Just before her ninth birthday in November of this year, Maya Grace launched her line of interactive toys, Wigglo Pets. Seeing how much children are enjoying the toy, Maya has decided to donate twenty-five of her handmade pets as stocking stuffers for families in need through the Unity Shoppe.
“I have already made back my investment, and I want to give back to kids who might not be able to afford toys this holiday,” said the fourth grader at Hollister School.
Maya is an accomplished artist having won art competitions locally at the Santa Barabra Fair and Expo, the Lemon Festival, the Santa Barbara Zoo, The Santa News-Press, statewide through Gelson’s Market and nationally via Family Fun Magazine. She’s also a lover of animals. So, her toy, The Wigglo Pet was a combination of both of her passions.
Maya has always used her art as a way to help others. At the beginning of 2010 she sold art pieces she created to help the victims of the tsunami in Haiti, donating over $650 to Direct Relief International. In November of 2011, she hosted an art show in Santa Barbara to benefit The Santa Barbara Humane Society, raising over $1,400 for the organization.
Maya has decided that a percentage of the sale of each of her Wigglo Pets will be donated directly to KidzForACure, a charity started by her older sister, Madison, five years ago to help raise funds for pediatric cancer research.
Within the first month of launching her business, Maya has received requests from as far away as Canada, Romania, New Zealand and Singapore. She has seen children locally fall in love with her toys. And, the reason is due to the Wigglo Pets’s unique ability to respond to a person’s touch. “Kids can’t get enough of Wigglos,” she says. “The holidays are about giving and this is my way to do that. I want to spread that fun to kids who might not be able to buy one.”
Each Wigglo Pet is hand-created by Maya in her makeshift office, a folding card table in the family’s garage. She makes boy and girl versions (eyelashes vs. no lashes) as well as three different patterns (original tiger, neon tiger and cow/dog). The best way to see the magic of these creations is to check out her one-minute, tongue-in-cheek video on YouTube here. You can also follow all that is Wigglo on her facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/WiggloPets). There you can also place orders, request the next style of Wigglos the entrepreneur will add to her line, as well as get the answer to the question everyone is asking: “How do they work?”
Wigglos are also available on Fiverr as well as on Etsy. She’ll be offering her toys for sale at the Garden Street Academy’s Annual Holiday Boutique on December 1st from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm at 2300 Garden Street in Santa Barbara. Maya is hoping to get her toys into local stores soon so she can reach even more pet lovers.
“The most important thing I can do with the quick success I have had with Wigglos,” begins the nine-year old, “is to help my friends, family and others in need. I’m just hoping that Wigglos will bring smiles to the faces of children during these holidays when they see them poking their eyes over their stockings.”
Maya Grace is a fourth grade student at Hollister School in Goleta. She loves science, art, animals and basketball. She lives at home with her parents, her sister and her two-year old Boxer mix, Lucy.