Sprout’s philosophy, play.think.grow, is based on the belief that we learn by interacting with our surroundings, so we should create surroundings that lend themselves to interacting with. To some furniture is a fixture. To us it is a toy. It is a way of interacting and learning.
Growing up ...
As a kid, I grew up in rural community and spent my childhood building trails, bridges, zip lines, and forts in the trees near my house. As I got older I worked at my dad’s cabinet shop and built paddle boats, steam engines, and motorized buggies. I dreamed of (and still do dream of) becoming an inventor and an entrepreneur. But it all began before I was big enough to pick up a hammer or saw. My love of discovering, creating, and inventing started while sitting on the floor in the middle of a pile of Legos. These tiny pieces were my medium of creativity, just like paint, clay, or the keys on a piano. They could be put together, then rearranged, and reformed to create something new time and time again. My mom would frequently tell me and my siblings that, "Lego's are to make and break." The value of Legos was not what we created, but that became creators. Legos took me from playing with trucks to building trucks, from dreaming to doing, and the more we do the more we allow ourselves to dream. What is so great about legos? They lower the barriers to creativity. Anyone can dream. I don’t have to expensive tools, or honed skills to build.It released the inventor in me. That’s what great toys do. They don’t just entertain. They inspire. They enable. They build confidence in young minds. All of the greats have: Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, Erectors Sets, Legos, K’nex. Sprout is taking an everyday object and bringing it down to a level that kids can now build and create as opposed to simply use and play with.
Moving again :(
Toward the end of my college career as an engineering and business student, I conceived of a type mobile furniture which eventually led to the children's line of furniture. In spring of 2009 I was moving for the seventh time in my college career. At the start of my college career, I made a mission style desk, bookcase, and chair of quartersawn oak set at my dad's cabinet shop. Every time I moved I had to find someone with a truck and round up a crew of husky roommates to help me move. I am the type of person that likes change and likes the freedom of being able to pack every thing I own into my car and leave. But the hassle of big bulky furniture kept me from doing this.
Over the summer of 2010, I was doing an internship at a factory in mainland china. I was scheduled to fly home and immediately fly to an Engineering and Design conference in Montreal, Canada where I was presenting an automatically adjusting overhead storage system in a mechanism design competition. I would be presenting a prototype of the mechanism, and need a sturdy stand to hold it on. I would be flying in late and had to present first thing the next morning so I needed a stand that would go together quickly and easily, and traveling on an airplane with tools is a hassle, so I wanted it to assemble with no tools. It had to be shipped all the way across the US, so I wanted a stand that was lightweight, and collapsable to decrease shipping costs. It had to be simple to manufacture, as I would have to have someone else make it for me. Additionally, I wanted a stand with some style. This was an engineering contest, and engineers are known for being a little bland, so I wanted a stand that would give me some credit as a designer, as well as an engineer. In my factory dorm room in China, I cranked out some plans for a stand, and emailed them to my dad in the US, who graciously made the parts and shipped them to Canada for me.
I liked the look of the stand made from Baltic birch ply, that I wanted something else made from it. Two additional design competions were coming up, including the Invented in Utah competion and the BYU Student Innovator of the Year competition which I was entering the overhead storage system in, so I made a prototype of a tool-less desk in both. I called it Gypsy (Now Sprout), because that's kind of how I felt every time I moved. The product got exceptional response at both competitions, winning the Student Innovator of the Year Competition.
With some prize money and a part-time job I build my ideas and dreams into a tangible reality. I hope you will join the Sprout cause promoting creativity, innovation, and exploration.