On screen: This video begins with a short brown-haired man walking down a city street at dusk. He walks past a building with a sign reading: "Love Your Melon." A montage shows different-colored, stylish, knitted wool beanie caps, with fluffy round ornamental tufts on the top. A man with short brown hair and light gray eyes speaks to us.
Text on screen: Zachary Quinn. President, Love Your Melon.
Zachary: Philanthropy has been important for me since I was a kid. So when we started Love Your Melon I wanted to start a business to make an impact on our community and the world around us. Love Your Melon's an American-made apparel brand dedicated to changing the lives of children battling cancer.
On screen: A photo shows a young man wearing a flannel shirt and a young brown-haired man wearing a red t-shirt.
Text on screen: Brian Keller. CEO, Love Your Mellon
Zachary: Brian and I started Love Your Melon in 2012. It was a class project in college. I was at an event with the Children's Hospital and I was talking to them about what the kids needed and they said they needed warm beanies, when they lose their hair to cancer treatment. And that just, a light went off.
Text on screen: The University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital.
On screen: Short video clips show:
- the hospital's exterior;
- and a young cancer patient playing in the hospital's game room.
Zachary: So we made these warm winter hats and gave a hat to every kid for every one we sold.
On screen: In a workshop, garment makers:
- take fabric from a roll of wool fabric;
- cut the material with scissors;
- and stitch it, using sewing machines.
Zachary: Today we've got over 10,000 college students across the country that dress up as super heroes and go give away beanies in children's hospitals.
On screen: Young men and women - in brightly-colored superhero capes with "Love Your Melon" logos - deliver boxes of beanie caps to children's hospitals. A woman with long brown hair (wearing a beanie cap) speaks to us.
Text on screen: Katie Daw. Campus Crew Coordinator, Love Your Melon.
Katie: Giving a beanie to them is giving them a sense of like, a security blanket. "We all have your back, we're rooting for you."
On screen: A college student, with long blonde hair, hands a blue beanie to a child in a stroller.
Zachary: After giving away a beanie to every kid battling cancer in America, we switched our Buy One, Give One program to a model where we give away 50% of our profit every year to pediatric cancer research and family support. We've given over $6.1 million and over 160,000 warm beanies.
On screen: In a "Love Your Melon" lounge, kids play table-soccer on a custom-built board. Video clips show beanie-wearing kids, and young adults, running and playing outdoors... in both summer and winter.
Zachary: Throughout the first five years of running Love Your Melon, we sold out every year because we couldn't buy or make enough inventory. We were looking for a banking partner that would provide the ability to purchase products and make products all year round.
On screen: Two casually-dressed executives shake hands with Zachary at "Love Your Melon's" headquarters. An executive with dark hair and light eyes sits in front of wall with a neon sign reading: "We can change the world."
Text on screen: Phillip Wiginton. Vice President, Commercial Banking, J.P. Morgan Chase.
Phillip: When we met Zachary and his team for the first time, and we learned more about what they do in philanthropic effort, we knew that was a company that we wanted to partner with.
On screen: A young man with short hair and tortoise-frame glasses speaks to us.
Text on screen: Matthew Noonan. CFO, Love Your Melon.
Matthew: JPMorgan Chase has believed in us from the very beginning. They said, "We believe in your mission, we believe in your company." "We're gonna help support you to get you guys where you need to go."
On screen: An executive with brown hair and a blue blazer speaks to us.
Text on screen: David Rudolph. Executive Director,Commercial Banking, J.P. Morgan Chase.
David: It's important for JPMorgan Chase to work with companies like Love Your Melon. We want to identify great companies, great management teams and help them thrive.
On screen: Video clips show "Love Your Melon's" art department:
- design sketches hang on a wall;
- a woman works on a computer;
- and four women and a man attend a meeting in a airy conference room. (A big white dog is also present.)
Phillip: With innovative and fast-growing companies, there's really not a one-size-fits-all solution. So what we do is just try to tailor our solutions to better serve the company.
On screen: Zachary reviews documents at his office desk.
David: As a result, it allowed them to build inventory throughout the year and meet their demands during the peak season.
On screen: Video clips show:
- two young women walking down a snowy street;
- and a snow globe marked: "Love Your Mellon."
Matthew: In 2016, from the following year we went from a $5 million company to over $21.5 million company. Without JPMorgan Chase we would not have been able to grow at such an exponentially fast rate.
