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 there 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.
For every headband she'd sell, she'd donate a headband to a child with cancer.
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 Milwaukee Bucks.
But more importantly, the brand has donated headbands to every children's hospital in America and 15 countries.
Now in 2020 we have decided to extend our mission to extend to all children with illnesses, not just cancer.
Jess says it wasn't always easy, but it was always worth it.
To hear some updates from Jess, sign up for her #NotesfromJess series on her website here.
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