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Elephant Hooks™ designed by 8th grade students in dig-8, a product development program. They are ready to bring their product to life.
Elephant Hooks™ designed by 8th grade students in dig-8, a product development program. They are ready to bring their product to life.
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229 backers pledged $10,864 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$10,864

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The dig-8 Story 

***Update! As we approach our initial goal, it's important that you know that Kickstarter fully supports us exceeding our goal; your continued support beyond our goal will help us spread dig-8 and SEE to more kids and more schools!***

Four months ago, 44 eighth grade public school students in Chicago set out to do what very few kids are allowed to do.

They were allowed to invent.

The dig-8 team at Nettelhorst School, a Chicago Public School.
The dig-8 team at Nettelhorst School, a Chicago Public School.

Dig-8 stands for Discover, Innovate, Grow, and is the eighth grade component of the dig program. 

Split into eight teams, the students worked with product design professionals from Beyond Design, Inc. and mentors from Northwestern University to conceive and visualize their optimal solution to the problem: What do I do with my stuff when I walk into my house?

To answer this question, they asked: Whose problem are we really solving? What kind of environments do people live and work in? Where do people store their coats, bags and important belongings? To better understand this problem, students conducted design research. Each team created a persona (customer-profile) so they could successfully design a product relevant to their target audience. 

During the brainstorming session, concept ideas were drawn on post-its. By the end of the day, the walls were covered with over 600 ideas - all from kids who aren't old enough to drive!

Over 600 ideas were created during the brainstorming session of dig-8.
Over 600 ideas were created during the brainstorming session of dig-8.

From there, the teams (with the help of their mentors) developed big ideas that captured important features and benefits. Teams created mock-ups to visualize and test their ideas, they also learned about CAD and how to make drawings so parts could be fabricated in production materials. Students conducted market research and segmentation, and calculated production estimates and pricing strategies.

The "big ideas" from each team.
The "big ideas" from each team.

All of this effort was focused on the big moment: the team presentations. A panel of entrepreneurs and experts would hear the eight pitches, ask questions, and select the best solution to move forward for the marketplace (which proved to be a very difficult decision for them). The entire 8th grade class has now joined as one large team and their focus is on making the chosen design, the Elephant Hooks™, come to life.

Elephant Hooks™

The concept chosen to move forward is called Elephant Hooks™. Perhaps it was the inspiration behind the design that led the panelists to their decision, best described by one of the student’s…In their natural habitats, a baby elephant will grab onto its mother’s tail for security. Because they travel in herds, we wanted to create a product that would represent that and also be attractive to a family.”

Elephant Hooks™ Inspiration
Elephant Hooks™ Inspiration
Sketching the "big idea" for the Elephant Hooks™
Sketching the "big idea" for the Elephant Hooks™
Elephant Hooks™ mock -up
Elephant Hooks™ mock -up
Elephant Hooks™ 2-dimensional CAD drawing
Elephant Hooks™ 2-dimensional CAD drawing
Elephant Hooks™ Prototypes
Elephant Hooks™ Prototypes
Hanging the Elephant Hooks™
Hanging the Elephant Hooks™

Elephant Hooks™ are designed in three different sizes – baby (small), mama (medium), and papa (large). They are made from laser cut and formed steel that are powder-coated with a colorful and durable coating. Each elephant easily screws into your wall with the screws serving as their eyes.

Dimensions of the Elephant Hooks™:

Papa Elephant (Large) - W: 7.875" H: 8.0"

Mama Elephant (Medium) - W: 7.125" H: 7"

Baby Elephant (Small) - W: 6.25" H: 5.75"

Papa Elephant Hook (Teal)
Papa Elephant Hook (Teal)
Mama Elephant Hook (Purple)
Mama Elephant Hook (Purple)
Baby Elephant Hook (Ivory)
Baby Elephant Hook (Ivory)

You can hang umbrellas, hats, scarves, jackets, jewelry, robes, headphones, etc. from the trunk of the elephant or on either ear. The large Elephant Hooks™ also have tusks for hanging keys or other small objects. The Elephant Hooks™ make a great gift or addition to any environment, any wall, anywhere!

Who We Are

Elephant Hooks™ were invented by 8th grade student entrepreneurs in Chicago, as part of a startup volunteer organization called The Science and Entrepreneurship Exchange (SEE), which plans to encompasses dig-1 (1st grade) through dig-8 (8th grade). SEE’s promising pilots have paired elementary and middle school students with university and professional mentors, bringing the real world into the classroom, and the classroom into the real world.

Through research and collaboration, constructive failure, positive role modeling and pretty much everything else you'd find in a real-world startup, these young students gain mindset, passion and design/engineering/entrepreneurship skills that will serve them throughout their lives.

