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Pet project

By MARTIN HINTZ

January 2013

Seth, 9, and Alexia Kempe, 7, Maryland Avenue Montessori School fourth-grader and second-grader respectively, are as bright and bubbly as any Milwaukee children their age. At first glance, these two kids may not seem much different from their peers ó yet they have one extra-super-special-fabulous-amazing addition to their curricula vitae: The Tagie Award 2012 for Young Inventor of the Year.

The duo won the competition in the 19 years and under category for its invention, HoodiePet, a hybrid clothing-meets-toy. The tyro inventors emphasize their hoodie is not just something to wear, but includes a collectible puppet. Each of the 11 personable animal characters even has its own biography. Children can print adoption certificates and learn more about each animal at the HoodiePet website, www.friends.hoodiepet.com

Mom Louise Kempe acts as CEO for the product line, launched in 2011.

The youngsters were honored recently at an awards ceremony in Chicagoís Field Museum, an event organized by the Chicago Toy and Game Group and toy maker giant Hasbro.

M: How were you inspired to come up with HoodiePet?

Alexia: "I love stuffed animals and I donít want to carry around a blanket, so thatís why HoodiePet is so awesome. Itís a hoodie of a blanket with my best stuffed animal."

M: What did you do to earn the award?

Seth: "We design the pets and come up with the colors. My favorite is Screamie the Ape and Alexiaís is Speedie the Cheetah. You can see and learn more about the different pets on the Internet."

M: What were some of the challenges in making and marketing your product?

Alexia: "Seeing what colors everyone would like best and which pet. It was not a challenge because it was so much fun."

M: What did you do when you heard that you won the award?

Seth: "I just froze. I was speechless and then I had to give a speech in front off hundreds of people."

M: Do kids at your school know you won this award?

Seth: "Some of our friends know about it and think itís really cool. One friend said, ĎThat is awesome,í and he has been wearing his HoodiePet every day since that day I told him. So that is great."

M: What is fun about being an inventor? Would you like this as a career?

Seth: "It was great to see everyone wearing our invention. That makes us happy and proud. Would I like to be an inventor? Yes, I believe so."

M: What will you invent next?

Seth and Alexia: "Wait and see!"

 


This story ran in the January 2013 issue of: