BKYSC Crown Heights Henley featured on Designed Good with an interview with TVP's Jon Goldmann

Featured in Designedgood.com

This week at Designed Good, we are lucky to be featuring a brand with a full story we can trace from beginning to end. The Vanity Project defines transparency: They were conceived for reasons we can relate to, and they are committed to partnerships and principles they can spell out clearly. This week, we caught up with Jon Goldmann from The Vanity Project, an initiative that is making the things you want to wear – T-shirts and sweatshirts – into tools for making a real difference. “We want to create conversations around the clothing,” Jon told us.

Indeed, The Vanity Project itself grew out of conversations that Jon remembers with his friends Omri and Jason, who founded The Vanity Project while they were at Northwestern University. When Jason’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, he struggled with feeling powerless, since her recovery was not in his control. He and Omri began doing more volunteer work in the Chicago area.

With exposure to nonprofits and charities, he realized how strapped they were for time and resources – they needed help with outreach and branding, and the T-shirts that were supposed to accomplish this were often the forgotten-in-the-laundry-basket variety.

They launched The Vanity Project a year ago to help more people make a real impact by wearing something they’d be excited to pull from their closet hangers.

They have teamed up with about 30 small and medium-sized nonprofits to design and sell clothing that captures their mission – while also supporting them financially. The Vanity Project donates 51% of their net profits – again, a transparent specific we can latch on to – to the cause that inspired that specific piece of clothing.

We admire the set of criteria that guides The Vanity Project towards their nonprofit partners. Jon described their process for connecting with leaders of charities as such: “Are these the type of people we’d want to sit down and have a beer with?”

But his statement is less about discovering whether they’re PBR-bound or strictly Guinness fans. Rather, they’re interested in identifying charities that they have a real ideological connection with and who are committed to their own success.

They have big ideas about conscious consumerism at every level and want to bring the nonprofit community together. “We want to be a thought leader in the space,” Jon said.

And we’re excited because at the end of the day, The Vanity Project is not just interested in how people look outwardly at the world around them, but also how people think about themselves. That’s the origin of their business’s name: The idea of looking in the mirror and deciding if you are representing your values with what you wear – whether you #WearReal.



Check Out The Vanity Project at Gowanus Nite Market

Featured in Time Out New York

Browse the wares of around 25 indie vendors and food trucks—such as Design Hype, Dana Made and the Vanity Project—at the Gowanus Nite Market, an after-dark bazaar held in a film-prop warehouse. The second edition of this monthly fair features an exhibit of five local artists, including Marthalicia Martarita, who will be painting live. Resident DJ Chela spins a mix of hip-hop, pop, funk and disco. For more details, visit gowanusnitemarket.com.



Radical: Vanity Project’s T-Shirt For Architecture For Humanity Raises Money For Hurricane Sandy Victims

By Raquel Laneri.  Featured in the Architizer Blog on Archetizer.com

Call it radical chic. The Vanity Project, a T-shirt company that works exclusively with nonprofits, has teamed up with Architecture for Humanity for its latest charitable top. The Rebuild One Block shirt, designed by Filipino studio utwentysix, will help Architecture for Humanity raise money to rebuild homes ravaged by Hurricane Sandy in hard-hit Far Rockaway and Breezy Point in Queens.  Oh, and do we have to tell you the shirt is pretty killer? Soft gray cotton, with a blue-and-red image of a clenched fist holding a T-square—a play on the labor symbol for unity and resistance. “If the Occupy Movement were architects, this would be their shirt,” says Architecture for Humanity Co-founder Cameron Sinclair.

The Vanity Project will donate 51% of the proceeds from each shirt sold to Architecture for Humanity. The new design is available now for $35 on TVP’s website and will be sold through other e-commerce platforms in the coming weeks.




Straight Shootin' with Jason and Omri from The Vanity Project

Featured on Social Entrepreneurs on Roozt on Oct 29, 2012.  


