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A HAT ON EVERY HEAD
Love Your Melon Fights Pediatric Cancer, One Beanie at a Time
pediatric hospitals across the country each year on National Superhero Day.
Love Your Melon is a prime example of how a charitable mission can help a for-profit company grow. Since its founding, the company has rocketed up the Inc. 5000 list, ranking 106 in 2018. In 2017, it had 32 employees and brought in $31.5 million in revenue, and in 2019, Brian and Zachary landed on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list of social entrepreneurs, projecting Love Your Melon’s annual revenue to jump to $40 million. Today, Love Your Melon has gone beyond the melon, selling T-shirts, tank tops, pullovers, and other apparel in addition to beanies, ball caps, and headbands on its website, LoveYourMelon. com. Customers can even shop for dog sweaters and leashes, blankets, and sorority gear. The company’s new brick-and-mortar location in Minneapolis, the Love Your Melon Studio, takes the online shopping experience a step up with a creative lab, an influencer studio, and access to exclusive product drops. In 2016, Zachary told CNBC that he attributes Love Your Melon’s success to its authenticity and to the power of social media. Facebook considers the company one of its success stories, pointing to one 2017 ad campaign on Messenger where Love Your Melon announced a new line of caps and earned a 14-fold return on its ad spending. That’s perhaps no surprise, considering the college-aged demographic — formerly made up of millennials, now made of the even more tech-savvy Generation Z — that the company sells to. “A millennial generation has come up with this beautiful thing called social media,” Zachary told CNBC. “We wouldn’t be able to exist otherwise.” To learn more about Love Your Melon’s mission and check out its expansive line of American-made products, visit LoveYourMelon.com.
he had six months to live. He was an amazing musician; a song he wrote hit No. 1 on iTunes around the time he died. When I looked at him, I saw myself. That could have been me.” Powered by its charitable ideal, Love Your Melon’s sales skyrocketed. The company quickly met its goal of putting a hat on the head of every pediatric cancer patient in America — more than 45,000 children in all. Instead of converting to a purely profit-driven model after that success, Brian and Zachary refocused on their mission, announcing Love Your Melon would aim to raise $1 million for pediatric cancer research and families dealing with the illness. To do that, the company started donating 50% of its profits to organizations around the world that shared its mission, like the Children’s Cancer Research Fund, the Boston Children’s Hospital, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, the Foundation for Cancer Care in Tanzania, and Designing Dreams. Mafia” ambassadors, the company crushed that goal, as well. According to its website, Love Your Melon has now donated more than 170,000 hats and $6.2 million dollars to kids with cancer and those who fight for them. It has also expanded its reach, funding “therapeutic adventures” for kids with cancer, including zoo trips, helicopter rides, and access to professional sporting events. The company also gives away beanies at Fueled by more than 12,000 college volunteers across the country and an army of “Melon
According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization, nearly 16,000 kids under the age of 19 are diagnosed with cancer every year, meaning life-changing bad news is delivered to 1 in every 285 children in the U.S. before they turn 20. Those statistics weren’t yet on the minds of Brian Keller and Zachary Quinn when they founded Love Your Melon in 2012 as a project for their college entrepreneurship class. At the time, they decided to make and sell knit cotton beanies simply because their college town of St. Paul, Minnesota, has ice- cold winters. But it wasn’t long before childhood cancer was on the pair’s radar, and battling it became their company’s mission. In 2018, Zachary told Forbes that he credits Toms Shoes Founder Blake Mycoskie’s book, “Start Something That Matters,” for planting the idea of the “buy-one-product, donate-one-product” model in his head. Inspired by Mycoskie, Zachary and Brian delivered 200 beanies to oncology patients at a nearby children’s hospital after selling their first 200, and Love Your Melon’s goal of putting a hat on the head of every American child fighting cancer was born. Talking about that initial delivery, Zachary told Forbes, “One of the first kids we gave a hat to was Zach Sobiech, who was battling bone cancer. He was 18 years old and had grown up in my neighborhood. By the time we met him, he knew
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