In case some of you are wondering, who is SOHOBricks and what do they have to do with the LEGO Group?
If you all may recall that LEGO acquired the largest independent online brick marketplace, Bricklink, late last year. Bricklink and SOHOBricks were owned by NXMH LLC, and was both part of the acquisition.
SOHOBRicks is essentially an alternative brick system manufacturer which was based in California but had factories in South Korea producing their proprietary bricks.
To the creators, it was a one-stop alternative brick solution that offered a wide variety of bricks as well as packaging and shipping solutions should you require.
Essentially, you could pass them your design, have them sort and pack your sets, print instructions and even ship the final product to distributors world wide. Think of it as a white-label factory for system bricks.
And if it was a personal project, you could order their bricks directly from their website with a full catalogue of elements and colours.
From their website, you can figure that they were working closely with charities and children organisations for build projects as well as outreach.
Essentially, their projects are quite in line with LEGO’s core values as I gather they were trying to find a cheaper alternative to produce and distribute brick elements to the masses.
There is actually one known set by SOHOBricks that I know of and it was produced for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.
They actually had a Brick by Brick exhibition back in 2016 and incidentally their gift shop was selling a brick model of the museum itself. But it was not made with LEGO, it was produced by SOHOBricks.
I’m sure that should be more sets out in the wild and if you do know of any, do drop a comment!
SOHOBricks is an alternative brick system that honestly, had no place in the LEGO structure. For those who knew about SOHOBricks probably would have speculated this outcome.
It is unfortunate for the employees and I do sympathise with them especially in our current global economic climate.
I guess now is a good time as any to take out that MSI set and start building.
In December 2019 we bought Sohobricks as part of our acquisition of Bricklink. Since then we have been working closely with the Sohobricks team to understand their business and operations. As part of this review, we found that a very significant investment would be needed to create a sustainable business and upgrade manufacturing operations to run efficiently and meet our operational standards.
Unfortunately, such a large investment is simply not commercially viable. As a result, we have made the extremely difficult decision to close Sohobricks from the end of May 2020. We will now focus on supporting Sohobricks’ employees. There are currently 34 people working in the business and we will provide them with financial packages that reflect their years of service and are above the statutory requirements. We will also offer a professional outplacement service that will provide financial advice and assistance in finding a new job.
We would like to thank the Sohobricks team for all that they have done. We know this will be a difficult time for them and we are committed to doing what we can to help them through this.
It’s important to emphasise that the decision regarding Sohobricks does not affect any other LEGO Group manufacturing sites or our focus to supply bricks to the AFOL community.
We will continue to invest in Bricklink and want to reassure you that Bricklink remains a priority for us. We are excited about the platform’s potential especially the opportunity to strengthen our connection with our adult fans. We are currently working on future plans and look forward to sharing more information when the time is right.
We hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe during this difficult time.