Did you happen to read the article about the Hanlon brothers and their business “Beyond the Brick” back in the Spring of 2018 in the Grace College alumni magazine, Grace Story? If you did–great! You are up-to-speed. If not, you can read that article here.
So, where are they now?
What have these Grace graduates, Joshua (now 24) and John (now 25), been up to the past two years? You should be warned: these brothers work fast. That is if you consider traveling to all seven continents, doubling their following on Youtube, and kicking off their Facebook fanbase of 420k “fast.” And do not be fooled: that’s not everything.
Around the World in 180 Days
Joshua and John devoted nearly half of their past year to travel. They can aptly be considered “world travelers,” checking off every continent on the map in the year 2019. The brothers were joined by their younger sister, Nicole. (You will see her in the pictures recording each of their continent visits.)
When we asked which destination was their favorite, Antarctica was voted number one. But what does Antarctica have to do with Legos, you may ask. You see, journeying to Antarctica requires a long boat ride from the tip of Argentina to the glacier coast, and on the journey, the brothers worked together to build a Lego structure which they would go on to photograph on the Antarctic ice.
After adding their voyages this year to the total, the Hanlons have now visited 32 countries; and the travels won’t stop here. The Hanlons have trips to Europe, Asia, and Africa planned for 2020.
“Traveling for Beyond the Brick has allowed us to get off the beaten tourist trails,” said John. The pair claim to see the truest parts of a given culture by getting to know the people they interview and understanding the expression of culture in their Lego structures. Joshua added, “Every international show reflects the culture and local architecture.”
With the extensive travel accrued by the Hanlons, it is no surprise that their videos have been viewed in every country on earth.
The Numbers Say it All
Also new in the past few years, the Hanlons have watched their numbers continue to grow. Their Youtube channel now boasts 630k subscribers, growing by 380K since 2018. Their Facebook account has followed suit, growing exponentially in the past year and a half. Beyond the Brick now has 300 million all-time video views.
When we asked the brothers if they could choose a favorite episode, John was quick to answer, “That’s nearly impossible when you are choosing from 2,500 videos.” Joshua, on the other hand, did have a few favorites to call out.
A history buff, Joshua is drawn toward the historically significant Lego builds. “I love to capture the content that no one else is covering,” said Joshua. A couple of his favorites include a 20-foot layout of the Battle of Waterloo and a detailed model of the Battleship Missouri. Joshua loves that projects like these give Beyond the Brick viewers “behind-the-scenes access” to what most don’t see.
Oh, and speaking of history, did we mention that Joshua completed his master’s of Military History degree this fall?
Another number on the rise is the amount the pair has given away. Their annual 24-hour live stream event has now raised $25,000 for Legos to be donated to children’s hospitals. As the Hanlon’s following has grown, so has the generosity.
One Thing Hasn’t Changed
As the Hanlon’s travels increase, and as their following doubles, there is one thing about Beyond the Brick that will never change: their delight in working together as brothers.
“It is definitely more of a joy than a challenge. There are a lot of benefits to working with someone who you have grown up with,” said Joshua. And John was quick to agree, “our individual skillsets work well together.”
As the two reflect on the origins of Beyond the Brick, they agreed that there was never a question of whether or not they could work together well. When it came time for them to pursue the business full time, they were confident that they could pull it off.
Going forward, Beyond the Brick hopes to continue to create new content for their viewers and be a prominent voice in the Lego community. This past year at Comicon, Joshua was given the chance to announce the upcoming Lego Masters show on Fox where Lego enthusiasts go head-to-head in building challenges. If the show is a sign of what’s to come, the Lego scene, and Beyond the Brick, is going nowhere but up.