On screen: Video clips show:
- employees using sewing machines in a spacious studio;
- Matthew speaking with the two J.P. Morgan executives;
- and a woman photographing "Love Your Melon" merchandise.
Zachary: Throughout our international growth, having a partner like JPMorgan Chase will provide for a lot of innovation and creativity.
On screen: At the "Love Your Melon" headquarters:
- a sign reads: "Buy Beanies. Fight Cancer. Made in U.S.A."
- a woman sits in a futuristic workstation. Her ergonomic gamer chair is set in a metal-framed arch with computer monitors that hang down, from over its top. The screens fill her field of vision.
- and Zachery looks out a wall-sized window, marked "Love Your Melon."
Zachary: We're very proud of the fact that we're able to provide jobs locally here in Minneapolis, and able to give hats away and money to support pediatric cancer families and also provide high quality goods to customers all across the world.
On screen: A montage shows manufacturing employees, wearing wool beanies. A college student (and volunteer "super hero") puts a beany on a little girl, who runs gleefully through a hospital hall. Zachary Quinn adjusts his "Love Your Melon" baseball cap and smiles.
Text on screen: Chase. J.P. Morgan.
In 2012, friends and classmates Zachary Quinn and Brian Keller were creating a business for a college class project. Being in Minnesota, their first idea was to make stylish beanies that would stand up to the state’s brutally cold winters. But they also wanted to make a difference philanthropically.
When Quinn and Keller learned their local children’s hospital was in need of warm hats for children experiencing hair loss from cancer treatments, a lightbulb went off.
“We didn't just want to start a business to make money,” said Quinn, the company’s president. “We wanted to start a business to make an impact on our community and the world around us.”
From there, the cancer-battling mission of Love Your Melon was born.
What started as a local small business making winter beanies has grown into a full-blown apparel brand creating high-quality, American-made knitwear for people of all ages around the world. Its ever-growing line of products now includes scarves, mittens, sweaters and blankets.
Initially, Love Your Melon had a buy-one, give-one business model. For every beanie the company sold, it donated one to a child battling cancer. To distribute the donations, Quinn, Keller and the Love Your Melon team hit the road on a nationwide bus tour of children’s hospitals. Through the company’s Campus Crew program, they were joined by college student volunteers who dressed up as superheroes to hand-deliver the beanies to patients.
After selling 45,000 beanies in the first year and a half and providing a hat to every pediatric cancer patient in the US, Love Your Melon shifted its model to donate 50 percent of net profits to fund pediatric cancer research, family support and therapeutic experiences for children battling cancer. Today, the company has donated over $6.18 million and more than 160,000 of its signature warm beanies to patients worldwide.
Fueled by a compelling mission and a dynamic social media presence, Love Your Melon has grown its annual revenues to $33 million today.
Securing the right financial support to sustain that kind of rapid growth can be a challenge for startups, but Love Your Melon’s CFO, Matthew Noonan, said JPMorgan Chase was an early supporter: “They said, ‘We believe in your mission, we believe in your company, we're going to help support you to get you where you need to go.’ Without that relationship, we never would be where we are today.”
Part of the support JPMorgan Chase provided was to customize a credit structure to be as unique as Love Your Melon’s business. One of the company’s major challenges is seasonality—it sells the majority of its core knit products in the fall and winter months.
“We were able to provide a tailored financing solution that allowed them to build inventory throughout the year to make sure they’re ready for their busy season,” said David Rudolph, Executive Director for JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking.
Beyond financial solutions, JPMorgan Chase’s Minneapolis banking team has been able to support Love Your Melon’s exponential growth through a boots-on-the-ground relationship.
“Having a local presence allows us to stay nimble in the solutions that we bring to Love Your Melon,” said Phillip Wiginton, Vice President for JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking. “There's always going to be the unforeseen with a fast-growing business. Being on call locally when they need something from the bank is what we're able to do.”
Quinn described that local touch as a competitive advantage for his company, helping it grow when and where it needs to. “A lot of banks can provide banking services, but none like the relationship provided by JPMorgan Chase's employees,” he said.
While Love Your Melon continues to grow, with plans for international expansion and new product launches, the apparel maker stays deeply rooted in the community that inspired its products. It’s a proud local job provider, cold-weather outfitter and champion of thousands of Twin Cities cancer patients and families.
“We're very proud to work with a Minneapolis company that’s doing anything they can just to do the right thing,” said Wiginton. “And that's exactly the kind of client that we want at JPMorgan Chase.”
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