I am so excited for today’s post because I got the chance to interview the founder of one of my very favorite companies, Happy Baby!
My love for Happy Baby (or Happy Family Brands, the broader company) started long before I had a child of my own. I actually interned for Happy Baby when I was a senior in college and had such a great experience with the company. As soon as my little guy was ready for snacks and pouches, I started buying their products and couldn’t be happier with them.
One of the Happy Family founders, Jessica Rolph, just launched a new play gym company called LOVEVERY (also available here on Amazon <- affiliate link). It is a beautiful play gym designed based on neuroscience and babies’ developmental needs. I love the streamlined design, as some play gyms can be really overstimulating for little ones.
This is not a sponsored post, I just love the concept behind the play gym, and wanted to share.
I hope you enjoy the interview with Jessica Rolph!
Q: Tell us a little about yourself, your family, and your business
At my best, I’m a successful serial entrepreneur, passionate about early life nutrition and learning, and a loving mother of three little people. At my worst, I am overwhelmed, have a chronically messy house, and drive my husband nuts with my constant juggle.
I launched Happy Family 10 years ago with my partner, and together we grew the company into the top organic baby and toddler food brand. Now I’m the cofounder and CEO of Lovevery, a company offering play products designed by child development experts to help parents feel confident they are giving their children exactly what they need at each stage of development.
Q: How have your own children influenced your business ventures?
My partner at Happy Family and I actually didn’t have children when we first started the company. We are both passionate about healthy foods, and my partner saw an opportunity to create a new baby food company that made the possibility of organic mainstream and affordable.
A few years into Happy Family, I started having my own babies. I found myself curious about what my babies’ brains were craving. My birthing instructor gave me a copy of a doctoral thesis on infant brain development called “Neural Foundations – What Stimulation Your Baby Needs to Become Smart”. It had all these detailed, nerdy, cool things that I could do with my child that felt really natural and simple. I couldn’t help but pouring myself into It and it totally transformed my experience as a parent. I discovered the world through my child’s eyes and felt connected to my baby because I was giving him what he was hungry to learn. I was dissatisfied with the toys we had, and started making my own learning tools. I wanted to share what has inspired me with other families, which is why we created Lovevery.
Q: I’ve been a stay at home mom for the past year and am about to go back to work. Do you have any tips on finding balance for working moms?
Balance is so hard, but the thing that has helped me to feel as good as I can about the juggle is when I am able to be really present when I am with the kids and enjoy them. It is so hard to do, especially during the work week when I have trouble shutting off the problems my brain has been chewing on all day. The weekends are a little easier because we have more time to get into flow with the kids.
I also have accepted that there will always be a mess somewhere, and stuff to do around the house, and I try to ignore it. One suggestion a friend had is to make a list of all the things that you are not going to do when you go back to work and try to get to peace with this list. We have hired a lot of moms who are ready to come back to work, and one thing that seems to cause the most stress, is that they can’t do what they did so well as a mom before they had a job outside the home. They don’t have time to keep making their baby’s meals homemade, or they can’t pull together a pinterest perfect crafty birthday party – all things that brought them joy when they were at home but we just don’t have time for when back to work. If you can afford it, getting help with house cleaning, laundry, and buying pre-prepped food can really help. Something’s gotta give!
Q: What was your inspiration for creating the Lovevery baby gym and how is it different from other baby gyms on the market?
The play gym has so much potential to be a platform for learning for the first 12 months, but I wasn’t satisfied with what was on the market. I had a Montessori bell on a ribbon from etsy, wooden grasping rings, had printed out some black and white designs, and a Montessori graspable ball – but they weren’t convenient, safe (close supervision required with laminated black and white cards, bell on a ribbon, and the wooden rings cracked.)
We designed the play gym with Montessori principles in mind, so babies can practice important skills like grasping, batting, mouthing, looking at dynamic visual stimulation and engaging their developing senses. We also included a book on baby development and activities of how to play with the gym that helps parents know how they can help at each stage.
Q: Do you have plans to expand Lovevery beyond the beautiful baby gym? What products might we see next?
Yes! More coming soon 🙂 Stay tuned this summer!
Q: Did your work as a founding partner for Happy Family prepare you for launching this latest venture? What do the two companies have in common?
There are so many new things to learn with each new business, and I’m trying not to learn every new lesson the hard way! I know that starting a business is all-consuming, and that I need to practice “passionate detachment.” This means remaining passionate and caring deeply, but also not letting every little issue consume me!
Thank you Jessica for sharing your story!