Monthly Parenting Magazine

Interview: Jessica Rolph and Roderick Morris, foun...

Interview: Jessica Rolph and Roderick Morris, founders of Lovevery

Lovevery Lifestyle

Absolutely Mama meets Jessica Rolph and Roderick Morris, co-founders of Lovevery...

Jessica Rolph and Roderick Morris, co-founders of Lovevery, talk to us about parenthood, running a business, and the science behind their stage focused play kits and toys.

What inspired you to create Lovevery? Did you have a lightbulb moment?

JESSICA ROLPH: The idea for Lovevery started when I became a first-time parent. One day I was watching my baby play with one of those plastic toys with flashing lights. The question I had was, why do toys like this exist and what do they do for development? As co-founder of Happy Family, the leading organic baby food company in the US, I was already interested in children’s health and development. I felt confident about how my baby’s food was helping his body grow, but I wasn’t so sure about how his toys were helping his brain grow.

I discovered a doctoral thesis on infant brain development that had all these detailed, nerdy, things that I could do with my baby. The approach felt really natural and simple and I never looked at my children’s toys the same way again. 

What took the idea from incubation into the “okay we’re really going to do this” was teaming up with my Cofounder, Rod Morris. I believe in partnerships, and needed Rod to make Lovevery really happen. He is strategic, creative, and particularly good at making quick, hard decisions. He is rigorous about establishing and maintaining our company’s growth, and is a discerning team-builder. 

We launched with our first product, The Play Gym, in 2017 which became an instant top-seller in the category. A year later in 2018 we launched our early learning program, The Play Kits. We now have over 260,000 families who are subscribed to our early learning program.  

How did your own parenthood journies play into the decision to launch the brand? 

RODERICK MORRIS: When we started working on Lovevery, I had just finished going through the first few years of early childhood with my twins. They are older now, but I would have loved to have an option like Lovevery as a parent when they were born. When you have two children at the same time, it tunes you into not only how each child can flourish in their own unique way but how they can do so even more with the right support from their parents. I’ve been very involved in supporting their learning over the years and we have always taken a conservative approach to screen time in our home, so it’s natural to have co-created a brand that aligns with that and can be a platform for bringing families together and making the most out of the early years for children. 

Jessica Rolph with her family

Your first successful product was your Play Gym. What do you think made it so popular and how has the brand evolved since you launched it? 

JESSICA ROLPH: At my first company we didn’t have product market fit at launch. We went on instinct of what we thought would perform well and it didn’t work. When we set out with Lovevery, we based our testing for The Play Gym on Stanford’s design thinking model before we launched the company. We followed over two dozen families for a year, went into their homes, and asked their experience with our prototypes which we then applied to our design process. When we finally launched, The Play Gym became an instant top-seller in the category.

We never lost that obsession with testing and with really listening to our customers. Hundreds of hours of play studies with children go into developing each new product. It has created a really positive cycle for us. 

How are you innovating in the children’s toy, play and development space? 

RODERICK MORRIS: While the science aligns on what is best for a child’s brain development, it hasn’t been reaching parents in an accessible way. This is where Lovevery is really able to be of service.

Lovevery is a simple, verifiable, and holistic resource for families–not simply a source for toys. 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. 

As parents, we all crave a human-centered, direct relationship with a brand that we trust. At Lovevery, we offer that nerdy edge when it comes to child development, while also offering greater convenience. We take the science and package it into simple, yet powerful tools and information to inspire greater confidence in parents. 

Throughout the first few years of early life, developmental windows are constantly opening and closing. Our subscription model allows us to be of the most service to parents, delivering products every 2-3 months, just as those developmental windows are beginning to open.

Lovevery Roderickmorris Family
Roderick Morris with his family

How are your products made and how important is sustainability to the business? 

JESSICA ROLPH: Our first strategy for sustainability is always going to be to create products that are built to last. We want to ensure everything we make has the longest life possible—so it can be passed on to another family or made complete again. We thoroughly test our products to make sure they can stand up to lots of play, and when that one piece inevitably gets lost, we replace it. 

Our products are crafted from materials like sustainably harvested wood, organic cotton, OEKO-TEX® fabrics, handcrafted felt, recycled paper, soy-based ink, water-based paints, and bio-based plastics and ship carbon neutral with efficient packaging to reduce waste.

The climate issue is always on our minds, so we launched our Lovevery Commitment to sustainability that is grounded in our commitment to families. Our focus is always going to be child development, and we can’t talk about a child’s development without talking about the future they’re inheriting. 

Our mission and the standards we uphold as a Certified B Corporation, paired with the reach of our community, means that Lovevery can really make a difference in the world.

As parents, what are your favourite ways to play and engage with your little ones? 

JESSICA ROLPH: My little ones are starting to feel “not so little” anymore (currently 7, 9, and 12 years old). My favorite moments of connection and play are the times when we can just BE together and I’m not distracted by my phone or all the to-dos. 

Our family favorite is still getting cozy and reading books together, even my oldest still loves to be read to, and will be interested in almost any book.

For younger little ones I will say, when you can, invest in giving your baby meaningful, real life learning experiences when they are 0 – 3 years old – like showing your baby how things work when walking around the house and talking out loud to them about your everyday life. The brain develops so rapidly during this time, engaging early can make a big difference. 

Do you have any favourite toys from your own childhoods and if so, have any of them inspired the Lovevery range? 

RODERICK MORRIS: I would spend hours on the floor creating with blocks as a child, so I was excited when we launched The Block Set, which offers unique learning benefits that other toys don’t.

Lovevery Lifestyle
Geo Shapes Puzzle from Lovevery's 'The Realist Play Kit'

How do you juggle parenthood and running the business? 

JESSICA ROLPH: It’s so hard! I’m constantly struggling to find balance and soak up meaningful moments as a family. The saying “the days are long but the years are short” is so true. I try to find some times when I can be present and ignore the to-do list at home and work by committing to that 100th lego battle, reading that silly book over and over again, and listening to all of the experimental jokes and “shares”.  I don’t love every minute of parenting, but I love parenting.

RODERICK MORRIS: My wife Andrea and I are a parenting team. She also has her own business, so we are juggling a lot. The most important thing we do (sometimes better than others) is spend time talking to each other about our priorities and plans for our children, and then speaking with them in a way that’s consistent, caring, and aligned.

Best and worst bits about parent life? 

The Best: The hero’s welcome I get when I walk in the door 😉.

The Toughest: For me, (positive) disciplining for my kids and always setting clear, consistent boundaries. I have a hard time knowing how to make the right call.


The Best: Getting wiser from the things my kids teach me. Each of them is growing into a deeper, more thoughtful human being with every passing year. I learn so much from them when I get the chance to see the world in their eyes.

The Toughest: It’s hard drawing a line between being a dad who shares his own challenges and anxieties with his kids so they can learn from his openness vs being a source of constancy and unwavering support that they also need.

And lastly, what should we be watching out for from Lovevery next? 

RODERICK MORRIS: Lovevery has already become an essential resource for parents around the world. We are excited to be expanding our subscription Play Kits program in the U.K. and Europe this October to include 3-year-olds, which is 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 world 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.

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