We went to Brooklyn to meet Vladislav “Vlad” Smolyanskyy, creator of the building toy Pinblock. Pinblocks are a unique building tool in which all the pieces are identical except the color, and they’re bendable. You can use them to put together 3D models, or you can make pixelation art. We saw all the amazing models that he made without instructions. He also let us test out the new Pinblock prototypes. He showed us his office and the room that he records tutorials in. We talked to Vlad about his company and his recent appearance on ABC’s “Shark Tank.”
What was the process you went through to get on “Shark Tank”?
To get an opportunity, you have to go after it. An old teacher of mine sent me an email about “Shark Tank.” I didn’t think I would get in because the chances were really low. I realized that I had to go out of my comfort zone. First, I went to the audition. I didn’t think I did well, because all they said was, “We’ll call you.” But a week later I got a phone call that said I was going to be on the show.
What do you think makes Pinblock different from other companies such as Lego?
Besides the obvious shape of the product, I made Pinblock as a creative product. Lego is more of a read-the-instructions type . . . you read the manual and you don’t really want to take it apart. I made Pinblock as a creative building toy. You can take it apart and make pretty much anything since they’re all the same piece, from 3D models to pixelation art.
How do you envision the future of Pinblock?
I’m not completely sure. I have goals of selling with big retailers. “Shark Tank” has made my odds of that better. Recently I did some research and realized that I would be better off selling my products online, since companies like Toys R Us and Walmart aren’t doing as well. In reality, I can only try my hardest and hope for the best.
Pinblocks are a very fun and creative tool. For more information and to order your own set, go to: pinblock.com