Female Lego scientists and Supreme Court justices inspire girls; Lego Golden Girls and Star Wars inspire nostalgia; Lego brick-stepping incidents inspire death wishes. Do not underestimate the power of these little plastic building blocks.
Now a couple based in Krakow, Poland have built Agabag, a growing brand on Etsy, selling handbags made from Lego bricks like the ones their children play with at home. Indeed, Legos seem to have an outsize presence in the home of Agnieszka Biernacka and Tomasz Biernacki.
“We have a workshop where we keep the business bricks,” Biernacki told Quartz. “But in general the bricks are everywhere.”
The bags are made in two parts: a Lego shell and a soft interior. The shell is made by drilling tiny holes through the Legos and then stringing them together like beads. Biernacki estimates they ship 60 to 80 bags each month, the majority to the US, Japan, and Taiwan.
For the most part, Biernacka sticks to the limited color palette that Lego manufactures, at times purchasing sets of 300 Legos just to get one of a single color. (Their kids get the residuals.) But she has made an exception for one color: metallic gold. To give the bricks a bit more bling, she sends out small lots of Legos to be plated in a thin coat of real gold.
Agabag’s fancier clutches, made with those gold bricks, sell for more than $300, but Biernacki says the most popular bag by far is the multicolor version, which goes for $180, and accounts for one in every five bags Agabag sells.
Both Biernacka and Biernacki are classically trained musicians, and neither had worked in design before they started building their business about six years ago. Biernacki, who helps with technology and communication for Agabag, is an opera conductor. Biernacka, who goes by Agnes, was a professional violist before the couple’s children, now aged 7 and 12, were born.
The two had always enjoyed design together personally, he said, spending “a fortune” on art, architecture, and fashion books, and visiting museums all over Europe. Now, the business is growing, and Agnes oversees three other employees who help construct the bags.
Next, the couple is moving into home design: lamps, bookends, clocks, and the like. They’ve been gathering ideas for years, and Agabag has proved that Lego lovers are a lush market.
“Since I can remember, Legos are the thing,” says Biernacki. ”I was five years old when I got my first set. It’s an icon of design. It’s very well-engineered.”
Here’s more of Agabag’s handiwork: