Last year, I introduced readers to the HoodiePet – a fleece hoodie with interchangeable plush toys that Velcro to the pocket. The cuddly jacket was conceptualized by two Milwaukee children, Alexia and Seth Kempe, who are now nine and seven.
According to their mom, Louise Kempe, the siblings loved cozying up to their baby sister's fleece blanket and decided they wanted a hoodie made out of the same material. However, they also wanted their favorite stuffed animals to stick to it somehow.
With the help of their mom, Alexia and Seth created the HoodiePet, which was available for sale in late 2011. Earlier in 2012, Hasbro and the Chicago Toy and Game Group nominated the children for a "Young Inventors of The Year" TAGIE award that recognizes toy and game inventors from around the world.
In late fall, Seth and Alexia, who are students at Maryland Avenue Montessori School, found out that they won after a voting process by industry experts, retailers and consumers. They recently were honored at an awards dinner at the Field Museum in Chicago.
Locally, HoodiePets are available at Winkie's, 629 E. Silver Spring Dr., Sachen, 320 E. Buffalo St., the Milwaukee Public Museum, Betty Brinn Children's Museum and Schlitz Audubon Nature Center. The cost is $29.99 online.
"These are very unique products and make great gifts," says Louise, who is originally from Sweden and lived in Germany before moving to Milwaukee.
Each HoodiePet comes with a different stuffed animal – from pandas to polar bears to tigers – that can be mixed and matched.
"The cool thing about HoodiePets is you can trade the pets with your friends and also collect them," says Seth.
"If you change pets you have like a new hoodie every day," says Alexia.
Personally, I love it anytime kids are taken seriously. Go, Seth and Alexia!
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.