Love Your Melon may have started out as a simple class project but the social enterprise is quickly gaining attention both in the USA and around the world.
And it’s not hard to see why. The apparel brand is appealing to the masses with their mission. Not only do they aim to put a hat on every child battling cancer in America, they also give 50% of their profits to help fight pediatric cancer.
With fans including Kirsten Bell, Mila Kunis and Justin Bieber the brand has gone from strength to strength in the last six years. To date, Love Your Melon has given over 146,000 beanies to children battling cancer and donated over 4.6 million dollars to non-profit partners.
We caught up with co-founder Zachary Quinn to find out more about the fantastic work the brand is doing and their plans for the future.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
Love Your Melon started in 2012 in an entrepreneurship class at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was my first day on campus and I met Brian Keller, who became my friend and co-founder.
We were put in charge of starting a business that could turn a profit by the end of the semester. We started with the idea of making fashion-focused beanies and decided we also wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. We landed on helping children battling cancer and the correlation with our beanies was perfect as these kids need warm hats when they lose their hair due to cancer treatment.
We began with a “buy one, give one” model to give our beanies to children in hospitals with each purchase, and it took off from there. Once we surpassed our goal of giving one hat for every child battling cancer in America, we set a new goal of giving one million dollars to pediatric cancer research and providing immediate support to children and their families. To date, we have given over 4.6 million dollars to the fight against pediatric cancer and over 146,000 hats to children battling cancer.
Why do you think your company has been successful?
Consumers are drawn to our products for their style, quality and mission. Every product is made in the USA with high-quality materials, which creates jobs here in the United States and emphasizes our value of community. The products are warm, durable and fashionable. They also have a clear mission and story behind them, which draws people in and invites them to be a part of something that makes a difference.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Over the holiday season this past year, we hit our biggest goal to date by generating enough to give $1 million to our nonprofit partners in just six days. This was distributed to incredible partners who are conducting top-notch pediatric oncology research and providing support programmes for children and families battling cancer. We cannot wait to continue making an even bigger impact this year.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
Retaining funding to purchase inventory for the next season is difficult as we give away fifty percent of profit. We have banking partners that have helped to alleviate this challenge.
What’s your team structure like?
We have a team of 30 talented individuals and it continues to grow. Our employees work on different teams to ensure that every area of the company runs smoothly.
What traits do you look for in new hires?
We love bringing on individuals who are enthusiastic, flexible and full of ideas. Teams work well when we bring on individuals who are able to brainstorm and collaborate well.
What advice would you give to someone starting a business?
I would tell them to go for it and give it their all. Starting a business and working in the startup realm is an exciting journey with many ups and downs, but it is always worthwhile.
What’s your ultimate ambition?
To inspire others to create the changes they want to see in the world and make a difference in the lives of others. This can be done by speaking, creating, inventing and many other ways.
What’s the one thing you wish people knew about your business?
Many people know about our mission to improve the lives of children battling cancer, but we also want to emphasize the fact that all of our products are made here in the USA. We hold American manufacturing as a top priority, creating high-quality products while supporting jobs here in the United States.
What does the future hold for your company?
We are now partnering with many brands, causes and individuals through our custom programme, and we are also in retail stores across the country through our wholesale programme. These programmes allow others to be a part of Love Your Melon with co-branded, single branded or wholesale beanies, and our future growth will focus on these programmes. We’re also continuing to expand our giving by providing hats to children battling cancer all across the world and funding nonprofits internationally.