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  • Making “Legos” Your Life’s Work

    “I meet a lot of really jealous kids who want my job.”

    Dirk Denoyelle got his first Lego set when he was 7 years old. Today, he has nearly three million pieces. In between, he earned an engineering degree, learned several languages and became a stand-up comedian.

    Mr. Denoyelle is a proud Adult Fan of Lego, or AFOL, as aficionados call themselves.

    “Ten years ago, nobody admitted it,” said the 47-year-old Belgian, sitting in his studio next to a giant Lego model of an apartment complex that a developer here paid him about $20,000 to create. Nearby are life-size Lego busts of Charlie Chaplin and Michael Jackson and a vast Lego mosaic depicting a homeless man on a London street.

    The artistry of the works—and their fat selling prices—earned Mr. Denoyelle a prized spot among AFOLs. Three years ago, Lego Group anointed him a Lego Certified Professional. It’s an elite group consisting of two New York artists, an Australian computer specialist and just 10 others world-wide.

    Meet Dirk Denoyelle. He’s one of 13 certified Lego professionals in the world and he sells his creations for thousands of dollars. WSJ’s Daniel Michaels reports from Hoboken, Belgium.

    “I meet a lot of really jealous kids who want my job,” says Certified Professional Sean Kenney, a New Yorker who left a technology job at Lehman Brothers in 2002 to build Lego models full time. “Their parents are often really jealous, too.”

    Parents—including some famous ones like David Beckham—and some childless adults today brag about the complex Lego models they are building. Grown-ups forked over more than $1,000 for a recent 5,922-piece Lego Taj Mahal and equally big bucks for rare vintage kits. Lego is catering to the booming market with offerings that make youngsters yawn, like bricks in subtle pastel hues and models of Frank Lloyd Wright houses.

    But grown-ups also flood the company with more product feedback than it can handle and produce Lego-size guns that the company itself won’t make. Lego survived the rise of video games and its own brush with bankruptcy. Adults present a new hurdle.

    Read Full Article in Wall Street Journal.com

    Good luck.

    Calvin Wilson
    Founder and CEO
    Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals

    Filed Under: Gamechangers


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