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Interview with BrickHawk

Any fan of LEGO knows that while it’s pure delight, it’s can also quickly become an expensive hobby. We all know the feeling of searching for LEGO bargains. As we built our collection, we came across a service called BrickHawk which makes getting LEGO bargains a whole lot easier. Brickhawk sends you alerts for the sets that you “hawk” so you can grab big bargains as soon as they are released. Occassionally even up to 95% off as you’ll read below!!

We’re such fans of Brickhawk, we thought we’d have a chat with BH to find out a little bit more about the service. There’s also an awesome free 14 day upgrade trial offer for Brickhawk Premium at the end of the interview.

Check out the short gallery at the end to get a view of the Premium features that we really enjoy. We’re not sponsored and didn’t receive anything for this post, we just really love the service and awesome LEGO deals and think you will too.

Tell us a little about BrickHawk? What is it all about?

The name BrickHawk comes from the idiom “to watch something like a hawk”. BrickHawk’s key feature is watching the prices, offers, and availability of LEGO sets, and allows you to place a “Hawk” on the sets you want to buy. You will then receive an email alert whenever there’s a price drop, a new offer, or a set comes back in stock.

BrickHawk is currently tracking the prices of thousands of LEGO sets over 50 retailers. It helps you buy the LEGO sets you want, for the best price! BrickHawk can also alert you when new LEGO sets are released, and when individual LEGO pieces become available.  

And with all of this information and data, BrickHawk Insights allows you to quickly make decisions about LEGO deals and how you can best spend your money on LEGO.

Why did you start BH?

BrickHawk started as a little piece of code running on my laptop which alerted me when #10259 Winter Village Station came back in stock. It was a very hard-to-get set, and I kept missing the times when it became “Available now”. Eventually it worked and I got the set! From there, BrickHawk grew bit by bit to what it is today.

What’s the best LEGO bargain you’ve seen BrickHawk catch since starting the site?

A few come to mind. More recently the #30197 Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe Art set for $39 (RRP $179) was a very good deal that sold out very shortly after BrickHawk sent a lot of THEMEHAWK alerts out!

The #21318 Treehouse for $185 at Target (RRP $279) was also a very good deal, given how hard it has been to find in the past.
(Adam Note: This is an amazing set which has just been released. Go and pick it up now if you can!)

There’s been some Amazon bargains too – the #75217 Star Wars Imperial Conveyex Transport for $6.43 – 95% off the $129 RRP – not a typo – although maybe it was for someone keying in the price at Amazon! A few times they have also price matched other retailers “damaged box” prices and sold their not-damaged-boxed sets with decent discounts, e.g. #75192 UCS Millenium Falcon for $949.

Have you always been a fan of LEGO?

Yes, and like many it’s the typical “started as a child… dark ages… found LEGO again as an adult” story! I remember I got my first Technic set when I was around 6 – one set was enough to hook me in for most of my childhood. My late teens/early adulthood period was without LEGO, but then one day I saw the 75060 Slave I on a shelf at Myer and before I knew it I’d bought it and was straight back into LEGO!

Do you get much time to build yourself? what are your favourite sets?

I wish I did have more time for LEGO building (who doesn’t!?). BrickHawk does take up a lot of my building time, but I still find time in between it and everything else. My three favourite sets, in no particular order would have to be:

  • UCS Snowspeeder 75060
  • Ideas NASA Apollo Rocket 21309 *
  • Horizon Express 10233
    * (Adam Note: This has just been re-released as #92176 and is an fantastic set. Use your free BrickHawk upgrade at the end of the interview to find out where you can grab a bargain and pick it up)

What challenges do you have running your own startup?

I don’t consider BrickHawk a startup – in my mind it’s just a really useful service that I knew I had to share! Running BrickHawk certainly has its challenges though.

Finding time to develop new functionality and respond to BrickHawk’s Patrons is one of the biggest challenges, but also the most rewarding. BrickHawk’s Patrons are a really awesome bunch, so it’s the least I can do!

Keeping up with the demand has been a big challenge too, especially this year. BrickHawk’s infrastructure (i.e. web servers, databases, etc) have more than quadrupled in the last 9 months  to cope with all of the demand! It’s been a massive learning experience for me, and I know I have so much more to do and learn. 

Do you hear much from Brickhawk Customers?

Absolutely – and heaps of BrickHawk’s features have come from feedback and suggestions from users. Little things like being able to mute certain retailers and themes, as well as custom email subject lines came from different users who wanted more control over the alerts they were receiving.

And little thoughts and comments have resulted in bigger things too. For example, a Patron mentioned that they “love BrickHawk but need to focus more on their MOCing and ordering the parts they needed from Bricks and Pieces”. A few weeks later I realised I could help this Patron out, and built PARTHAWKS to track the price and availability of individual LEGO bricks and pieces, and alert users when the pieces they are tracking come back in stock. 

Feedback and suggestions are always welcome, and have helped create BrickHawk!

Do you cover all LEGO regions?

Not all, but always looking to add more! Especially retailers in regions outside of Australia – it can be tricky to find the websites and stores that sell LEGO in other countries, especially countries that are not English speaking. 

Having users from other countries sending me through the retailers in their patch is super useful – for example BrickHawk covers 11 retailers in New Zealand, and 9 of those were from a couple of really helpful New Zealanders who took the time to send me their favorite retailers.

BrickHawk covers retailers in Australia, United States, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Hungary, Canada, Denmark.

If your country is missing, send me a message – info@brickhawk.com!

Do you have a favourite theme or series?

Ideas. It’s the one theme where I want “one of all of them”! In fact I may have doubles of some of the really good ones – like the 21309 Saturn V NASA Rocket, which I have displayed stacked upright for launch, and the second copy displayed in it’s different stages.

I love the Ideas process, and look forward to the announcements of which Ideas have made it, and then the launch of the set to see how much it did or didn’t change. (My anticipation for these sets being released is what led to the development of RELEASEHAWKS – another feature in BrickHawk!)

What’s your white whale? The set you’ve always wanted. 

The Emerald Night. I have the Horizon Express, and whilst the LEGO CITY trains don’t interest me, the Creator Expert-type trains do! I can’t ever see myself getting this one though – that opportunity is long gone.

Anything else you’d like to tell the Casadebricks readers?

I encourage your readers to keep on reading and supporting Casadebricks! I think it’s awesome that a father and son are sharing their love of LEGO together through the blog, and it makes for great reading – who didn’t get chuckle when they imagined half a ream of paper fresh out of Dad’s printer!? (C’mon Adam – time to forgive Oscar! :D)
(Adam Note: Almost. I think I can get over it by the time he’s 18.. Maybe.)

And don’t forget to check out BrickHawk! Everyone is welcome, and if you have any questions or problems using it don’t hesitate to send through an email and ask!

To get your free 14 day upgrade, sign up at Brickhawk and use the code CASA14D.
There is no obligation, no need to add payment details and you don’t even need to cancel. After the 14 days, you’ll revert back to the standard plan. If you feel it’s worth it you can then upgrade. For us, the savings on new sets far, far outweigh the cost of this great service. Enjoy!

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