Thursday, May 30, 2024
HomeFounderTalkThe days are long but the years are short

The days are long but the years are short

Lovevery Playthings are made with sustainable, organic, and natural materials that are good for your child

Why don’t you briefly introduce yourself and Lovevery to our readers?

I’m Jessica Rolph, Cofounder and CEO of Lovevery. I’m Roderick Morris, Cofounder and President of Lovevery.

JESSICA ROLPH: Lovevery is a stage based early-learning program, sold by subscription, that helps parents feel confident they are giving their children the very best start. All of our playthings are designed in house, and each Play Kit includes thoughtfully created toys that support all kinds of learning within a developmental window-language, math, physics, fine and gross motor skills, and social-emotional learning. 

Why did you decide to start a company?

 JESSICA ROLPH: I’ve always been passionate about early childhood. As I began my family I started to look for a more thoughtful way to play. I discovered a doctoral thesis on infant brain development that had all these detailed, nerdy, cool things that I could do. It felt really natural and simple and I never looked at our toys the same again. My child and I were connected and I had confidence that I understood what he was hungry to learn. I wanted to share that feeling of confidence with other parents. Lovevery brings confidence to parents who want to make playtime smart.

RODERICK MORRIS: When Jessica came across the doctoral thesis, I was working at Opower—an American software company that helped families save energy—where I managed marketing, operations, and helped lead the team through its IPO. I got a call from Jessica, and we started talking about the research and experimentation that she’d been doing building her own toys at home. It became immediately clear to me that she was onto something and that we should team up to pursue it further. In 2017, we launched with Lovevery’s first product: The Play Gym.

What was the biggest challenge in founding Lovevery?

JESSICA ROLPH: At my first company, Happy Family, getting to product market fit was a challenge and we really struggled in the beginning. We had to pivot multiple times to find products that would best suit both our customers and retailers. Learning from that experience made a difference when we were trying to get Lovevery off the ground. Rod and I were determined through lots of parent testing to get our first product right. We had so many initial designs that didn’t work, and kept going back to design and testing. While it took us a while to get there, our first product—The Play Gym—became a top-selling product in the category right off the bat. 

Can you start with an idea when not everything is perfect yet?

JESSICA ROLPH: The truth is, it may never be perfect in your own mind. I would suggest taking the emotion out of it (so incredibly hard when you’re pursuing your dream) and just figure out a way to everyday be taking that next baby step. If you break the big vision and inevitable problems into incremental to-dos, you can make a ton of progress. For Lovevery, what took the idea from incubation into the “okay we’re really going to do this” was teaming up with Rod. I believe in partnerships, and needed Rod to make Lovevery really happen. He is strategic, creative and particularly good at making quick, hard decisions.

What is the vision behind Lovevery?

RODERICK MORRIS: Everything that we do at Lovevery is driven by our mission to be a support system for families. It can feel overwhelming and hard at times to sift through and determine what you actually need and what exactly is happening in your child’s brain. 

Lovevery is a simple, verifiable, and holistic resource for families. We know that making it easy to tune into your child’s development helps eliminate that feeling of overwhelm, encourages meaningful parent-child connection, and ultimately leads to greater outcomes for more children. 

Who is Lovevery’s target group?

JESSICA ROLPH: Lovevery’s customers, like all of us parents, are caregivers who want the best for their children. They’re tired of the overwhelm when it comes to what their child is learning. They are asking questions like ‘does this plastic toy with flashing lights and electronic sounds help my child?’ They are looking for a more intentional approach to parenting that puts them in touch with what their child is hungry to learn at each stage. They also want products that are sustainably made with materials they can feel good about. They appreciate that Lovevery is here to help.

2 Year Old Play Kit, ISO, The Enthusiast, Toy

What is special about the products?

 JESSICA ROLPH: We are a simple, verifiable, and holistic resource for families. We provide supportive and informative content, along with sustainable playthings designed by experts and grounded in decades of educational research. We aren’t some kind of top-down authority; we know that great parenting is a mix of intuition and reliable, timely information. To help build confidence, we always deliver our messages from a place of empathy and solidarity. 

What sets you apart from other providers?

RODERICK MORRIS: Lovevery is different because we don’t see ourselves as a toy company—we are a holistic early child development program. 

Our products and books are tailored to each stage of a child’s development from 0 – 48 months. We design original playthings that make the most of a child’s desire to learn. 

Parents and caregivers are also looking for a smarter, more informed approach to supporting their child’s development. In the Play Guides and App that come with the Lovevery subscription, we provide expertise from neuroscientists, speech and language experts, Montessori educators, occupational and physical therapists, and social psychologists.

Where is Lovevery heading? Where do you see yourself in five years?

RODERICK MORRIS:  Lovevery has already become an essential resource for parents around the world. We recently launched our subscription Play Kits program in the U.K. and Europe, which was an important milestone for us. Our goal is to continue listening to our customers, expanding the business, and creating new products that serve children all over the word for more years of their early development. Our long-term vision is to support every part of the parenting experience throughout early childhood. We want to be truly accessible to as many families as possible. 

What 3 tips would you give to aspiring female founders?

JESSICA ROLPH: “Don’t get bogged down by the idea of what success should look like. Instead let yourself be guided by your passion, curiosity and the impact that you want to have on the world.”

“It all comes down to purpose. Instead of framing it as “reaching the top”, think of what will allow you to live the most fully and to share your unique talents with the world. Success is likely to follow.”

“My mantra right now is: the days are long but the years are short. This feels very true for my life as a parent and as CEO. I’m always trying to find a way to be more present and enjoy the journey.”

Picture Jessica Rolph with family (left) nd Roderick Morris with family

Thank you Jessica Rolph and Roderick Morris for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

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