LEGO explains 5,000 set limit for BrickLink Designer Program

The LEGO Group has explained why the initial batch of crowdfunded sets in the BrickLink Designer Program were limited to just 5,000 copies each.

When crowdfunding opened for the first round of rejected LEGO Ideas projects last week, four of them sold out within 24 hours. In fact, Daniel Van Zonneveld’s 910001 The Castle in the Forest was snapped up within an hour – even though a glitch allowed fans to order twice the predetermined capacity.

Now, BrickLink and the LEGO Group have issued a statement explaining why they chose to place a limit of just 5,000 pre-orders per set, given – in hindsight – that clearly wasn’t enough.

“The limit of 5,000 units per set was based on the AFOL Designer Program run in 2019,” they explained, referring to the original program to turn fan designs into semi-official sets, before the LEGO Group purchased BrickLink later that year. “For that release, we produced 2,500 sets which didn’t all sell out.”

During a call with LEGO Fan Media (including Brick Fanatics), BrickLink CEO Marvin Park elaborated that the team believed doubling that original capacity would be enough to meet demand from fans for the BrickLink Designer Program.

“The crowdfunding threshold [for the AFOL Designer Program] was much lower, like $10,000, but still some of the projects didn’t meet that result,” Marvin explained. “We sold out 13 of the 15 products, and two of them didn’t make it. So based on that, we considered doubling up the quantity to meet the demand.

“Now I can tell that was completely off. But that data we had indicated a different story, because that was run mostly by BrickLink, and it was not merged with LEGO Ideas.”

Marvin also explained that while each of the projects had racked up 10,000 supporters on the LEGO Group’s crowdsourcing platform, they didn’t expect that exact number to actually pre-order the sets when push came to shove (just as happened with Sokoda’s 910007 BIONICLE Legends and Jason Allemann’s 910025 Particle Accelerator).

LEGO Ideas has a 10K supporter [threshold],” he continued. “And if you consider a normal conversion rate from the lower-level commitment of just supporting the product, versus actually putting your money there, that was a reasonable choice at that point.

“But we didn’t anticipate that demand grew much faster than we expected, and now we realise that the data we relied on is far from the reality. That was our mistake, for sure. But our process was based on existing data that indicated how much stuff needs to be there, and there actually was a physical limit of the production capacity we could secure for this programme.”

That production capacity will now double again to 10,000 for future crowdfunding rounds, while four of the five successful sets in the first round will see their production runs increased to match. Pre-orders for 910010 The Great Fishing Boat, 910016 Sheriff’s Safe, 910017 Kakapo and 910028 Pursuit of Flight will re-open on August 3.

910001 The Castle in the Forest, however, won’t be available to order again, as the LEGO Group and BrickLink already accidentally sold 10,000 copies of Daniel Van Zonneveld’s set in the first round last week.

The secondary marketplace has also promised to review its server capacity for future rounds, and to take action to prevent scalpers from buying multiple sets for resale purposes.

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Chris Wharfe

I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then. You can follow me on Twitter at @brfa_chris.

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