Salt Lake Lego enthusiast comes up with company's next big idea
Lego Cuusoo, a website produced by Lego in 2008, is the medium by which fans of the famous company can propose ideas for new Lego sets.
If a particular idea gets 10,000 votes, the Lego Cuusoo team will then consider putting it through production and selling it in stores.
Salt Lake native Quinn Rollins has been a Lego enthusiast since a young age.
His love for building Legos with his friends in elementary school carried into his adult years, and he still enjoys buying new Lego sets and exercising his creativity.
“It’s a funny hobby that is really creative and fun,” Rollins said. “I have two sons and we play a lot of Lego together.”
When Rollins heard about the crowd-sourcing project set up by Lego, he determined he would combine two passions he’d had since childhood — Legos and the Muppets.
“I’ve always really enjoyed the Muppets and how family friendly it is,” Rollins said. “I don’t want to take my kids to movies that are going to be too dumb or too crass, and the Muppets know how to mix entertaining with educational.”
Beginning in high school, Rollins has experimented with modifying existing action figures to create other characters.
When he heard about Lego Cuusoo, his obsession with Legos and Muppets sparked his idea to create Muppet characters from Legos.
During his spare time, he began sketching characters such as Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy.
The Lego Cuusoo website provides a free program called Lego Digital Designer. This program allows users to virtually sculpt their ideas using three-dimensional Lego pieces.
“I can doodle, draw and even sculpt with polymer clay, but using 3D computer modeling, that was difficult,” Rollins said.
Rollins had to consider how many Lego pieces he could use to create the Muppets so Lego would have something realistic to work with.
“They’re not going to make a 50,000-piece Muppet theater, so I had to think, 'OK, if this is going to be a $40 play set, how many pieces and characters should it have?'” Rollins said.
Rollins has received support from family and friends as well as encouragement from strangers who have voted for his product on the website.
Some users have expressed excitement about his idea but are also doubtful Lego will accept it, saying the Muppets are something from the past.
Each time an idea receives 500 votes, Lego gives official feedback for the product. Oftentimes it will reject ideas for being inappropriate or impossible to obtain the license, but Rollins has received positive feedback encouraging him to continue.
“That doesn’t mean they will approve it, but they do like the idea,” Rollins said. “That’s enough encouragement for me and my crazy OCD.”
If an idea is accepted and put through production, the person who came up with the idea is monetarily rewarded with 1 percent of the profits.
“I don’t think it would be very much money, but for me it’s more about the fact that Lego makes me happy,” Rollins said.
Last year, Rollins began attending monthly meetings with the Utah Lego Users Group, a group of adults who have collected Legos over the years.
During the meetings, they usually hold a draft where everyone pitches in $20 and one person purchases several new Lego sets.
After purchasing the new sets, each member bids on the various individual Lego pieces to add to their collection.
Rollins was hesitant to join the group, assuming it would be full of misfits, but he’s been pleasantly surprised with it.
“It’s a pretty good mix of normal people who just really like Lego,” Rollins said. “They’re people who have jobs, wives and kids and who don’t smell weird.”
Rollins enjoys his Lego hobby because it helps him bond with his kids.
“It’s inspired creativity in my sons, especially my 10-year-old,” Rollins said. “He’s really into the TV show 'Adventure Time,' so he likes to make Legos into those characters.”
Currently, Rollins project, titled "The Muppets!" has received more than 2,500 votes.
Megan Marsden is an intern with the Deseret News writing for the Faith & Family section. She is currently a junior at BYU-Idaho studying communication.