During the summer of 2011, Jess Ekstrom participated in an internship at a wish-granting organization for kids with life-threatening illnesses. She discovered that a lot of kids losing their hair to chemotherapy loved to wear headbands after hair loss, but they were only given wigs and hats.
Armed with inspiration, she spent her junior year at North Carolina State University developing her company, Headbands of Hope. For every item sold, a headband is given to a child with cancer. Today, Headbands of Hope has donated over 200,000 headbands to every children's hospital in America and to 15 countries. In the past year, the company has launched impact initiatives such as hosting proms at children's hospitals and starting their #BandTogether program where they partner with a childhood cancer charity and donate proceeds from sales to their mission. They've also joined hands with art therapy by having the patients create their own headbands with the flower crown kits they provide.
Today, Headbands of Hope is in over 2,000 stores across the United States and Canada. They've been featured on the TODAY Show, Forbes, Seventeen, Vanity Fair, People Magazine, Good Morning America and the headbands have been worn and supported by celebrities such as Lauren Conrad, Lea Michele, Molly Sims, Tiffani Thiessen and more. Jess was named Women's Health Magazine's Ultimate Game Changer in 2017.
We believe headbands are a great way to restore confidence in kids during cancer treatment. That's why at Headbands of Hope, for every item sold, a headband is donated to a child with cancer. We've even started a program where the kids can actually design and create their own headbands. To see a video of it, click here.
We also want to be a part of the solution: a cure. That's why we take nominations for childhood cancer charities to be a beneficiary for our headBAND Together weeks where we donate 10% of sales to the organization.
One more thing- we also have our credit card processing fees set up to where half of them go to the card processor and the other half goes to The St. Baldrick's Foundation for childhood Cancer Research. Check out our giving gallery to see some of the smiling faces behind every purchase! See it here
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JESS EKSTROM, Believe it or not, our founder's story starts in the most magical place on earth...Disney World! When Jess was in college, she decided to take an internship in Disney World as a photographer. When she was there, she got to photograph so many sweet kids that were their on their wish from various wish-granting organizations for kids with life-threatening illnesses. When she returned to school her sophomore year, she decided to intern for a wish-granting organization. When she was there, Jess noticed a lot of kids wearing headbands after losing their hair to chemotherapy. One girl in particular wished to go to Disney World to meet Sleeping Beauty, but was unfortunately too sick to travel to Florida from North Carolina. So Jess went to a costume shop and arrived on her doorstep dressed as Sleeping Beauty… After that experience, Jess felt this spark to do something to help these kids feel confident and beautiful during such a tough time. She remembered the trend of patients wearing headbands and discovered no one was providing those accessories to the kids. To fulfill this need, Jess created Headbands of Hope during her junior year of college at North Carolina State University. Jess had no idea what she was doing starting a business. She was a Communications major with a minor in Spanish (don't test her on the Spanish) but she was determined to launch this business. She even recruited a graphic design student to help teach her photoshop every day at lunch and Jess paid her in Chipotle burritos (seriously). At the end of her junior year on April 25th, 2012 at 9:47 a.m., Jess got her first order on her website...from her mom. Luckily, things picked up and now Headbands of Hope is carried in thousands of stores across the world and has been supported by dozens of celebrities like Lea Michele, Lauren Conrad, Kelsea Ballerini and they even do headbands for NBA teams like the Dallas Mavericks and Milwuakee Bucks. But more importantly, the brand has donated headbands to every children's hospital in America and 15 countries. Jess says it wasn’t always easy, but it was always worth it. To hear some weekly positivity from Jess, sign up for her Weekly Wink below. If you'd like to hear her story in person, see if she'll be speaking in your city here
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