St. Thomas class project warms heads and hearts

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Everyone loves Love Your Melon.

Love Your Melon is a social entrepreneurship venture created by Zach Quinn and Brian Keller are UST undergraduates enrolled in the Foundations of Entrepreneurship course taught by Jay Ebben. Each semester, students in the course are challenged to work in pairs and create a business on the lemonade-stand model, with a business plan and a revenue stream.

As reported by Star Tribune business columnist Gail Rosenblum, Quinn and Keller responded by designing a line of hats for kids undergoing cancer treatment. "We talked to hospitals and found out that people donate big boxes of hats for kids, but they don't always fit," Quinn told Rosenblum. "We wanted to design a product that anyone can wear." They structured their business plan in such a way that half of their production would be sold and half given away, with the proceeds from the sales covering expenses.

And then, Rosenblum notes, "Then they got to work getting 400 hats produced (200 to sell for $20 and $25, and 200 to give away). Ebben strongly suggested they start out with half that many. They sold out in three days and have ordered 800 more." As of Rosenblum's column, 100 hats had been given away to children, with another 100 more planned for the near future.

WCCO picked up the story as well, with a story including footage of a Love Your Melon giveaway at Amplatz Children's Hospital.

Christopher Puto, dean of the Opus College of Business, noted in an email to staff that Love Your Melon "fits our mission of using business knowledge and skills to help make our world a better place."

Originally published: 12/16/2012, Star Tribune