Lego has always been my go to building material when constructing the latest fantasy scene that my kid brain has concocted. From turrets, villages, to the mighty dragon raiding — there was always a Lego for the job. With an opportunity to interview the duo behind the modular fantasy building kit I Built It — Sunil and Zoeya, I came to understand the process behind this highly successful Kickstarter project.
Sara: How did each area of your respective expertise lend to the conceptualisation and production of I Built It, and what were your sources of inspiration?
Sunil & Zoeya: Both of us were interested in architecture as a whole. We decided to go with European buildings as they were the most popular, and the methods of their construction were already available. We also had a depth of knowledge regarding them, so it was a good starting point. Despite our different fields, we both had knowledge of the other’s, so it jived really well.
Both Japanese and South-East Asian architecture were both of our interest as well, but it would take much longer to understand their building foundations due to the number of layers in their methods. Starting with a fantasy setting that had wide appeal, we looked to the buildings in France, of which many medieval structures survived.
It took a long time to reach a certain level of perfection, and initially we were going to have glued pieces, but we soon figured out the current interlocking system.
Sara: Wow, that’s amazing! I’m sure you both have played your fair share of board games, what are your Top 3?
Sunil & Zoeya: We’re very into war games, and the miniatures that go with them. If we had to pick it would be Blackpowder, Infamy, and Bolt Action.
Sara: Nice! What challenges did you face in terms of manufacturing and promoting your products?
Sunil & Zoeya: We initially started with using a friend’s factory, but it was made difficult by the fact of it being a constant production line. Soon, we decided to buy our own machine, and our entire team is working remotely, so the production is just the both of us now.
Sunil: Zoeya’s previous position as a test engineer at Dell meant that we were able to streamline, catch errors at various stages, and understand the parameters needed for a successful product.
Sara: As this is your first project, what have you learnt from managing your Kickstarter campaign?
Sunil & Zoeya: Clear communication to potential backers about what we’re offering. We also used GIFs to give direct comparison, so that potential backers can see for themselves.
Sunil: Zoeya’s friend in Australia was an early investor, and is the person behind our current logistics. Our production line is here in India, but we have fulfillment partners globally.
Sara: Which was your favourite model for each person? Why?
Sunil & Zoeya: The Fawlty Manor, for both of us.
Zoeya: This was the only one that was sketched and produced without any modifications, so it looks exactly as it did since Day 1.
Sara: Any plans to expand to other models?
Sunil & Zoeya: In the future, perhaps. With more knowledge gained, we will be able to create more. Right now our medieval line has 30 designs in various stages of development. With the foundation laid, we can quickly adapt to other styles of architecture.
Sara: It is mentioned in the campaign that you both have a deep love of history, can you tell me more about your favourite historical periods?
Sunil: The Roman Empires. Not only is it vast (from 800 BC – 400/600AD), it has influenced much of how modern society is today.
Zoeya: The Medieval period. Not counting the impracticality of poor sanitation (lack of a proper sewage system) and lack of general comfort, the beauty of its architectural design far surpasses everything else.
Sunil: We both stayed in Europe for over a month, and even stayed in a 700 year old AirBnB in Germany. Despite its medieval architecture, the interior was fitted with many modern amenities like electricity and plumbing.
We’re also real foodies, and love to go off the beaten path. We’ve tried a number of restaurants not just for the taste, but for the experience as well.
A fun fact: The day our cutting machine arrived, Zoeya was heading into labour. Thankfully that was before the lockdown, so we had people on site to set it up. So we say that our daughter Amber was born the day I Built It was founded.
If you’d like to support I Built It, are a huge fan of themed fantasy role-plays, and DIY building — do consider backing their Kickstarter, which will be live until the Friday of November 13 2020 3:59 PM AWST (11:59AM GMT).
I will be writing a review piece on their building kit in the future as well, so stay tuned for Part 2! Right now, I’m very eager to see how this project turns out, and the various creations that come out of it.