FAIRFIELD, Conn. — When you’re just starting a business, there are a lot worse things than getting an e-mail that says “Martha Stewart loves you.”
And that’s just what happened to the Fairfield teen siblings who’ve created 3Dux/Design, a line of architectural play sets for young designers.
About a week ago, Martha Stewart Living included the 3-month-old company’s wares in “8 of Our Favorite American-Made Goods to Gift This Year.”
“Keep the kiddos entertained all winter break long with these DIY design kits -- made for kids by kids,” the MSL listing says.
Ayana and Ethan Klein were at a two-day vendor event in Brooklyn when — unbeknownst to them — someone from Stewart’s company must have checked out their architectural sets.
The next thing they knew, they had received their little love note from the domestic doyenne and a request for a photo to use with the online nod.
“They got picked up by Martha Stewart Living the old-fashioned way — pure luck,” said their mom, Marci Klein, who helps with the burgeoning business that has become a family affair.
And Stewart’s approval is just one bit of good news the company has been enjoying in its first few months.
The company’s sets are now being used in eight local schools, and 50 kids at The Discovery Museum in Bridgeport used their kits to create a city of the future on World Science Day for Peace and Development last month.
In fact, the museum’s gift shop even sells a 3Dux/Design rocket ship sporting the museum logo.
This weekend, they’ll be among 70 vendors at the Lightfoot Market, the first “carbon neutral” market in New York City.
After focusing on the holiday gift rush for kids, Klein said her children are considering branching out into art and occupational therapy ideas.
3Dux President Ayana, 18, and Ethan, 14, the company’s chief of engineering, are both full-time students at Fairfield Warde High School. They depend on their mom to help with a lot of the company’s back-end work.
But the teens are heavily involved with talking up their products on the maker scene. A lot of it comes naturally to the kids.
“When we were younger, we were always encouraged to make things rather than buy them,” said Ayana. “We used to go to the basement, find some cardboard boxes and see what we could make from them.”
The family has basically turned their home’s dining room into a workshop, where 3-D printers churn out the plastic connectors kids use to create inventions out of pre-cut geometric cardboard shapes in the kits.
The Kleins market the products on the strength of the current STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) movement.
“My market research is watching kids play,” said Marci Klein.
For more information, visit www.3duxdesign.com.
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