Lauren & Meghan McElroy: The Tickleberry Twins
The Tickleberry Twins
A Mommy In Los Angeles® Special Series— Part 1
Construction is underway inside a big open warehouse on the 4400 block of Slauson Avenue in South Los Angeles. Outside of the spacious room, a modern, shiny silver sign reads: “Tickleberry Place.”
Scheduled to have its grand opening in the Fall, Tickleberry Place is the project of twin sisters Lauren and Meghan McElroy who have worked tirelessly to see their dream become a reality: an innovative indoor play space for children where learning and healthy living habits are encouraged and birthdays with eco-friendly features can be celebrated.
“Parents really, really need this. We didn’t realize how much impact we could create,” says Lauren.
The twin sisters grew up in the View Park/Ladera Heights neighborhood of South Los Angeles, only a few blocks away from the location of Tickleberry Place. Growing up, they had a very enriching childhood experience thanks to their parents who gave them an opportunity to live “immersed in a world of active play and learning.” When they graduated from high school, the sisters left their hometown to go to college in the Midwest.
Upon returning home with college degrees, new skill sets and the motivation to do something important in their community, they each landed competitive corporate jobs. The twins lived at home with their parents and took additional babysitting jobs on weekends to save extra money.
“I was watching a 2-year old and I remember looking for educational indoor places to take him. I would google and find places on the Westside, in Torrance but nothing that was open on weekends or central to where we live,” says Lauren.
Eventually, each twin saved enough money to buy a house in the same community where they grew up. But the thought that continued echoing in their minds was that South Los Angeles did not offer an indoor, educational facility for children.
“My brain which is always wanting to improve an experience thought: ‘I should just create one myself,’” says Lauren.
And so she did. She used her home equity to fund as much as possible toward the creation of Tickleberry Place. Her sister Meghan became her business partner and they created a business plan. Soon after promoting their business concept on social media, families and neighbors started reacting positively to the idea. The community took notice.
“We want it to be accessible for parents,” assured Lauren.
One local mom, Mayanicol Jordan, got a hold of the twins to offer singing lessons for children at Tickleberry once it opens. During a recent business meeting, Jordan explained she loved the idea of a progressive place for kids to play.
“You’re women and you’re women of color and it’s in the community that I was raised in. It’s fantastic,” she told the twins.
But the opening date is looming and there’s plenty of work to be done. The twins launched a Kickstarter campaign and though some people have already been generously donating, there are two days left to contribute to their project to help them stay on track.
The twins really want children to have a new and unique experience in South LA. They also want it to be enriching for parents as well, they say.
“Meghan and I realized this is bigger than us. We’re supporting and addressing a need,” says Lauren.
Follow Mommy In Los Angeles® as we document the progress leading to the grand opening of Tickleberry Place. We support women doing positive things to improve the lives of families in Los Angeles. The McElroy sisters embody creativity, confidence and community awareness, which makes us proud to cover their achievements.