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Wednesday

April 2014

23

Merton 12-year-old wins national inventors award

Greyson MacLean's Lego decals earn him award, interview on 'Conan'

Town of Merton - It's been a big couple of weeks for 12-year-old Greyson MacLean of the Town of Merton.

MacLean, a sixth-grader at Swallow School, is the inventor of BrickStix, a line of removable, reusable cling decals for Legos and other building-block toys. MacLean came up with the idea about three years ago, and BrickStix were introduced to consumers this February.

Last Friday, MacLean was chosen as the Young Inventor of the Year at the TAGIE Awards, an annual event hosted by the Chicago Game and Toy Group considered by some to be the "Oscars of the toy business." The MacLean family - which includes parents Amy and Matt and sisters Lily, 9, and Annie, 6 - was stunned by Greyson's win, said Amy MacLean.

But perhaps an even greater experience than winning the award - and probably more fun - was his recent appearance on the "Conan" show.

Booked to discuss his invention and nomination for the TAGIE Award, MacLean got big laughs when he matter-of-factly explained to host Conan O'Brien that his friends were planning to record his appearance and watch it later because the Packers game was on at the same time.

"I'm very sorry, but that's just how people think in Wisconsin," MacLean explained.

While BrickStix is run by his mom, the business was originally born out of Greyson's frustration with the regular stickers made for Lego sets, which were difficult to scrape off when he wanted to take apart a creation and make something new. As Amy MacLean recalls, Greyson said he needed some kind of decal that he could easily take off and put back on his Legos.

After repeatedly telling his mom that they should really do something about it - "we'll call it brick sticks," he said - Greyson researched the idea online, then started playing around with the UV protection cling decals used for sunglasses and testing all sorts of other static things, Amy MacLean said.

"All of a sudden, we were doing it," Amy MacLean said.

The product was launched with three sets of BrickStix - metro, transport and space - each designed around a popular building theme. Since then, three new sets have been added, and a new line of products called Mod Stickers has also been introduced, targeting adult fans of Lego.

Greyson said that creating and launching a new business has been exciting, but it's also taught him a valuable lesson.

"If you really set your mind on something, you can do it," he said.

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