Inspiration comes in many different forms. It can spark from a song on the radio, a movie, or even everyday life. For entrepreneurs, that moment of inspiration can lead to building a brand new organization. An internship prompted Jessica Ekstrom to create Headbands for Hope – an organization dedicated to helping children suffering from childhood cancer. We had the amazing opportunity to sit down with Jessica and learn more about her business and her hopes for the future.
Why did you start your organization?
When I was in college, I did an internship at a wish-granting organization. I saw girls loved to wear headbands after losing their hair to chemotherapy. Therefore, I founded HeadbandsOfHope.org in April 2012.
What is your business and what do you do?
For every headband purchased, one is given to a girl with cancer and $1 is donated to fund childhood cancer research. Our mission is to help boost the self-esteem of all girls while funding research for childhood cancer at the same time.
What is the most touching story that you have had with your organization?
I received a letter from a mother who’s daughter was finishing up her treatment and about to start kindergarten. She said her daughter was dreading kindergarten because she thought all the kids would make fun of her and say she was a boy because she didn’t have any hair. When she got her headband in the hospital, her mom said she got home and laid out her whole kindergarten outfit and school supplies because she was so excited to start school as a result of the confidence the headband gave her.
How did you get from being an campus entrepreneur to where you are now?
I credit a lot of where I am now to starting a company in college. As a college student, you have access to so many resources and support. I built a strong foundation for my company while I was a student. By the time I graduated, my business was working well enough to where it was my full-time job. To this day, I always encourage students to use their time in school to start something they believe in.
Where do you see your organization in the next 5 years?
I think I’m one of the very few people that hopes my business isn’t around in 5 years because there’s a cure for cancer. My ultimate goal is to find a cure and end Headbands of Hope. But in the meantime, we’re continuing to grow as a company with new styles and products and expanding our retail presence. The more we can sell, the more we can donate!