Love Your Melon, a Minneapolis-based philanthropic apparel brand that began with the idea of putting a hat on every child battling cancer in America, generated more than $31.5 million in revenue last year. To date, the company has given more than $4.7 million to the fight against pediatric cancer and 147,000-plus hats to children battling cancer.
Until now, the hat and apparel brand has grown through e-commerce and its wholesale partners. On Sept. 29, Love Your Melon will open its first storefront in Minneapolis in the “North Loop” warehouse district, on the ground level of its company headquarters.
The 2,500-square-foot studio space will drop exclusive product launches, and new products will be available for sale for a limited time until it sells out. The studio will also serve as a content creation destination for the company, influencers and celebrities, as well as an event space. The company will host art installations in the space that represents the brand and mission.
According to Zachary Quinn, cofounder and president of Love Your Melon, the studio space won’t be a full retail concept, but it will be open at specific times. The brand usually introduces new products online once a week, but now it will come up with new products for the studio a couple of times a month. At that time, the studio will be open to the public. Love Your Melon will also do collaborations with other brands. Influencers can use the space to do photo and video shoots and other brands can collaborate on content and events, he said.
“It will be a really cool, collaborative environment, and it’s something Minneapolis hasn’t seen and was inspired by our trips out to the coasts,” Quinn said. “This is quite new for here, and if we can make this work here, we’ll take it to Chicago and New York, and all around,” he said.
The studio will also be used for events with kids battling cancer and their superhero partners and celebrities, Quinn said. Nonprofit charities, such as the Ronald McDonald House, Make-A-Wish and Be the Match, will also be able to host events, he said.
Quinn started the brand with Brian Keller, cofounder and chief executive officer, in 2012, during an entrepreneurship class they took at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. They wanted to start a business with a meaningful and positive social impact. Quinn left school after the class was completed, while Keller graduated. Today, the company has 441 accounts across the U.S. and Canada and employs 40 people.
Fifty percent of net profit from the sale of all Love Your Melon products is given to the Love Your Melon Fund to support nonprofit partners in the fight against pediatric cancer.
The company has managed to build a cult following of dedicated customers, from college students to celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Justin Bieber.
Love Your Melon sells women’s and men’s apparel — knit beanies, sweatshirts and shirts — along with home goods and kids’ lines, all with the LYM logo. The new pom beanies are the first product to be released at the studio on Sept. 29. They retail for $45. Products are made in the U.S., and much is made in Minnesota. The company has added new product categories such as sweaters, scarves, mittens and blankets, and also plans to add more technical outerwear.
To start, the studio will just be open on Saturdays, and then will add a few weekends later in October and November. It will open on Black Friday and stay open for a week, and will open the week before Christmas.
A driving force behind the company are students across the country at 840 different educational institutions who raise awareness for childhood cancer, represent the brand through promotional events and engage with the brand’s charitable programming initiatives. The company’s web site offers a “Request a Hat” program, where it gives friends and family the opportunity to surprise a child battling cancer with a Love Your Melon Hat. Each Love Your Melon hat is personally given or requested for someone battling cancer, with the hope that it will provide smiles and support during a difficult time.