When most kids are in third grade, they learning their first multiplication tables and reading their first first chapter books. But last year, Shelton Elementary School student Adele Fulton achieved …
This item is available in full to subscribers.
If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.
Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.
If you made a voluntary contribution in 2020-2021, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.
When most kids are in third grade, they learning their first multiplication tables and reading their first first chapter books.
But last year, Shelton Elementary School student Adele Fulton achieved a much different sort of first: she was issued her first patent.
That patent, received in October, was for a unique backpack called the Lovie Window that includes a pocket where a stuff animal can be placed along with a plastic “window” that allows the stuff animal inside to be seen.
Fulton said she came up with the idea for the Lovie Window about four years ago after facing a simple but nonetheless very distressing problem: she was having trouble falling asleep during her pre-school’s nap time because she was worried about her stuffed toy — which she calls a stuffy or a lovie — in her backpack.
“When I went home my dad was like ‘what are you going to do about that?’” Adele said. “And then I was like ‘I need a backpack with a window.’”
So Adele and her dad, David Fulton, cut a hole in the center of her backpack and then glued a piece of plastic in to create the first Lovie Window. It then wasn’t long before Adele found herself wanting to share her invention.
“Maybe a month afterwards I was like: I really like this, why not share it with the world?” she said.
So Adele and David turned set up a Kickstarter page (Kickstarter is an online fundraising platform) to try to raise money to start manufacturing the backpacks. David said going the Kickstarter route made sense because it would also allow them to see how much demand their might actually be for such a backpack.
It turned out there was a pretty decent amount — enough to exceed the $4,500 goal the two set for the Kickstarter campaign within the 90-day deadline. But that fundraising period, it turned out, would be easy in comparison to what was to come.
David next reached out to a friend who had experience with manufacturing in China and helped connect Adele and David to a factory that could produce the first run of backpacks (David said it took a little convincing to get them to come down from their typical 2,000 product minimum order).
What followed was a yearslong process to get the backpacks produced that involved everything from COVID-19-related delays to a lengthy process to make sure the backpacks were approved as safe for use by kids.
“I totally did not know that was a thing and how expensive that was,” said David of the safety testing.
But that lengthy manufacturing process recently came to an end, when Adele received some big news from her dad.
“I came home from school and he was like ‘you have 750 backpacks in the garage,’” she said.
In the weeks since, Adele and her dad have been busy distributing backpacks to those who supported the initial Kickstarter. They do so by hand if the contributor lives in Golden and use the mail if they live out of state. Adele has also been busy hand signing cards that are sent to everyone who contributed or has since ordered a backpack.
With the first order of backpacks now received, Adele said she is now hoping to continue selling backpacks to finish paying off the costs of manufacturing the initial batch. At that point, she will then be able to start collecting the profits.
“I think it’s more than just a fun little story,” said David, who points to a recent experiment conducted by a kindergarten teacher who said 21 of 22 students in her class preferred the Lovie Window over a more typical backpack design. “There are millions of five-year-olds and so we need to find them.”
But whatever happens going forward, David said he is already plenty proud — and even a little jealous — of his daughter.
“I’m a little mad because I like to invent stuff too and my daughter beat me to a patent,” he jokes.
Adele, meanwhile, already has her eyes on the next problem she would like to solve.
“At school, we put our backpacks on the backs of our chairs and they always end up tipping over,” she said. “So, I’m trying to come up with something that will make our chairs not fall over.”
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.