Hien is now 11 years old. When he was 10, he invented the erasable backpack with the help of his father. While father and son were watching & admiring some kids skating and practicing tricks at a local skate park, Hien noticed the backpacks some of the kids were wearing. They were just regular Jansport canvas backpack; but they were beautifully decorated with Sharpie permanent marker. Hien commented to his father about how cool those backpacks were. Then he said: “If I do that with my backpack, you would yell at me, right dad?” His father did not answer right away because he knows how much Hien loves to doodle. Hien had been doodling/drawing when he was about 6 years old. He was a talented doodler at the young age. His father bought him art supplies to encourage Hien’s artistic hobby. He understood and encouraged his son’s love of art. That’s why his father paused for awhile without answering his son’s question. Even before his father could answer, Hien continued: “what if we can create a backpack that is erasable? That way, I can doodle/draw and erase without getting in trouble.” “YES”, his father answered quickly. He realized how cool Hien’s idea was. “That’s right, son. If we can create an erasable backpack, kids like you could express their artistic creativity whenever and wherever they want. They could erase to create new art when they have new idea or inspiration. That’s a genius idea, son,” his father continued.
When they got home, they started working on developing the idea. The father and son researched to figure out how to make an erasable backpack. After many trials and errors, they finally settled on a simple yet effective solution: PVC plastic + liquid chalk markers. People have been using liquid chalk to write on glass surfaces like window of stores or restaurant. It is useful because it is easily erasable and there are multiple beautiful colors. Hien’s father started looking for manufacturer that could make the backpack with PVC surface and supplier for liquid chalk markers. Because the users of this cool backpack will mostly be kids, his father wanted to make sure the material going into the backpack and markers are safe. He found manufactures and suppliers for the backpack and the chalk markers. He also worked with them to make sure the products are BPA free and toxic free. So, Hien and his father ordered the first batch of backpacks and chalk markers to test the market. Hien’s missions were to help other kids have a backpack that let them customize with their own unique design, to express themselves, and to make a statement with their backpacks. The more they express themselves artistically, the more creative they will become. We all know that creativity is an important factor in determining our success in life. Life and work are about problem solving. Creativity helps us find auspicious solution that ameliorates our lives and works.
Hien and his father also wanted to help charities. They want to donate some backpacks to underprivileged children so that they will have a chance to express themselves artistically, to make a statement, and to stand out and be unique. This will consequentially improve their creativity, self-confidence, and self-esteem. Improving these three characteristics will definitely increase their chance of success. For every 5 backpacks sold, 1 will be donated to a charity that helps kids. There are many charities that help underprivileged children. There are charities that use art as therapy for kids who are undergoing cancer treatment and for their siblings. There are charities that help kids cope with grief of losing loved ones through art. All these kids can benefit from having an erasable backpack that let them create art on the go whenever & wherever they want. ChalkWild was created to bring these cool backpacks to the hands of kids who enjoy creating art, expressing themselves, and making a statement. Improving creativity, self-confidence, and self-esteem are the life-changing benefits of creating & showcasing art.
Even though Hien is an elementary school student, he runs this business with the help of his father. His father, who has experience in sales and marketing, helps Hien devise & execute marketing strategies. He would make sales appointment after school so that Hien can attend. Hien appeared on the front page of the Modesto Bee and was interviewed on live television by Good Day Sacramento. He also got a letter from former US President Barack Obama. He also has been giving speech at various events in Modesto area. Many local leaders and politicians know Hien and applaud & support his endeavor. Hien and his father are determined to bring more ChalkWild erasable backpacks to more children in the US and later to the world so that kids will have a chance to be kids, to be creative, to express themselves, to stand out or to be different, and to make a statement. Kids should be more creative and confident. They will grow up with the right skills to conquer the world.