granted, and there’s nothing wrong with digital, but when digital completely takes over playtime you’re missing something. You’re missing the tactile experience of using your hands to build something. When building with Strictly Briks toys, children experience hands-on, tactile learning. They create, they build, they take their creation apart, and try again. That’s part of our mission. Strictly Briks toys allow your children to step back from all of the screens and engage their imagination in hands-on building in the physical world, the offline world.
Tell us about Strictly Briks family values
We are 100% a family-run business. My wife is the photographer and my children are the models for all of our products. My daughter is now 11, and my son eight, and they inspire our toy creation. They even invent toys themselves. They invented our Oppenheim award-winning game Brik Buster that was featured on the Today show. Family is extremely important to us. If we didn’t have our children, it’s possible that Strictly Briks wouldn’t exist - family is at the base of Strictly Briks’ foundation.
I understand Strictly Briks toys are educational, tell me who supports your brand.
Children and parents love Strictly Briks, but educators love them too. Creative play has entered its way into classrooms all across the country. Teachers’ eyes light up when they see their students play with Strictly Briks toys, and it’s because they engage their creativity and imagination in new ways. They love that our toys are fun, but they’re also educational. We’ve created a number of toys that are different from other building brick products out there. We’re trying to push the industry forward to allow kids to build in new ways and focus on the children as the creative drivers. Educators appreciate that.
Can I purchase Strictly Briks toys directly on your website?
Absolutely. You can buy any of our products on our website at Strictly Briks.
Strictly Briks are entering international markets. Which international markets can I buy Strictly Briks toys?
We are in various international Amazon markets like Canada, and Europe. Our products also just opened up on Amazon Japan this past month, and we are expecting to sell on Amazon Australia by the fourth quarter. Our products are also coming online through a distributor in India and we are working on Central America. Our goal is to become available in more and more countries around the world.
Where can I find Strictly Briks on social media?
If you’d like to hear more from Brian and listen to the full podcast episode, click here.