Founder: Louise Kempe
Mission: Clothing Meets Toy
BizStarts Role: Marketing coaching, connection to capital
Launched in October 2011, HoodiePet, LLC is a company built on imagination, creativity, and, four founder Louise Kempe, her children.
"You have to listen to everyone. Listen and learn from your children. And when you have positive mindset about any initiative, it will always create opportunities. Always. With an optimistic attitude, obstacles won't exist."
Originally from Sweden, Louise, her husband Alexander and children Seth, Alexia and Alba came to Milwaukee from Germany to enjoy all of what Milwaukee's neighborhoods have to offer. Creative and innovative people, an entrepreneurial possibility presented itself in a very unexpected way.
One evening, as Louise was bathing and dressing her three children, daughter Alexia asked her to attach her favorite stuffed animal to the front of her fleece blanket. Being open to the wisdom of her daughter but not yet knowing how to sew, Louise purchased a sewing machine, children's clothing patterns, fabric, and stuffed animals. The HoodiePet was born, the product of a child's imagination and Louise's responsiveness and initiative.
The HoodiePet is cuddly fun to wear and encourages creative play with your favorite pet. the fleece hoodie has a plush animal toy and puppet that attaches with Velcro to the front. The pets are interchangeable, each has its own personality and biography, helping children learn more about our planet's animal kingdom. Children trade, collect, and play with their favorite HoodiePets.
The HoodiePet was immediately popular with schoolmates, neighbors, and other friends who participated in focus groups to help them modify and improve the product.
"We feel like we've been 'in the zone'...it's exhilarating." said Louise. "The support of BizStarts Milwaukee came just as it was needed. At the end of summer 2011, we were running at 180mph and knew it was time for local marketing intelligence and working capital. Eric Paulsen provided assistance, connections, and direction for the needed financing through WWBIC. Because we wanted to promote a Wisconsin presence, to contribute and stay a part of this community, we have chosen firms here to assist us. And we will crate four new positions by the end of the year."
"The support of BizStarts Milwaukee came just as we needed it. Eric Paulsen provided assistance and direction for our financing through WWBIC, a successful lever in making all of this happen."
HoodiePet sells online at HoodiePet.com and also has a kiosk at Mayfair Mall. Watch for more outlets and further expansions in their product line as they expand with future rounds of investment.