Love Your Melon

Love Your Melon Inc. is a for-profit company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Founded in October 2012 by Zach Quinn, son of Cafe Latte owners Pete and Linda Quinn, and Brian Keller with startup money,[1] the company designs and markets most notably hats — as well as headbands, scarves, blankets and apparel.

Love Your Melon Inc.
TypePrivate for-profit
IndustryRetail
Founded2012; 11 years ago (2012)
HeadquartersMinneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Key people
Zach Quinn-Founder
Brian Keller-Founder
ProductsHats and apparel
Revenue$31.5M annually (as of 2017)

Love Your Melon was a registered 501(c)(3) organization/non-profit through 2015.[2] As of 2016, it has since been registered as Business Corporation (Domestic) with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State.[3] Their mission statement is “dedicated to giving a hat to every child battling cancer and supporting the fight against pediatric cancer.”[4]

HistoryEdit

Zach Quinn and Brian Keller met on the second day of an entrepreneurship class at the University of St. Thomas. They received a class project to start a business that made a profit by the end of the semester.[5] Inspired by Blake Mycoskie's book about the founding of Toms Shoes and the concept of buy-one-product-donate-one-product, Quinn and Keller began their business by setting up a "Love Your Melon Beanie Stand" outside a restaurant owned by Quinn's family.[5] The stand was stocked with 400 beanies from a knitting mill in Portland, Oregon and was based on Brian Quinn's design.[6][5] The beanies were manufactured with loans from friends and family. Love Your Melon quickly took off with the stated purpose of “awareness for childhood cancers” and to “improve the quality of life for children battling cancer.”[7] The company received gifts, grants, and other contributions from 2014 to 2015. Moving to a private company in 2016, they have since worked with banks such as J.P. Morgan to finance their inventory growth.[5] Love Your Melon Inc. opened its first retail store on September 29, 2018.[8]

Business ModelEdit

First inspired by the "one for one" model coined by Toms Shoes,[9] the venture started with giving a beanie to a child battling cancer for every beanie sold. Love Your Melon was a registered 501(c)(3) organization/non-profit until 2016 when it registered as a private for-profit organization.[2][3] The current model followed has been referred to as "caring capitalism" or "profits with principles" which relies on corporate social responsibility and community to obtain sales.[10][5][11]

The company has built the brand through its use of Facebook and other social media as a primary advertising vehicle. Their return on a Facebook ad is seven – for every $100 it spends, it sees $700 in orders.[11] As of 2017, Love Your Melon has been reported to spend $3-5 million a year on Facebook while tapping into a network of 14,000 ambassadors who are compensated with Love Your Melon gear and event opportunities.[11]

While Love Your Melon started with sourcing manufacturing in Portland, Oregon, it now works with around 40 different suppliers including Minneapolis-based Softline Brand Partners and Minnesota Knitting Mills in St. Paul, Minnesota.[11] The business has grown beyond the original product line to include scarves, blankets, T-shirts, sweatshirts, and other leisure apparel.[12] The company has been able to scale nationally in less than five years and has a reported 2017 total revenue of $31.5 million.

 
Example of Love Your Melon Pom Beanie
 
Example of Love Your Melon Speckled Beanies

PhilanthropyEdit

Fifty percent (50%) 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, create therapeutic experiences and fund charitable programming initiatives for children and families battling cancer.[4] Their philanthropic partners currently include, but are not limited to, Make A Wish, St. Jude, Alex's Lemonade Stand, St. Baldricks Foundation, and Ronald McDonald House Charities.[13]

In 2013, Quinn and Keller started the Love Your Melon Campus Crew program after taking a three-month long cross country trip selling hats, visiting hospitals and involving college students. The Love Your Melon Crew now helps facilitate Love Your Melon Beanie donations and other related events throughout the year.[6]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Clifford, Catherine (22 December 2016)"This college dropout turned a class project into a $20 million company to help kids with cancer"CNBC
  2. ^ a b "ProPublica: Nonprofit Explorer". Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State: Business Record Details". Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Love Your Melon: Our Mission". Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e Buchanan, Leigh E (8 October 2018). “How These 2 Millennial Founders Rallied 13,000 College Students to Help Kids Battling Cancer". Inc. 5000
  6. ^ a b Taylor, Peter Lane (12 December 2016). "Millennial Start-Up Love Your Melon: Giving Back Is Sweeter Than Making Millions". Forbes
  7. ^ "Form 990-Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax-2015: Department of the Treasury of Internal Revenue". Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  8. ^ (29 September 2018). "Love Your Melon Opens New Minneapolis Studio”. CBS MINNESOTA' '
  9. ^ Philip Kotler; David Hessekiel & Nancy Lee (2012). Good Works!: Marketing and Corporate Initiatives that Build a Better World...and the Bottom Line. John Wiley & Sons. p. 87. ISBN 9781118228609. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  10. ^ John R. Schermerhorn (2010). Introduction to Management. John Wiley & Sons. p. 148. ISBN 9780470646243. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  11. ^ a b c d MacBride, Elizabeth (30 June 2017). “How A Minnesota Startup Scaled To $40 Million Selling U.S.-Manufactured Clothes". Forbes
  12. ^ DePass, Dee (31 January 2017)."Minnesota's NFL and Olympian apparel firm, WSI Sports, teams with LYM to make leisure wear. Proceeds to help cancer patients". Minnesota Star Tribune
  13. ^ "Nonprofit Partners – Love Your Melon". Love Your Melon. Retrieved 2019-03-14.