What do you get when you combine an architect, a LEGO fan and an Etsy shop in one person? You get Natalia Meijerink and her framed LEGO building fronts.
Framing Amsterdam landmarks and custom buildings from anywhere in the world, Natalia’s artwork is truly unique. Learn her story and see more of her artwork below.
What motivated you to open up shop online?
After moving to the Netherlands from Poland, I decided to start a website featuring illustrations for children. Having past experience with owning a website, I really wanted something more low budget. When my friend mentioned opening an Etsy shop, I decided that was for me.
What difficulties have you had to overcome with your business?
I was very disappointed when my first idea, an interior design business, didn’t work out.
Trying to start a business in a foreign country was difficult. I was far away from friends and family and I didn’t know the official language, Dutch. It helped that most everyone spoke English anyway. And the idea of business itself – selling handmade products was also very new for me and I am constantly learning how it really works.
How did you get the idea for your frameable LEGO buildings?
My husband is a big fan of Lego with many boxes of bricks at home, and I always preferred to play with LEGO rather than dolls as a child. Once, my husband made a house in the style of an Amsterdam canal house, jokingly saying that I could sell similar models to tourists. But I believed tourists would love these LEGO souvenirs.
Then I found deep frames and started to build LEGO models of typical Amsterdam buildings, and that is how it started. Amsterdam itself was also an inspiration, as I wanted to find a new way to present its beautiful architecture. That way, that it would become an original piece of Amsterdam that can be taken all over the world.
I think the first nice house I made and sold was in December of last year. I named my products “Amsterdam LEGO art.” Of course, I have to put “®” everywhere, last thing I want is to have problems with the LEGO company. 😉
When were you first introduced to LEGO?
As I mentioned above, LEGO was a big part of my childhood and is now a part of my daughter’s childhood as well. During my architectural study we also used to use Lego bricks to help us with building models.
How did your architectural background influence your LEGO buildings product?
It did a lot! Building these LEGO houses is a little bit like working as an architect again. And I think it is also much easier for me to build since I know some architectural and general construction rules. My background in the history of architecture also helps to make this a strong point.
Name 4 top priorities for someone just starting with an online shop.
- Make your products as unique and personal as possible. People like to read stories about how you started.
- Take nice, quality photos to show all the advantages of your product
- Don’t feel disappointed too quickly, things need time.
- To make it as a proper business, open a webshop with your brand name….there are so many sellers on Etsy, that I think it works more like a hobby.
Personally, I am happy with a small Etsy shop. Nothing brings me more joy in business than seeing a customer get excited about what I’ve made.
Maybe you would like your own little piece of Amsterdam or would like Natalia to model a custom building for you. Contact Natalia through her Etsy shop, “WolskaMeijerink.”
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