Melissa Evans is a mom of four, community fitness instructor, and founder of Momeez Choice, a company that has disrupted the kids remedy category with its Organic Soothing Pops for Kids.
Melissa's Background: A Passion for Helping
Melissa’s passion has always been for children and families. Before having her kids, she earned a master’s degree in Human Relations which led to 10 years of working with at risk youth. After her twins were born, she made the decision to stay at home full-time with her two (soon to be four) children. Still driven with a desire to help people, Melissa began a community fitness group, which she continues to run in her hometown in CT. It was when her daughter was sick that the mix of a lot of love and a little bit of worry sparked the idea for Organic Soothing Pops for Kids.
When Melissa’s daughter got sick, it was a mix of a lot of love and a little bit of worry that sparked the idea for Organic Soothing Pops for Kids.
An Interview with Melissa
Tell us the story. How did the idea for Lolleez come to mind?
Great question. It’s actually a story I think all moms can relate to – a feeling of helplessness when a child is sick and all you want to be able to do is help them feel better. It was about four years ago now when my oldest daughter was sick with a sore throat (we later found out from the doctor that she had strep and pneumonia). I was bringing her to the doctor’s office, and I looked back at her in my rearview mirror. I could just tell how miserable she felt. All I wanted was to soothe her sore throat.
I can remember being so nervous about giving her a cough drop, especially while we were driving, because as a mom, choking hazards for kids are nerve-wracking. I just thought – moms need something we can feel comfortable giving our kids. Wouldn’t it be great to have throat lozenges in the form of a lollipop? And thus the idea for Lolleez was born…
Did you ever think about yourself starting a business?
(Laughs) Absolutely not! My background was in psychology and social work. Never did I dream about building a kids’ remedy brand. Honestly, even when I thought of the idea for Lolleez, I pictured it as this cute family business where we’d make some pops in our kitchen and maybe sell it at the local general store. I NEVER imagined we’d be where we are today. Honestly, I think that naivety helped a lot. Knowing myself, if I had viewed this as a larger business venture, rather than a way to help moms, I would have been scared.
Interviewer: Scared? Of making it a business?
Well, yes! When things started picking up, I kept thinking “it’s not a good time.” The kids had many different activities going on, I was really enjoying the fitness group in town that I was leading, and I didn’t have the first idea about how to get started running a business, let alone balance it with my usual day to day schedule. Then I realized that, in life, it’s really never the perfect time to do ANYTHING. If we all waited for the perfect time to have a kid, none of us would be moms. Same with getting a dog, moving into a house, taking a vacation, prioritizing your health, starting a business…the list goes on. There’s always a better time to be doing something. But that shouldn’t stop us from doing what we want to do (and should be doing!)
How do you balance being a mom and a founder of a business?
Short answer is – I don’t. “Balance” makes it sound like this perfect 50/50 world, and it’s very rare that I get to split my time how I want to. However, these past few years I’ve learned a lot about making things work. It helps that our business is so family and community oriented. My kids help a ton in the office, from taste testing our pops to packing up mailers to send out to people. Almost everyone in the office has kids, so we really try to foster a kid friendly environment and understanding company culture. That being said, there are definitely times that I needed to miss things for my kids because we were staying late in the office working on a deadline. And there have been an equal number of times I’ve had to leave the office early to go be a mom. It’s something that everyone with kids works on, and I’m still figuring it out.