Young Milwaukee brother and sister are award-winning inventors
Stephanie Graham, Vince Vitrano
Photo: Video by tmj4.com
MILWAUKEE - The Kempe family runs a tight operation at the 'Hoodiepet' distribution center in Milwaukee's Third Ward.
"I love doing it. Love, love, love," mom Louise said. "The more orders I see in the morning, the more happy I get as a wife and a mother."
"Hoodiepet" started a couple years ago as an idea by Louise's nine-year-old son Seth, and sevem-year-old daughter Alexia.
"I told my mom, I need a sweater, and I need a pet with it cuz I don't want to carry around a stuffed animal," Alexia explained.
Louise took Alexia's idea and ran with it.
"We went to Joann Fabrics store, and bought fabric, we bought an easy pattern," Louise recalls.
After awhile, kids in the neighborhood wanted their own hoodiepets. So the family started the business.
"I thought of this being a whole business. It actually worked pretty good." Seth explained.
Alexia comes up with the designs, and Seth runs the website.
"I am extremely proud, because I think you should listen and learn from your children," Louise said.
There's also an educational component to the cute clothing. Every animal has a story on the hoodiepet website. Business is good, as the orders rush in.
"Some of my friends, they usually wear hoodiepets, and my babysitter, she saw a little girl at a store wearing a hoodiepet," Alexia added.
The ultimate reward for their hard work though: Alexia and Seth won the 2012 Tagie Award--which is like an Oscar in the inventor's world!
"It was pretty cool to actually be nominated, because some people around the world are really... It's like a big thing," Seth exclaims.
The family is excited to see the business grow, and the young Kempe minds always come up with new ideas.
"I believe they have been growing extremely much as kids, for doing this, and also for their mom and dad believing in what they think is gonna be good," Louise said.
This isn't the first Tagie Award for Wisconsin. A Hartland boy won in 2011 for his invention 'Brickstix'.