Watch out Shark Tank – Hien Ho and his ChalkWyld backpack are coming

Vietnam-born Enochs junior turns an idea into a business


Sophie Zehner, Managing Editor

Hien Ho, an immigrant from Vietnam and a junior here at Enochs, created the ChalkWyld backpack when he was 10 years old. He was at a local skate park when he saw some kids drawing on their backpacks, but they were using permanent markers, which they couldn’t erase. He asked his dad if it would be cool if they had backpacks that can be drawn on and reused. That’s when the ChalkWyld backpack was invented.

After many prototypes and other variables, Hein and his father created a backpack that could be drawn on and erased. These backpacks are manufactured in a little factory in China, but Hien is trying to get a source here in America. The front of the backpack is made of see-through PVC plastic. The chalk markers are safe for kids if they ever get them in the mouth and it’s just as easy to wipe off. You can use wet wipes or just a paper towel. The backpacks are $33, but if bought in bulk $22. 

Being a junior with a real business can be very stressful. “It’s a bloody struggle,” Hien states. “I’m turning stuff in late. I am staying up until six [in the morning]. I have to attend meetings every other day and then just build up relations and also juggle all my schoolwork.” 

However, Hien isn’t tackling his business all by himself, he gets a lot of help from his dad. While his dad handles all the logistics, Hein focuses on selling his backpacks to the public. He gives speeches and participates in interviews and prepares the backpacks. He ships them out and gets them ready to go. So far, Hien has sold roughly 10,000 ChalkWyld backpacks.

Though having a full-time business along with being a junior in high school, Hien is glad that he’s able to help kids embrace their creativity. “It feels good and it gives me pride. I think it’s necessary. Kids nowadays are very sheltered. They’re very to themselves, and this is one of the easiest ways that they can easily express themselves.”

The ChalkWyld business has become very popular, and Hien has met with Modesto and Sylvan district superintendents, Josh Harder, Modesto Bee, Fox News and the Sacramento Bee. He’s gotten a letter from former President Barack Obama regarding how helpful ChalkWyld backpacks are to children. A YouTube channel named “On the Spectrum” reviews the ChalkWyld backpack and has very high remarks. Hien has been to multiple conventions where he gave speeches and presented the ChalkWyld backpack.

On his website, Hien has numerous sources from doctors and specialists, all of which have high regards for the ChalkWyld backpack and believe that it is a great way for children to express their creativity. “They’re showing appreciation for the work that I’ve put in, the hours and years, slowly building up people are starting to recognize, which again gives me pride.”

Not only does Hien sell these backpacks on his website, but he’s also donating them to schools and donation centers. “I feel like I’m kind of helping the community by donating these backpacks. Recently I just donated about 100 backpacks to the Salvation Army, 50 backpacks to the Stockton Homeless Kids Association and to schools as well.” 

Since he’s a junior in high school, and still trying to figure out what he wants to do in life, Hien isn’t quite sure if he wants to continue the ChalkWyld business or move on. “I think I’m split between the choice of becoming a lawyer and focusing on the business. I’m probably leaning on the business right now since it’s slowly growing exponentially.” 

If you want to buy your own ChalkWyld backpack, visit: