Beanie maker Love Your Melon, founded a decade ago by University of St. Thomas students and known for donating profits to cancer research, is being bought by a New York-based fashion brand aggregator.
The deal was announced Tuesday after the buyer, Win Brands Group, raised $40 million in new investment capital for the purchase. However, Win didn’t say exactly how much it would pay for Love Your Melon.
Founders Zachary Quinn and Brian Keller founded Love Your Melon while they were college students. They wanted to earn money and support children with cancer.
Love Your Melon has since donated portions of its profits, totaling more than $9 million, to groups fighting childhood cancer. It has also given away more than 235,000 of its hats to children with cancer and their families.
Research shows that many consumers are attracted to mission-based brands. Global consumers are four times more likely to buy from a company they believe has a strong purpose, according to a 2020 study by communications agency Zeno Group.
In an interview, Quinn said the company would benefit from the resources of a larger company.
“Doing everything on our own with no experience… it was challenging and we started thinking about who could be a good partner for that,” Quinn said.
Quinn and Keller have been considering a possible sale for years. They hope to now sell Love Your Melon products in major retail stores and create a better presence on Amazon.com. They also want to make production more efficient and improve profit margins so the brand can continue to give back to the community.
“I think it’s going to catapult us to growth,” Quinn said. “I think that with them we will grow significantly … and give millions more dollars.”
Many of Love Your Melon’s hats are made in Mendota Heights, but sometimes the company can’t make enough hats to meet demand. Quinn said the company would like to supplement production by hiring contractors.
The company would also expand with items that can be worn in warmer months, such as bucket hats, Quinn said.
On its website, Win Brands said it offers services to its businesses that span digital marketing, product sourcing, accounting and finance. It also owns weighted blanket brand Gravity, home fragrance and candle company Homesick, and silicone wedding ring maker QALO.
Love Your Melon merchandise has evolved from hats to clothing, home goods and face masks.
Through licensing partnerships with Disney, Marvel and others, Love Your Melon has also been able to create special selections such as B. Hats with Harry Potter motifs and the cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants.
“Love Your Melon is a great addition to our portfolio and exemplifies what we look for in the businesses we acquire,” said Kyle Widrick, CEO and co-founder of Win Brands, in a statement.
Love Your Melon, which employs 25 people primarily in Minneapolis, plans to maintain a presence in Minnesota, with Quinn and Keller continuing to lead the organization.
However, North Loop’s Build Your Own Beanie (BYOB) studio in Minneapolis will close at the end of February. The company plans to open a mobile beanie store that will tour the country. It is looking for local storage areas where it can host events.