The Vanity Project co-founders Jason Sochol and Omri Bojko

To celebrate the release of their Fall 2012 line, we asked The Vanity Project co-founders and NYC natives Jason Sochol and Omri Bojko everything you’d want to ask two successful social entrepreneurs. TVP works with non-profit organizations to design high-end graphic shirts and hoodies based on their logos, and 51% of the proceeds from every sale are donated back to the cause. Wow! Find out what makes Jason & Omri tick:


The Vanity Project co-founders Jason Sochol & Omri Bojko

Roozt: Where do you usually find yourself around noon on a Sunday?
Jason: Gearing up to watch the Ravens.
Omri: Biking to one of New York’s many street festivals, like Smorgasburd Flea Food Market in Brooklyn.

Roozt: What are the top 5 most played songs on your iTunes right now?
Jason: “My Passion” by Akcent, “Power Happy” by Con Bro Chill, “Lights” (Bassnectar remix) by Ellie Goulding, “Black Velvet” by Ferry Corsten, “Come With Me” (Jidax Remix) by Steve Aoki.
Omri: I’m more of a Pandora guy so I’ll give my top 5 artists—Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes, Florence + The Machine, Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, The Beatles.

Roozt: What are you most passionate about and why?
Jason: I want to create natural, convenient systems to make our society more sustainable. Whether it’s recycling or using more environmentally-friendly sources of energy, there are many opportunities to make small, seamless changes that can have a huge impact. Trying to change human nature is a losing battle—we need to work with human nature and steer its natural impulses toward doing good. TVP is an example of this. Our desire to look good should not be shamed. Rather, we should harness that desire to do great things, like helping those in need.
Omri: I’d say I’m most passionate about two things. The first is just to create things. It’s unbelievably rewarding…the day after one of our first events in Chicago I saw a person in my neighborhood wearing a shirt of ours. That alone put a huge smile on my face and justified every risk we took in starting TVP. The second thing is creating systems that improve society through increased efficiency. JFK said something to the effect of “there is no problem that mankind cannot solve.” I truly believe that and am committed to being a part of the solution.

Roozt: Who inspires you the most?
Jason: Lincoln, Washington, John Lennon, Muhammad Ali….and Russell Crowe in Gladiator. People who fought against the status quo and held on to a near impossible vision of the future.
Omri: People being true to themselves and going against the grain when it is so much easier to just go with the crowd. Whether it’s a kid standing up for another on the playground or a revolutionary leading a struggle against oppression, being true to yourself is the one thing all great leaders have in common.

Roozt: What’s the story behind starting your company?
Jason: It’s hard to say when the story starts, but if I had to pinpoint it, it was the day Omri and I were sitting in a coffee shop in Chicago, and he turned to me and said: “What if we put really cool charity logos on soft vintage tees?” Intrigued, I responded: “Go on…” If you did a CAT scan at that exact moment I’d bet you’d see something like cerebral fireworks exploding all over the place.
Omri: Jason and I were both working in finance in Chicago. We felt unfulfilled with our jobs and began to volunteer with local non-profits. One thing we noticed was how much of a burden doing T-shirts was on their already strained resources; we also noticed (as everyone else does) how bad the shirts produced for charitable events are. At the same time, I found myself becoming increasingly disenchanted with the retail graphic clothing market. I’d walk into any major retailer or even small boutique and couldn’t find anything that adequately expressed anything about me. Why would you wear something that said “Varsity Soccer Team 1975
when you were not on the soccer team or alive in 1975? So we looked at the market from both angles.
Jason: We started out calling a few charities to gauge their interest. Immediately they were intrigued—”Wait, so you’re going to pay for them, produce them, sell them, and send us checks? And there won’t be unsold boxes of shirts in our offices anymore? And these are actually going to look cool and be good quality? What’s the catch?” We sold our first round of shirts in 2011; in 2012 we held our official launch at New York Fashion Week. It was a huge success, and from then on we began raising capital, securing office space, establishing relationships with printers and suppliers, reaching out to retailers, and engaging new non-profits. Now we’re ready to scale.

