We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Sprinkle Brown and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melissa, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
For the past 14 years, I have built my career in private equity, which required a fair amount of travel away from home. When my kids were babies, the travel was manageable, but as they grew into pre-school and elementary age, it became harder and harder to leave. When my suitcase came out, so did the emotions and I needed to find something to help them manage while I was gone. When my research came up empty, I believed that other families had similar struggles and I felt inspired to create something to ease the temporary pain of a parent going on a trip.
We wanted the product to be fun and whimsical, but one distinction that we felt was important was to have a foundation of child psychology principles supporting the book. We spent time meeting with a child psychologist to understand the emotions that children experience during a short time of separation from a parent and tools that help mitigate those emotions.
When the pandemic hit, we initially thought “well there goes the travel market and need for our product with it”. But we soon realized that the emotional need was intensified because parents and kids spent so much time together and the reemergence into the travel world would be that much harder. We believe in family connectivity and the travel toolkit is designed to help kids feel supported and give parents the confidence to get back out there with a little help from Lou!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Lou Comes to You is a product designed to help parents and kids handle times of separation. The toolkit is centered around Lou, a loveable kangaroo friend who hops from house-to-house visiting kids whose parents are traveling. Lou is a cuddly plushie who comes to life in the pages of a light-hearted picture book. This ‘tall tale for short goodbyes’ validates the emotions kids feel when a parent is away while building practical skills and emotional intelligence along the way. Lou’s toolkit includes a countdown calendar to help kids untangle time and a wall map to track family trips, while sparking curiosity about the wider world. Plus, Lou’s plush pouch is perfect for tucking away reminders of a traveling parent and other treasures.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a big shout out to my supportive husband and co-creator, Sam Brown. Most husbands would laugh at a crazy idea to create a children’s product, but Sam jumped right in and helped me bring the idea to life. We spent endless date nights writing, researching and drafting out the prototypes. He brought structure and process to my wild ideas. We are ying and yang in the best sense and Lou is the product of our shared vision to help kids and parents handle time apart.
Aside from Sam, I want to give a shout out to all of the amazing partners that helped bring Lou to life. We have an incredible team that brought their own artistry and style to the creation of Lou. Our creative director, Chad Beckerman, our illustrator Josh Cleland, our manufacturer Happy Worker and our branding firm Make & Matter spent countless hours dedicated to making Lou the best possible product for kids.
Lastly, I want to give a shout out to my parents who supported and encouraged us every step of the way. My Dad recently passed away and I’m so grateful that he was able to see the finished product.
Linkedin: Melissa Sprinkle Brown
Other: instagram: @loucomestoyou
Photo Credit: Weston Carls Photography