The Headbands of Hope story begins in the most magical place on earth: Disney World! When our founder, Jess Ekstrom, was in college, she took an internship at Disney World as a photographer. She photographed so many sweet kids that were there as part of their wish from various wish-granting organizations for kids with life-threatening illnesses. When she returned to college, she decided to work for a wish-granting organization. Jess noticed so many young children wearing headbands after losing their hair to chemotherapy.
The Start of Something Magical
One girl wished to go to Disney World to meet Sleeping Beauty but was unfortunately too sick to travel to Florida from North Carolina. Jess couldn’t bring her to the most magical place on earth, so she decided to make her own magic. Jess went to a costume shop and arrived on her doorstep dressed as Sleeping Beauty.
After that experience, Jess felt a spark to do something to help these kids feel confident and beautiful during such a tough time. She remembered seeing patients wearing headbands and discovered no one was providing them to the kids. To fulfill this need, Jess created Headbands of Hope during her junior year of college at North Carolina State University. Whethershe sold sweet little turbans for babies or fashion-forward headbands for women, she made a promise that for every headband sold, she’d donate one to a child with cancer.
Headbands of Hope BeginsJess had no idea how to run a business, but she was determined. She even recruited a graphic design student to help teach her Photoshop, even though she could only pay her in burritos. 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 other fabulous stars who wear headbands for women. Headbands of Hope even makes headbands for men and sports teams like the NBA Dallas Mavericks and Milwaukee Bucks.