Lovevery Creates Child’s Play and Adult Work - With a Purpose
As a mother of three, Jessica Rolph’s deep interest in child nutrition led her to create in 2009 the organic baby food company, Happy Family. By 2013, Happy Family had become a mega-brand named by Forbes as one of the fastest-growing women-led companies in the nation. Rolph’s discoveries on how best to feed babies’ bodies led her to research better ways to feed their minds. She discovered that frequent exposure to how the world works helps babies develop richer neural networks. Rolph learned that early childhood development could be enhanced by using play products to create stimulating experiences that matched a child’s developmental needs.
As a parent, Rolph developed good instincts about what parents want for their children. To make her dream a reality, she partnered with Rod Morris, a father with a history of building companies that focus on environmental and social impact. Rolph and Morris decided to name the new company Lovevery; an infinitely expandable platform that could grow to include Lovevery Baby, Lovevery Child, Lovevery Moment, and Lovevery Playtime. Rolph and Morris researched their product ideas by traveling the U.S. and testing product prototypes with many different families. They tracked the babies’ early years of development and created Play Kits that matched the children’s developmental needs. They worked tirelessly to perfect their prototypes used in the initial testing and followed an iterative process to develop final versions of their products. According to Rolph, they learned valuable lessons by working with a diverse population of actual end-users during the testing and prototyping process.
Today, Lovevery is a successful company that delivers stage-based play, activity ideas, and development information for children up to age 3. The company works with child development experts to create play products that give children the best possible start in life. Lovevery’s goal is to help parents feel confident using play products designed to meet their children’s needs at each stage of development.
As Lovevery grew, the company attracted a cadre of highly qualified employees who were inspired to represent the brand in a meaningful way. One of Rolph’s critical steps in expanding Lovevery was to surround herself with positive people who turn goals into reality, motivate her to push forward, and who are experts in their fields.
Rolph and Morris anticipated that the rapidly growing company would need access to top talent, expertise, and tools to innovate and meet market demand. To maintain its rapid market expansion, the company needed to quickly create new products, features, and functionality and regularly expand its product line. Company leaders realized the only way to create and innovate quickly would be to increase Lovevery’s design and prototyping capabilities.
Early on, Lovevery hired Jake Fouts to lead product engineering. Fouts is a talented alumnus of the TechHelp New Product Development Team (NPD) at Boise State. After graduating in 2007, with a degree in Mechanical Engineering (ME), Fouts built his career in various entrepreneurial ventures and larger engineering and manufacturing companies where he gained expertise in consumer products for children. Fouts augmented Lovevery’s talent pool by reaching back to TechHelp, a member of the MEP National Network™. He knew that he could safely leverage the ME talent at the NPD Lab to support Lovevery’s design and prototyping capacity gap. Fouts worked with TechHelp to embed NPD student employees at Lovevery to directly support its design team.
Fouts added NPD Specialist Blaise Lawless to the extended team. As a talented artist, industrial designer, prototype technician, and model maker, Lawless brought a much needed artistic eye to the table. Lawless became such an essential resource that Lovery hired him in 2019 to directly support product development and innovation. Working with TechHelp’s NPD Team at Boise State gave Lovevery opportunities to build their team with lower risk.
The combined Lovevery and TechHelp team recently collaborated in a highly coordinated way to design, develop, and deploy a new product line across multiple product families. This new solution supported the company’s strategy to enhance the customer experience in ways that current products could not. The combination of ongoing product innovation and contributions from key research and development staff resulted in significant investments that led to company growth in sales.