Made in Idaho: Nomi & Brave inspires young girls interested in science

Made in Idaho: Nomi and Brave
Posted at 9:19 AM, Oct 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-18 11:19:21-04

According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, in Idaho, of science, technology, engineering, and math jobs, only 26% are held by women. A Boise mom is doing her part, to get girls inspired by the STEM fields at a young age. Nomi & Brave is this week's Made in Idaho.

Sara Rodewald and her family love visiting science museums.

"It's our favorite place to go. My kids, my husband and I, we love science," Rodewald said.

Two years ago, a trip to the Discovery Center gift shop in Boise led Rodewald to a discovery of her own.

"I realized my son Jacob, who was four at the time, his room was full of solar system stuff, maps, engineering, and airplanes, and my daughter's nursery, she was two, was flowers and bunnies. I thought, she needs a solar system in her room so she can start being curious about this, but nothing really would look good in her room," Rodewald said.

Rodewald went home and with her quilting experience, pieced together a patchwork solar system. Each planet had its own floral fabric in the pinks, yellows, and greens that matched her daughter's room. Then, she digitized the art into a poster and was inspired to start a business.

"I started looking. I looked online, I googled it, I looked at Etsy, and I just could not find anything. Girls have unicorns, and princesses, and mermaids, which my daughter loves, but she also loves dinosaurs and space. So I saw this gap and knew this could be something that I could do," Rodewald said.

Rodewald hired an illustrator to design a character named Nomi, after her own daughter Naomi, and a cute sidekick rabbit named Brave. On quilts, posters, pillows, and toys, the two can be seen flying around the country, the world, and space in hot air balloons and rocket ships.

Nomi & Brave "Travel the Universe" in a picture book, and help other girls explore with a coloring book. The whimsical designs encourage kids to not be afraid of adventure.

"I just want them to know as early as birth, that this is for them too. Not all girls are attracted to pink and purple, but some of them are, and I want them to know that just because you like these things, doesn't mean you can't also do this. It doesn't mean that you can't also pretend to go on an adventure in space and explore dinosaurs," Rodewald said.

Rodewald has since added a boy character too. Jake is Nomi's brother and travels with his teddy bear friend named Scout. In future children's books, Jake and Nomi will explore together as brother and sister.

Rodewald says her ultimate goal is to see Nomi & Brave in museum and zoo gift shops. She's well on her way to achieving that. Nomi & Brave is now available in the Warhawk Air Museum in Nampa. You can also find Nomi & Brave online through an Etsy shop and website, as well as at local events and the Capital City Public Market every Saturday.