Beantown Blankets, a first year student-run business that turned into a booming company with a greater mission.
As we all know, Babson College’s flagship course is Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship or FME for short. On the Babson College website, the course is described as, “An internationally recognized yearlong course, required for first-year students, where you and your team will create, develop, launch, and manage a real venture.” This descriptor sparks excitement in the mind of any business student, especially those who hope to one day start their own business. Even for students that don’t necessarily want to start their own business or develop a product to solve one of the world’s consumers many problems, such as myself, the experience of managing an organization from the ground up, under thoughtful guidance, is very educational. This educational opportunity is unparalleled anywhere else and it’s success is not measured in student responses, but by results. Babson further explains,
“FME gives you more than just startup experience though—you’ll learn how to communicate, lead, work in a team, manage obstacles, and see a plan through to completion.”
Maxwell Perry’s time in FME during his freshman year at Babson proved to be more than useful for his future. His team created the business Beantown Blankets, a blanket company that focused on helping the homeless via donation with their “buy one, donate one” proposition. At the end of the year, the business went through the closing process, as part of the course, however, Perry decided to acquire the company from Babson and fully dedicate himself to its mission. The blankets are fleece on one-side and waterproof on the other, which is very helpful during the cold East Coast winters, and are about $30 with discounts for purchases of two or three. Their policy is that the number of blankets purchased is the number of blankets donated. Beantown also offers a blanket and bag combo, which includes a blanket and a bag of your choice- backpack, messenger bag or duffel- for which they donate two blankets, and a cable knit beanie (the same beanie is donated). Beantown Blankets’ main purpose is to help the homeless by donating blankets to shelters or to individuals as purchases are made, allowing their customers to take pride in their ordering by offering them, not only the product they intended to buy but with the knowledge that one more homeless person will be warmer and safer because of their purchase.
What is not quite so obvious is the company’s affiliation with Northeast Arc, a nonprofit organization that aims to empower people with disabilities to reach their full potential. Beantown hires people with disabilities to form Northeast Arc, who fold and pack the blankets, furthering their admirable goal of creating a more sustainable community. Now, Beantown Blankets has come a long way from the college class venture that it was in 2016. During their first year of business, they donated about 150 blankets, in comparison to their now 30,000 donated blankets across 17 states. Aside from their success with selling to individuals, they have also had amazing success selling business-to-business, which has its own tab on their website. The blankets can be custom embroidered with company logos, making them perfect corporate gifts. Over the years, Beantown has worked with Google, Yahoo, Reebok, Comcast, Delta, American Airlines, Deloitte, US Bank, Adobe and many more.
“Companies like that, they can give their employees or clients a gift, while also donating to charity,” Perry says. “There are very few organizations that can offer them that.”
Perry’s is also working on getting licensing from the MLB, NFL licensing, Barnes and Noble, and for college bookstores to reach more sports fans, students, and scholars. The FME program is a crash course for entrepreneurs with a focus on sustainability and social responsibility and Maxwell Perry is an outstanding example of what this program is hoping to do for Babson students; instill inspiration and excitement about all the possibilities in the world by looking through the lens of entrepreneurship.
Article by Lada Alexey Peshkovsky
Edited by Noorjahan Mezrouh
https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/beantown-blankets#section-overview https://www.linkedin.com/company/beantown-blankets https://middleton.wickedlocal.com/news/20190603/blankets-of-hope-middleton-biz-donates-one -for-every-bruins-goal https://wellesley.wickedlocal.com/news/20170127/business-of-helping-homeless-babson-sopho mores-company-gets-waterproof-blankets-to-those-on-streets
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