For many small businesses, selling a product isn’t simply about making a profit, but rather fulfilling a greater mission. For Pipermoon, a Pacific Northwest-based blanket company, that mission is to “gift hugs one blanket at a time.”
And since launching its ecommerce store on BigCommerce three years ago, Pipermoon is only getting started.
Inspired by the nostalgia of baby blankets, Pipermoon offers teen- and adult-size blankets made out of a stretchy, weighted fabric. Whether a customer is going through a rough season, staying in the hospital or struggling with insomnia, Pipermoon Blankets offer a source of safety and comfort for anyone who needs it.
A Blanket #LikeaHug
According to Kimberly Cannon, Founder of Pipermoon Blankets, the business got its start for a different reason.
Living in a rural town, Cannon’s kids often had long, late-night bus rides coming back from high school basketball games on school nights. When she discovered that her daughter and her teammates had been sleeping on the floor of the bus, Cannon immediately saw a need.
She came up with the idea of an adult-sized, easily washable blanket that could easily fit in the kids’ duffle bags while traveling — and so became Pipermoon Blankets.
But when the pandemic hit, the vision for Pipermoon took a different direction. Amid the uncertainty and fear of the pandemic, many of Pipermoon’s customers turned to their blankets as a source of comfort, so Cannon and her team took the idea and ran with it.
“Especially when COVID-19 hit and everyone was social distancing, customers would send our blankets to their loved ones saying, ‘I can’t hug you in person, so I’m gifting you my favorite blanket that’s just like a hug,’” Cannon said. “That actually became our hashtag — #LikeaHug — because our customers directed us that way.”
But this mission of comfort doesn’t stop with Pipermoon’s customers. Cannon herself aspires to live out Pipermoon’s mission in the little moments of her day-to-day life.
“I’m always go go go,” Cannon said. “So I’ve recently been trying to create rituals in my life like putting a blanket around me sitting on the porch, watching the sunset or with a cup of tea — just trying to be present and practice a little bit more self care.”
Giving Back — One Blanket at a Time
From the day Pipermoon was born, Cannon knew she wanted to use her business as a way to give back.
“When I was in college at the University of Utah, I was volunteering at the Primary Children’s Center in Salt Lake City,” Cannon said, “and I noticed daily that there are so many activities, gifts and programs for the children that are in long-term stays, but not quite as many for teenagers.”
For more than 20 years, this issue stuck in Cannon’s mind, and was later rekindled when a close family friend underwent treatment for brain cancer. As a 14-year-old, he was able to confirm exactly what Cannon had observed in college — that while there were activities and gifts available for the teenagers, they were primarily designed for younger children.
Knowing how much comfort their blankets had brought other customers, Cannon knew that Pipermoon was the perfect opportunity to solve the problem she had pondered on for so many years. Today, Pipermoon Blankets donates a percentage of its blankets to Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
A Big Community of Small Businesses
Looking back on the last three years of Pipermoon, Cannon recognizes that being a small business owner is no small feat — but you’re never alone.
When asked what advice she would give herself three years ago, Cannon emphasized the importance of community. Connecting with other female small business owners through The Product Boss podcast, Cannon explained that the community of women is able to talk to each other through issues that arise and walk with one another through their own business journies.
“It’s really important to find people that are in the same kind of industry, who are willing to talk to you and guide you through all of the challenges of owning a small business,” Cannon said.
A Mission Fulfilled
Despite the challenges that come with being a small business, for Pipermoon, the one thing that makes it all worth it is seeing their mission come to life.
“We have some parents that have autistic children who have reached out to me to tell me that their child slept for the first time in four years,” Cannon said. “That was an email I just got last week and it just made me cry. Those are the best things.”
Whether it’s hearing that a customer used their blanket as a comfort during a hard time, or that a customer’s child or husband stole their blanket because they loved it so much — Pipermoon wants its blankets to feel #LikeaHug no matter the reason.
“The best thing is when you see a repeat customer order,” Cannon said, “because you know that your mission and what you’re trying to accomplish is touching other people’s lives, too.”
The Final Word
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