VOW for Girls Advisory Council member spotlight: Justin Warshaw of Justin Alexander
What inspired you to become involved with VOW for Girls?
Through our company history we have been donating to charities that align with our values, but we had not found one that tied closely to our mission. We were introduced to VOW by mutual acquaintances, and I loved that VOW for Girls was about Women Empowerment focusing on Health, Education and Personal Safety. For me, this partnership is in the name of my Grandmother Shirley who co-founded the business I am running today. Although I never met my grandmother, she has always been an inspiration and driving force for me and I am proud that a woman was the creator of our business and it brings even more meaning to me to help empower women around the world and to try to make a positive difference in their lives.
Our first partnership with VOW for Girls was during International Women’s Day in 2019. We partnered with Influencers to create awareness for VOW for Girls during International Women’s Day. In 2020, during the launch of one of our latest collections, we hosted a round table to discuss important issues such as child marriage, sustainability in bridal and inclusivity. Princess Mabel van Oranje inspired the viewers by sharing her personal experiences visiting grassroots organizations that are powered by VOW for Girls donations. We received an overwhelmingly positive response to our partnership with VOW and many retailers were interested to know how they can help more. It is great to put purpose and meaning behind what we are doing every day and make a positive impact.
It is easy to get caught up in our day to day, the issues plaguing us seem paramount, but there are so many less fortunate that are not given opportunities for good education, the right to choose their partners and are in situations that are impossible for them to get out of. VOW for Girls is helping to change that, and we are eager to be a partner to VOW in donating directly, but also educating the industry: our bridal shop partners and brides alike that they can make a difference.
Those that are fortunate enough to choose and determine their futures should help those that cannot.
How would you like to see the wedding industry take action to support girls?
Here at Justin Alexander, we are committed to support girls through 3 pillars: 1) my personal commitment, 2) raising funds, and 3) raising awareness on this issue.
As a VOW Champion partner and Advisory Council Member, I will actively engage with VOW programs as much as possible in the coming year so that I can learn from the lived experiences of girls and the leaders of the organizations VOW supports. I look forward to getting my hands dirty and helping in any way I can.
Justin Alexander has made a commitment to VOW for Girls to raise $100,000 in 2022. We are doing this by holding fundraising challenges with our employees, adding a donation banner on our email signatures, and linking out to our Vow Donation landing page on social media. We have many plans this year that we are excited to talk about in the coming months!
Some ways in which we are raising awareness on VOW for Girls mission is through social media, our website, and encouraging other groups, affiliates to join us in fundraising and raising awareness. A great example of this is one our retailers, The Bridal Collection. The Bridal Collection chose to use VOW for Girls as an incentive for brides to purchase a dress during their recent Justin Alexander trunk show. For every dress sold, The Bridal Collection made a donation to VOW. This raised awareness about the charity, generated donations, and made brides feel good about contributing to a wonderful cause. We encourage more retailers, and wedding professionals, to partner together so we can create a greater impact. We also encourage retailers to get local wedding partners involved to match the donation.
Who’s a celebrity you’d like to see work with Justin Alexander and VOW?
We like the idea of working with female athletes such as University of Connecticut basketball player and arguably one of the best female basketball players of all time, Diana Taurasi; 4 time Olympic gold medalist gymnast, Simone Biles; tennis player Serena Williams, who has won more Grand Slam singles titles – 23 to be exact – than any other person; and 4 time World Cup winner skier, Lindsey Vonn.
These women are inspiring in their skills, talents, and charity work and have large audiences they could leverage to share the mission of Vow for Girls. Their activism will directly impact future generations of women who are less privileged and often don’t have the opportunities to even touch a basketball, balance beam, tennis racquet or a pair of skis.
What’s your favorite love story?
My favorite love story happens to be my own. I got engaged to the love of my life, Kelsey, during the pandemic and we are getting married in September 2022.
We met for first time back in 2019 through mutual friends at a start-up event in NYC. We shared great chemistry that night, but did not connect again after the event… one year later, when we coincidentally, separately both booked trips to Tulum for New Year’s Eve. It was serendipitous! Since then we have been inseparable, spending every moment together.
Kelsey and I both realize how lucky we are to have the choice to spend the rest of our lives together.