While the world has progressed significantly regarding modern medicine and curing a myriad of diseases, there is one that still puzzles scientists and doctors around the world; incurable and fast-acting, this disease is cancer. Although in 2017, the source of many cancers is still a mystery without a solution, two college students realized that there could still be light shed on this situation, especially for the countless children enduring chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. Love Your Melon is a social entrepreneurship that began in 2012 with two college students, a class project, and an ambitious idea. Today, Love Your Melon is a rapidly-growing startup whose mission is to place a hat on the head of every child struggling with the effects of childhood cancer in America.
Co-Founders of Love Your Melon
Zachary Quinn and Brian Keller were just two regular students at the University of St. Paul in Minnesota when an idea struck them. They took a class project in their entrepreneurship course just a little further than the average student, and turned it into a multi-million-dollar organization. Originally told their project was too ambitious and required too much capital, the stubborn sophomores, eager to make this plan work, decided to go for it anyway. They acquired just over $3,000 made up of small loans from family and friends which allowed them to produce their first hats, and sold out in a matter of days. After achieving initial success, the duo decided to hit the road selling the hats and beanies at college campuses across the nation, causing the popularity of their brand to spread like wildfire and gaining Love Your Melon social media followers daily. Their new business was so successful, in fact, that they had to drop out of their university to keep up with it. Within just a few years, the organization has become a hugely successful social enterprise partnering with several nonprofits working towards the common goal of both curing cancer and providing comfort to those suffering from its effects.
What’s the Mission?
The mission that Quinn and Keller started out with was simple: sell a hat, give a hat. In other words, for every original beanie they sold, they would give one to a child with cancer. Little did they know, they would sell out of several hundred hats within just a few days. “It was the first 200 hats we sold [when] we knew we had something big,” Zachary Quinn told CNBC, recalling how their sidewalk campaign blew up in a matter of days. The beanies, hats, accessories, and apparel seen in the images below all sport the phrase, “Love Your Melon”, or “LYM”, encouraging children who have lost their hair from chemotherapy to be comfortable in their own skin.
Impact of Love Your Melon
Why has this startup been so successful when there are so many other beanie and hat designs circulating in the market? Well, besides the appealing design and multitude of options to choose from, knowing that your purchase is going to help support a child in need definitely adds value from a consumer standpoint.
Not to mention, Quinn and Keller believe that without social media, they would be nothing. Their platforms share emotional journeys, stories, and images that capture the mission of Love Your Melon and the impact of a small gift to a child in need. With over 300,000 followers on Instagram and closing in on 600,000 on Facebook, it isn’t hard to tell that people love Love Your Melon and what they’re doing for communities across America. Facebook, noticing the brand’s knack for attracting click-to-buy conversions, performed a case study on Love Your Melon in 2016, recording the brand’s success and documenting how it was achieved.
Love Your Melon has representatives known as “Campus Crews” throughout the United States, with links on their website of how to become one. These campus crews are comprised of ambassadors at colleges in every state, dedicated to spreading the mission and selling the products of Love Your Melon. Donating half of net profits to several non-profit partners, Love Your Melon has sold so many hats in the last four years that they have surpassed the amount of hats needed to cover the heads of kids with cancer in the United States, and have turned to donating money and other special gifts instead. Quinn and Keller told both Forbes and CNBC that they never imagined that they would surpass their original goal. How many hats is “too many”? Well, according to Love Your Melon’s website and mission page, they have donated 91,347 hats and over $2,500,000 to pediatric cancer research.
Since Love Your Melon is a social entrepreneurship that donates half of its profit rather than all, this means that these two entrepreneurs have certainly reaped the benefits of having such a successful startup as well. In 2016, the company grossed over $21 million, accumulating a total of $3 million in net profit since their start in 2012. They are optimistically projecting sales of over $50 million, relying on their new partnerships with big name retailers rather than strictly boutiques and online sales.
Love Your Melon provides a fresh, appealing product while also a sweet reward to consumers, knowing that they are helping children in need. Little did Zachary Quinn and Brian Keller know in their sophomore entrepreneurship class that they would start a revolution in the beanie and hat market, bringing awareness to an important cause in the meantime. With a goal of selling $50 million worth of Love Your Melon products in 2017, these two entrepreneurs certainly have ambitious goals, but with a cause so worthy and a product that attracts a broad spectrum of customers, the future seems bright, or rather warm, for Love Your Melon.
- Love Your Melon began in 2012 as the entrepreneurship project of two sophomores, Zachary Quinn and Brian Keller
- It became so successful that the two had to drop out of school to run the business, which has now grossed over $20 million in sales
- Love Your Melon projects selling $50 million or more in hats in 2017, donating half of its profits to pediatric cancer research