I’m sure I have mentioned on here my love of anything vintage and my fascination with the World War II era. So I was really excited to talk to Gina Elise, founder of Pin-Ups for Vets, and Kenny Kahn, CEO of Beauty and Pin-Ups, about their collaboration to benefit those who have served our country. Perfect timing for the Fourth of July!
Elise and Kahn first crossed paths on the TLC reality competition Global Beauty Masters, sort of a Top Chef for stylists. The challenge was to make your model look like a vintage pin-up, and Elise was one of the models. Afterward, Elise and Kahn found themselves standing on line together at a Starbucks, and got to talking.
“I was completely intrigued by her as a person, she was about as authentic as anyone I had met in some time,” said Kahn. He thought Elise had a great purpose with Pin-Ups for Vets, and really wanted to be a part of what she was doing.
After checking out Elise’s social media posts and looking into the Pin-Ups for Vets organization, Kahn was on board. “I loved the way she brought joy to military veterans, and I also loved that she involved active and non-active members of the military in her mission,” he said.
When Beauty and Pin-Ups developed its new light hold hair spray, dubbed Valor, the brand chose Elise as its model. Beauty and Pin-Ups also donates a portion of the proceeds from every sale of Valor to Pin-Ups for Vets.
Elise told me that she started Pin-Ups for Vets almost 11 years ago as a creative way to give back to America’s veterans. She was inspired by her grandfather, who served in the army during World War !!.
“Back in 2006, a lot of stories made the news about our troops coming back from Iraq, and trying to get medical care,” she said. “I just really wanted to do something to support the Veterans Administration (VA) and help vets and troops.” She felt the vintage pin-up was an appropriate motif because pin-ups were such a big part of military culture during World War II, and reminded the troops of what they were fighting for.
Pin-Ups for Vets raises funds primarily through the sale of its calendar, which features real-life veterans dressed as 40s-era pin-ups. The organization donates medical equipment to veterans’ hospitals nationwide. Calendar models also dress in their pin-up garb and visit veterans in VA hospitals, and give the vets copies of the calendar as gifts.
Doing Good and Rocking Great Hair
Beauty and Pin-Ups was launched less than a year ago, said Kahn. He went on to say, “We set out to build a brand that stands for something really important and creates great hair care products.”
The concept for Beauty and Pin-Ups was born before Kahn and his team knew what the products were going to be. “We had a discussion about the history of the pin-up, and what it must have been like to be a pin-up back in the 40s,” Kahn said. The pin-ups on the brand’s packaging may seem tame by today’s standards, but were probably pretty risqué by the 40s standards.
The Beauty and Pin-Ups team considered the mindset of the person who posed that way. “You had to be courageous and have a sense of your femininity and your sexuality,” said Kahn. He thought those were powerful messages to build a brand around.
In addition to its work with Pin-Ups for Vets, Beauty and Pin-Ups also donates a portion of its sales to Best Buddies International, an organization that helps those with intellectual disabilities. You can shop the whole Beauty and Pin-Ups line here.
Pin-Ups for Vets and Best Buddies International are such great causes. Do you have a favorite charity or a cause that’s close to your heart? Let’s talk about it in the comments!
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