Like Linus of Peanuts fame, many kids wish they could still hold onto their baby blankets, while still looking cool. A Milwaukee mom and her family have tapped into that desire and come up with one of the season's hot products.
The idea behind HoodiePet came to Louise Kempe and her family in 2011 when they were snuggling under her youngest daughter Alba's baby blanket. But her older children, Alexia and Seth, wanted something “more grown-up” to cuddle with, something like a hoodie made out of the blanket’s material.
Then, Alexia came up with the idea to attach a stuffed animal to the front of hers, and the HoodiePet was born.
"It’s really cool because I invented it with my brother and sister and...I’m so proud of myself," Alexia says.
HoodiePet is made out a soft fleece that has a plush animal toy that's affixed by Velcro. The hoods also can come off so the hoodie can be worn in the warmer months.
Demand for the product has been high. Some of the most popular versions are the turquoise hoodie with Arkie the Polar Bear and blue with Screamie the Ape. HoodiePet is now sold at Walmart, as well as local stores, humane societies and on their website.
There are 11 different pets that can be attached to the hoodie:
- Grizzie the Bear
- Bambooie the Panda
- Barkie the Puppy
- Bouncie the Bunny
- Arkie the Polar Bear
- Clawie the Tiger
- Minie the Bunny
- Screamie the Ape
- Speedie the Cheetah
- Unitie the Unicorn
- Zolie the Zebra
Kempe says kids are known to trade the "pets" with each other. Each HoodiePet comes with a secret code that can be used on the kids’ version of the company website. Once the code is entered, an animated HoodiePet avatar comes to life and the child can see the pet's "natural habitat."
The Kempes consider the whole family to be co-inventors of the toy/clothing item, while mom Louise also takes the title of CEO, Alexia is co-designer and Seth is the web designer.
The family has appeared on the Steve Harvey Show and CSNBC to promote their product, and Alexia and Seth were named recipients of the Toy and Game Inventors Award.