Even before breast cancer was a part of my everyday life, I was uncomfortable with the “Pinkwashing” phenomenon– marketing all kinds of products in pink, promising that “a portion” of the sales will “benefit breast cancer.” And I’ve never even been tempted to buy a pair of Toms shoes, despite their philanthropic philosophy, mostly because I don’t love the shoes. (Their moccasin-style boots are starting to turn me, though…) But when I saw a feature on Love Your Melon on the Today Show this morning, I was instantly intrigued.
Two college students started the not-for-profit company as part of an entrepreneurship class at St. Thomas University in Minnesota. They have grown that class project into a full-fledged 501(c)(3) non-profit, and each purchase of a made in the USA hat provides a hat for a child with cancer. Cancer aside, I love their branding and the way they produce their hats– they are knitted in Oregon and the patches are sewn on, many by volunteers, in Minnesota.
But back to the cancer thing. I always had long, thick hair. I could never have imagined how much colder it is to have no hair! (Though it came in handy when I was having hot flashes…) And while everyone will tell you that you should buy whatever you want right after a cancer diagnosis because “you deserve it,” the reality is that even with good insurance, cancer is expensive. And seriously, who wants to spend lots of money on a bunch of hats just because they have to? I don’t know about other people, but I’d much rather spend my shopping time and money picking out a new lipstick or a pair of boots.
I was fortunate enough to have friends and family send me all kinds of lovely hats. There was the cancer friend who let me borrow some of her ugly chemo caps– the jersey knit hats that weren’t too pretty but were great for sleeping. A sweet friend dropped off the warmest North Face hat that has a lovely soft lining– perfect on a sensitive melon, and warm enough for all the time spent at the bus stop. Another friend sent two stocking caps from our Alma Mater, and a St. Louis Cardinals hat, too. And then there was the Rastafarian hat complete with dreadlocks that my brother sent…
So the idea of gifting a cancer patient with a warm hat finds a soft spot in my heart. Together with the cozy look of the hats and the lovely branding, I was immediately drawn to the company. Apparently, lots of other Today Show viewers were, too, and so their website has struggled to keep up and their inventory is shrinking. (So head on over, but be patient!) I’m really hoping that we have experienced this never-ending winter’s last gasp. But I’m still considering heading to Love Your Melon to stock up for myself and the kiddos for next year. So many companies bill their products as “helping” raise money for a cause, but this company’s dedication to warming the heads– and hearts– of little kids with cancer while still making what looks to be a quality product strikes the perfect balance.