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Meet The Couple Behind 'Kentuckymojis'

Courtesy Kentuckymojis

Evan and Claire Purmort came up with the idea for their mobile app in the most Kentucky way possible: Early last year the couple was at brunch, iPhones out, bemoaning the lack of a mint julep emoji.

Neither was experienced in mobile software application development -- Evan works in insurance while Claire is an interior designer -- but within minutes, they compiled a list of emojis they felt were essential for sending Kentucky-themed text messages.

We’re talking bourbon bottles, Ale-8, Derby hats, Louisville Slugger Bats, Muhammad Ali -- and yes, even a burning couch. The couple decided to see the project through, resulting in the 2015 launch of the Kentuckymoji keyboard.

Evan, who was raised in Ohio, says that the project was a natural fit given Claire’s deep love of her home state.

“If you’re not from Kentucky, you probably would not know this, but we were allowed to watch all the tournament day games during school -- which looking back on it is absurd, but was great at the time," Claire, a Lexington native, says. “In fact, the only time I have ever gotten in trouble in my whole academic career was in fifth grade for being too disruptive during the University of Kentucky’s ‘96 tournament championship run."

In order to turn their idea into a reality, the couple reached out to several freelance graphic designers and software developers, who turned Kentuckymojis into an international project of sorts.

“The software developer was from Vietnam, which I just thought was kind of wild,” Evan says. “And then the graphic designer was from Spain.”

Working with people from other countries lead to some of Evan and Claire's ideas getting a little lost in translation, like having to explain to someone from another country why they wanted an emoji of a burning couch.

“Sometimes, we had to get pretty hands-on and actually sketch out what a gooey Hot Brown actually looks like, for example,” Claire says.

There are now over 75 individual Kentuyckymojis that iPhone users can download. Evan says that he has marketed the app exclusively on Instagram, but it has already gained some popularity.

“I even had a good friend of mine jokingly say, ‘I don’t need to use words during tournament time,’” Claire says. “And she kind of tongue and cheek continued, ‘Not that I’m very articulate during tournament time anyway.’”