Guess who's into plants? Please welcome the new member of the 10k Club - Joe Taylor aka Succulent Joe. His very first product idea, Succulent Garden made it! As he claims, the passion for what we do is the key to success.
- Who are you?
Hello! My name is Joe Taylor, also known as Succulent Joe!
- Where are you from?
I’m currently living in London, in the UK.
- How old are you?
- What do you study or do for a living?
I’ve recently started a new job, working as a Data Scientist!
- What hobbies do you have?
In my spare time, I like to play squash, table tennis, and swim. As you might also be able to guess, I’m into plants! Mainly houseplants for now, as I’m currently living in the city. I’m also very interested in my work – including data, programming, and design (which I suppose now also extends to LEGO design)!
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
Only my LEGO Ideas page for now. I do intend to put more designs on there in the future, so watch this space! https://ideas.lego.com/profile/Succulent%20Joe
- How and when did your interest for LEGO products come about?
It definitely started early on! My older brother was a LEGO fan before me, so he and my parents definitely helped me to get into it. Growing up, our house (well, mainly my room) was always full of LEGO creations!
- What is LEGO for you? What does it mean for you? How does it fit in your life? E.g. build, display, meetups, play the games.. or 'just' watch the cartoons.
I enjoy the building process most of all. It’s always fun putting a set together and slowly seeing it take shape, seeing all the hidden details and moving parts. I would always ask for LEGO for birthday/Christmas presents when I was young and would then spend most of the day after receiving one in my room building it as quickly as I could!
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
My current favourite themes are the LEGO Architecture and Botanical themes. Sets in these all make brilliant ‘display pieces, which is definitely what I would categorize my model as. I took a few pointers from the LEGO Bonsai tree for my model – particularly around the loose stud ‘rocks’, whereas the succulents themselves are perhaps more architecturally inspired if anything!
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
The original Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle (set 4709). It was a lot of fun to build, with lots of hidden sections and surprises. I also used to be a big Harry Potter fan!
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
The 1x2 Hinge Brick was always a popular piece for me and my brother building when we were younger – often used for some kind of ‘secret base’ with an entrance hidden behind some object or wall, openable using one of these bricks!
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
I’ve always liked exotic plants; cacti when I was younger, succulents more recently. Some of my houseplants sat next to a recently purchased LEGO Bonsai set made me wonder whether there was a LEGO succulent set out there. There wasn’t! In fact, there were hardly any MOCs either, so I decided to have a go at designing one!
- How long was the process of making the project did, and what did you have to research as well. What kind of prep, research and design phases did you go through to produce your creation?
I was already familiar with different shapes and types of succulent plants, but I found it useful looking online at pictures for reference and inspiration. I was designing my model digitally and had a bit of a ‘brainstorming’ file, where I tried out loads of different pieces to see what might be able to work together to form the sorts of shapes I was after. As I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to make, it ended up taking me a couple of weeks to finalize my design.
- What special challenges or frustrations did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
The Echeveria – the large white ‘flower’ – was the trickiest to get right. LEGO blocks are inherently regular and difficult to ‘offset’, so forming the leaves into a design where they looked to be naturally overlapping each other was a challenge to get right!
- If you could talk to yourself before you started on this project, what would you tell him/her? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
If you’re creating your model digitally, learn how to create and use sub-models properly – it’ll save you a lot of headaches down the road!
- How long did it take to complete the model? Did you finish it fairly quickly, or did it take a long time? And how did the build time compare to the time you spent promoting your Product Idea to reach 10,000 supporters?
Overall, it ended up taking a couple of weeks to create my model from start to finish. I know many spend a lot longer crafting their sets! I think it took me a bit less time because I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted right from the start. Plus, the model itself is actually fairly compact.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
It took me 47 days to reach the magic 10,000, which was incredibly exciting and a lot quicker than I could have ever hoped! Working with data for my day job, I got quite obsessed over the number of new supporters each day (plus the Ideas platform is good at giving you the statistics/charts for these) and following the various trends. I definitely miss checking the number every day!
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
It’s around 200 pieces, not including the loose ‘rock’ studs in the pot (which are another 100 pieces or so).
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
I really like the look of the loose studs (despite them being particularly fiddly to position within virtual design software!) which was a technique also used in the LEGO Bonsai botanical set. I chose more ‘rocky’ colours, but the overall effect is the same. I think it gives a much more natural look than a standard stud base to really tie the whole set together!
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
I used LEGO BrickLink Studio. It’s very easy to use, and you can create some really realistic-looking renders. Give it a go if you have an idea you would like to try and make!
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
Try to think of a product idea that would genuinely excite you personally. Ideally, something that hasn’t been done before, but even if it has been done before – if you think you could do it better, give it a go!
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
I used social media; particularly Reddit. I posted about my project on the r/lego subreddit and it received over 33,000 upvotes! This made it (as of the time of writing) the 8th most popular post there ever, which was absolutely crazy and it was so exciting to get so many great comments! A few more posts, along with some emails to friends and family, got me some great traction early on and helped me to hit the 10k mark!
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
I think my favourite Idea to hit production is JakeSadovich77’s ‘Ship in a Bottle’ It’s a great-looking set! My favourite idea not yet at 10k (at the time of writing) is Ralf Ranghaal’s ‘Land Ahoy’. It’s really such a unique and slick-looking idea! One overlooked creator I want to give a shoutout to is RedPaws0206. They have some really cool and detailed stuff but have not yet had that breakout idea. I’d bet on one soon!
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
I think the amount of creativity on display on the platform is its biggest draw for me! As for tips – if you are designing your idea digitally, make sure you create a high-quality render at the end in order to really show your idea off in all its glory! I sometimes see great builds that are unfortunately let down by the lack of a realistic-looking shot of the final product. So, render away!
- Do you have plans to submit any other Product Ideas in the future? If yes, can you give us a hint what that might be?
Yes, I do! I’ve had one in the works for a while now, but I’ve just had to prioritise other things recently. I do intend to finish it sometime soon though! As for a hint, let’s just say it’s in a similar vein as this set!
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