Lost Valley Designs

Just as Melanie started to lose her direction and inspiration in life, she had a big change in her world. Her daughter, Gretchen came into the world with a bright smile and loving heart, but something was different. A few weeks after her birth, Gretchen was diagnosed with Trisomy 21, Down Syndrome.  Melanie and her husband, Cody, felt lucky to be the parents of Gretchen and her brother, Grady, and wanted to share the story of their family with others. Her children are the light of her life, and she wants to share that with other families that are similar to hers. 

Being a new mom did not stop Melanie from taking on new challenges and continuing to seek out her calling. That’s when Lost Valley Designs was started. Lost Valley Designs is a company that creates unique t-shirts that are full of inspiration and awareness. The company has provided Melanie with creativity through design, monetary income, a chance to inspire others, and a way to connect with the community.  She does this all while being able to stay home with Gretchen and Grady and care for them. 

Melanie wears all the hats of Lost Valley Designs as the sole packager, designer, owner, and manager while keeping up with Gretchen’s busy schedule of therapy, doctor’s visits, and consultations with specialists and the everyday schedules of both of her children. Melanie still is consistently creating new T-Shirt designs, doing personalized designs, and shipping the shirts out within 2-3 days.  There are shirts available for all ages, advocacy campaigns, and occasions. Melanie’s son, Grady, has a big part in the business as well with his designs. Lost Valley Designs sells shirts for most special needs awareness months and days in their Awareness section. Next up is Autism Awareness Month, which is celebrated in April. Keep up with all of their new items on Instagram and Facebook.



Emma Benner

Emma Benner

Social Media Intern

Emma is a student-athlete at Purdue University majoring in Kinesiology and on the cross country and track and field teams. She has been involved in the special needs community for many years as a coach with Special Olympics Minnesota, and  as a personal care assistant/respite sitter. She has worked in media, marketing, and journalism with various organizations. When Emma has some free time, she enjoys riding horses (she grew up doing barrel racing), baking doughnuts and cake pops (yum!), pursuing her new art interest (wood burning, painting, or drawing), or going for a long fun in sunny weather (her favorite!).