Saturday, May 30

UCLA alumnus starts hat company with brother for cancer patients

Shaun (left) and Keane Veran (right) co-founded OURA, a company that sells specialty hats designed for cancer patients and their supporters, in November. (Mia Kayser/Daily Bruin)

Shaun Veran’s little brother, Keane Veran, began to wear hats after his hair fell out during treatment for leukemia. However, Keane Veran was worried that the caps he wore would cause infection because of his weakened immune system, and could not find a hat that was either machine washable or antibacterial.

Shaun and Keane Veran co-founded OURA, a company that sells specialty hats designed for cancer patients and their supporters, in November. Shaun Veran, who graduated from UCLA in 2014, said he was inspired by his brother to launch OURA, which also supports cancer patients by granting them with a wish through the Make-A-Wish foundation for every 1,000 hats sold.

OURA incorporates nanomineral titanium dioxide into the threads of its hats, which Shaun Veran said makes the cap completely self-cleaning, antibacterial, moisture repellent and ultraviolet ray protective.

Shaun Veran said OURA’s use of nanominerals is similar to lululemon athletica’s Silverescent technology, which kills bacteria.

“We did a lot of research,” he said. “We had seen that there’s some other companies who use minerals to kill bacteria.”

Shaun Veran also said the nanominerals woven into the fabric do not need to be washed. Keane Veran added that regular hats normally don’t get washed and harbor bacteria over time.

“What people don’t realize is that (other) hats are gross,” Keane Veran said. “When was the last time you washed a hat? During (cancer) treatment, my family would be cycling through a hat a week.”

Shaun Veran said OURA funds pediatric cancer patients’ wishes through the Make-A-Wish foundation because their family had a positive experience with the organization, which granted his wish to meet former President Barack Obama. Keane Veran said meeting the former president and visiting Washington, D.C., rejuvenated him and made him feel determined to overcome his disease.

“We wanted to share that feeling of hope and resilience with other people,” Keane Veran said.

Mathew Tran, one of OURA’s customers, discovered the company when a close friend of his developed cancer.

“(Cancer) became more relevant to me because within the past month, one of my close friends contracted cancer,” Tran said. “When I put (the hat) on, I think about him and what he’s going through. It’s more of a symbol that I wear.”

Tran added the hat’s message stood out to him because it allowed him to support a cause by wearing a high-quality hat.

“For me, it’s like art,” Tran said.

Keane Veran said the company’s logo, which resembles a red outline of a paper crane, was inspired by the cranes he folded during his treatments.

“There’s a Japanese legend that folding 1,000 paper cranes grants a wish,” Keane Veran said. “That was the jumping-off point for our design.”

OURA has sold more than 400 hats since its launch in November. Keane and Shaun Veran said they hope the company will expand beyond Southern California, which is where the hats are currently manufactured.

“Hopefully we can grow this company,” Keane Veran said. “I want to see it grow into multiple factories.”

The brothers said although OURA is in its early stages, they think they have already built a community of individuals fighting cancer and hope to help more pediatric cancer patients.

“I think what we’re really trying to do is support cancer patients,” Shaun Veran said. “Keane’s wish was life-changing, and we want to do that for other people.”

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