The goal of SEE is to spread this capacity to mentor, inspire and educate young students, and demonstrate through real-world experiences how they can turn their ideas into products and themselves into entrepreneurs and other business professionals. 

What You’re Supporting

You are helping bring the Elephant Hooks™ to life.

Your support will give these 44 middle school students the opportunity to say they were part of a real startup, with a real product. The funds raised will go toward tooling, production, and shipping costs for the Elephant Hooks sent out as gifts for your kind donations.

In addition, your support will validate SEE's vision to help shape the next generation of innovators. More photos of SEE in action at http://see-chicago.tumblr.com/.

What are the rewards?

We deeply value your support. The different materials and color options for the Elephant Hooks™ are shown below. 

Baby (Small) Elephant Hook
Baby (Small) Elephant Hook
Mama (Medium) Elephant Hook
Mama (Medium) Elephant Hook
Papa (Large) Elephant Hook
Papa (Large) Elephant Hook
Elephant Hooks™ - Powder Coated
Elephant Hooks™ - Powder Coated
Elephant Hooks™ - Brushed Stainless
Elephant Hooks™ - Brushed Stainless
Elephant Hooks™  - Chrome Plated
Elephant Hooks™ - Chrome Plated
Elephant Hooks™ Color Options (colors may not be the exact Pantone match)
Elephant Hooks™ Color Options (colors may not be the exact Pantone match)

Special Thanks

Special thanks to the SEE volunteers and mentors from both Beyond Design, Inc. and Northwestern University for making this program a success!

Risks and challenges

We want to assure you that we have done our due diligence to minimize the engineering and manufacturing risks. We have already completed our prototypes and are ready for production. The Elephant Hooks™ will be manufactured at a Chicago-based sheet metal fabrication shop. The shop recently purchased a laser cutting machine that can cut up to ½ inch of steel. The brushed stainless Elephant Hooks™ will be finished at the same facility, while the powder-coated and chrome-plated ones will be sent out for finishing. Since the fabrication shop is right down the street, we are able to keep a close eye on everything to ensure timely delivery.

The last hurdle is to obtain the funding needed to manufacture the Elephant Hooks™. We even have students from the dig-8 program ready to package and ship these products when the time comes!

Thank you so much for taking a look…and for your support!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Be a part of something truly great. Heartfelt thanks from the entire dig-8 team…you are helping bring The Elephant Hooks™ to life!

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A lovely, personalized “thank you” card from the dig-8 team.

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    3 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    BABY ELEPHANT HOOK. Start your collection with a small elephant in ivory.

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    33 backers
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    MAMA ELEPHANT HOOK. Add to your collection with a medium elephant in purple.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    PAPA ELEPHANT HOOK. Get the largest size elephant in teal (has tusks for extra hanging!).

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    31 backers
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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    BABY (SMALL) ELEPHANT HOOK IN BRUSHED STAINLESS. A timeless piece that fits any décor.

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    8 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    BABY GIRL AND BOY ELEPHANT HOOKS™. Get two small elephants in light pink and light blue.

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    3 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    ELEPHANT HOOKS™ FAMILY. Get one small elephant in ivory, one medium elephant in purple, and one large elephant in teal.

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    60 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    MAMA (MEDIUM) ELEPHANT HOOK IN BRUSHED STAINLESS. A timeless piece that fits any décor.

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    9 backers
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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    PAPA (LARGE) ELEPHANT HOOK IN BRUSHED STAINLESS. A timeless piece that fits any décor.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    MULTI-COLORED BABY ELEPHANT HOOKS™. Get four small elephants in cherry, orange, lemon, and lime.

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    8 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    ELEPHANT HOOKS™ FAMILY IN BRUSHED STAINLESS. Get one small, one medium, and one large elephant that fit any décor.

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    27 backers
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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    ELEPHANT HOOKS™ FAMILY MOUNTED ON WOOD. Get one small elephant in ivory, one medium elephant in purple, and one large elephant in teal - all mounted to a piece of wood for easy hanging.

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    0 backers
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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    ELEPHANT HOOKS™ IN BRUSHED STAINLESS MOUNTED ON WOOD. Get one small brushed stainless elephant, one medium brushed stainless elephant, and one large brushed stainless elephant - all mounted to a piece of wood for easy hanging.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    ELEPHANT HOOKS™ FAMILY IN CHROME. Your generosity is overwhelming. You'll get these exclusive Elephant Hooks and we'll also give you a special mention on our soon-to-be website acknowledging your contribution!

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Funding period

- (30 days)