Love Your Melon, a made-in-the-USA knit hat and apparel maker, is opening its first permanent store in Minneapolis on June 1, with non-traditional store hours, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports.
When the shop is closed, the space will be available for photo and video shoots, according to the report. Retail Dive's request for more details wasn't immediately returned.
Founders Quinn and Brian Keller launched Love Your Melon while at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, and the company sells mostly through third-party retailers in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia.
Most companies, at least once they reach scale, have a charitable mission of some sort — and many have adopted activist causes as well — but Love Your Melon has incorporated its mission into its business plan and even its manufacturing. The beanie maker gives half of its profits to charity, after taxes and fees, and has so far donated more than $4.3 million and 133,000 hats, according to the company.
Interestingly, the store will only be open once or twice a month, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and the company plans to use it more as a showroom for new products, a space for special events and a physical headquarters for influencers to work with the brand than as a store. That use of the physical space points to the retailer's emphasis on its charitable mission, which is to give a hat to every child fighting cancer in America.
Indeed, that mission is woven, or, more accurately knitted, into the company's fabrication process as well, the company said. "We have worked hard to produce hats that are comfortable for a child's bald head in the hospital while also developing a line of hats our customers love," according to the website.
Charity has entered a new phase of what many observers call "compassionate consumerism," and retailers are at the forefront of that movement. The grandfather of this trend was actor Paul Newman's Newman's Own, which closely linked buying his products with charitable contributions. These moves combine a retailer's actions with its customers' choices, which can boost a brand and make everyone feel good about their capitalist endeavors in the process. Retailers like Toms and Warby Parker also incorporate give-aways of their products to people in need.
It's a stance that resonates with today's civic-minded younger consumers, who like to see meaningful community action from the businesses they frequent. While social media is becoming a more obvious conduit in the brand-consumer relationship, retailers are also currying favor by championing social issues. The demand for this kind of activism is growing: 55% of Gen Zers choose brands specifically because they're socially responsible or eco-friendly and 66% of consumers want retailers to take a stand on important political issues.