What all began as a fun way to help an LDS family in China stay connected with the temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has grown into an expanding company serving members of the faith worldwide.
Brick ‘Em Young, Suzanne and Tim Calton’s building block business, began in 2014 with a simple goal: teach their young children the importance of temples while living in Shanghai, several hours by plane away from the nearest temple in Hong Kong.
Motivated by their son’s excitement for plastic building bricks, they ultimately created and began selling a large model of the Salt Lake Temple with about 1,500 pieces. The Caltons learned Mandarin Chinese on their missions for the church (Suzanne in Gaoxiong, Taiwan, and Tim in Sydney, Australia), and have been able to use their language skills to start and grow Brick’Em Young.
“It has been fun for us to use our mission languages to help on the manufacturing side of Brick ‘Em Young and make this happen,” said Suzanne Calton.
Five years later, the Caltons have added three children to their family, adopted Chinese girls, and they continue to live abroad in China. They’ve expanded their business to include building brick models of a more than a dozen temples worldwide, from Nauvoo to Provo City Center, Manti to Idaho Falls and a St. George Temple model.
Over the past year, the company added models for the Oakland, Califonia temple, the Bountiful, Utah temple and the Cardston, Alberta, Canada temple. The company even has the small temple design used by 40-plus temples around the globe.
New this year is a feee download of the song, "I Hope They Call Me on a Mission." You can get the download here.
The Caltons said they’ve been surprised, and thrilled, to see “builders” (customers) from countries around the world send in photos of their completed models. The Brick 'Em Young website includes an impressive gallery of customer photos from Mexico, Brazil, England, Germany, Ghana, Taiwan and Australia, just to name a few of the countries the Calton's company has reached.
So what keeps the Caltons going, and what makes Brick ‘Em Young so successful? Suzanne Calton said their models create a fun, purposeful activity the whole family can enjoy.
“Many parents have expressed excitement about having a project for their children to do which does not involve electronics,” said Suzanne Calton. “It makes an ideal gift as it connects faith, family and fun.”
She said their children have also shared the sets as gifts, using them as a creative way to teach and share about their faith.
“Our three girls love to build Brick ‘Em Young sets and give them out as gifts to their school teachers and nonmember friends," she said.
Brick ‘Em Young encourage builders to involve the whole family when working on building block sets, including parents and siblings of all ages. While the larger temple sets age recommendation is 12 and older, Suzanne Calton said some advanced younger children enjoy the challenge and are able to complete the sets independently. The average build time is 3-5 hours (perfect for a Sunday afternoon or activity over the Christmas holiday), depending on the set and piece count.
Looking for an activity younger children can enjoy? The small Salt Lake Temple set has fewer than 600 pieces, and the missionary, nativity, bride and groom and Book of Mormon figure sets are all designed to be easier to assemble and have a recommended age of 8 or older.
“The Book of Mormon figurine set allows kids to mix and match figurines and accessories to literally tell almost any story from the Book of Mormon,” she said. “You can build the Tree of Life, build a boat for Nephi and his family to sail to the promised land, or play with Captain Moroni, Abinadi, Abish or other characters scripture.”
Through Dec. 13, get 15 percent off your order from Brick ‘Em Young using the promo code "PIONEER" at checkout, and enjoy free shipping on all purchases now through Christmas.