Roozt: Why are you committed to giving back through business?
Jason: I think corporate social responsibility is very important—and logical—given businesses only exist because of their consumers. It’s unfortunate that there’s so much animosity out there right now between businesses and society. We exist because of our consumers. We know that. We all have a lot to be thankful for, and a great way to do that if you’re a business owner is to give back—that could be personally, or it could be baked into every transaction, like our apparel at TVP.
Omri: In my mind this is just the next evolution of our society and economy. I really don’t like the traditional non-profit model of just asking people for money. Once I started volunteering, I thought to myself that there has to be a better way to engage people and get them invested in a cause. I’m also a big believer in capitalism and its ability to make our world a better place, when harnessed correctly. We can afford to incorporate a way to give back into our business model—this is also something that consumers do and should demand. Unchecked consumerism got us to a bad point as a country and we believe conscious consumerism should and will be the next paradigm.

Roozt: Any wise words for aspiring social entrepreneurs out there?
Omri: The first thing I would tell anyone starting any business is to prove your concept on a small scale, see if people buy into your idea and it’s economically feasible. After that (and I know this sounds like a huge cliche) it’s just to persevere. Along the way at literally every step there are people who tell you that you cannot get it done, especially when it comes to social enterprise, which by definition isn’t solely profit driven—people will tell you it’s crazy and you can’t do it. Screw that! Keep trying.
Jason: One of our partner charities has a great slogan that comes to mind: “Lead The Fight.” No one else is going to. Don’t look around for someone to do it for you. If you know how, or see the way, then do it. Don’t make any excuses or feel bad for yourself. Somebody somewhere has it way worse. Be thankful for the opportunity and honored to play this role.
Omri: If you start 10 endeavors and 9 of them fail but one succeeds you are a successful business person. Go out there, take chances. What’s the worst that can happen?




New York Called Omri Bojko and Jason Sochol

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Omri Bojko and Jason Sochol at their New York office to discuss their brand, The Vanity Project. The Vanity Project began in 2011 in an effort to connect fashion and philanthropy by taking the logos of different philanthropic organizations and placing them on t-shirts which sell on their website. They give 51% of the after-expense profits from the sale of each shirt back to the charity represented by each tee's logo. The Vanity Project currently represents 26 charities from different locations in and outside New York. Some of these include the Boys & Girls Club and The Story Pirates. However, founders Omri and Jason already have plans to extend their reach well beyond 26 philanthropic causes.
Omri and Jason's story is very relatable. As they touched on their background I thought a lot about my guy friends from college. Omri, born in Israel, and Jason, born in Maryland, ended up in Chicago graduating as friends with history degrees from Northwestern University in 2008. At the time they had no idea what they wanted to do so they followed the flood of familiarity into the finance pool. They stayed in Chicago working for different hedge funds as traders. After three years both Omri and Jason faced, what they described as their "quarter life crisis." They asked themselves if living and trading the stock market everyday would be the extent of their impact in the professional world. While finance was fiscally pleasing it certainly did not fill the emotional void they were experiencing 
The lack of emotional and mental stimulation in their post college jobs caused greater uneasiness because both Omri and Jason (who's mom is a cancer survivor) knew what it was like to lead meaningful lives in the past. In high school, more so than college, the two were constantly stimulated by their participation in various clubs, sports and volunteering. High school may seem more insignificant the further a person excels in his or her career. However, positive memories from this time in Omri and Jason's life were a factor in their inability to settle on an average lifestyle. The two decided to take action by volunteering for nonprofits in Chicago. Doing so not only found them personal satisfaction but also allowed them to use their finance backgrounds to make a difference.
"What our finance backgrounds made evident was the inefficiency of these organizations. We asked ourselves if we could use capitalism's principals and apply those to nonprofits in order to make more money for these charities" Omri said. Then the wheels started turning. As fashion conscious individuals, something they noticed immediately was the undesirable logo marked t-shirts being sold at the events thrown by these nonprofits. Omri and Jason asked themselves, "Seriously--who wants to wear this stuff?"Initially sparked by shirts that were being sold at the nonprofit events, they started to consider the overall lack of quality design in the general graphic tee market. Omri and Jason interpret t-shirts as a form of self expression and question people's reasoning behind wearing shirts that have nothing to do with their identity. "It is one thing to promote your brand but it is another to have a shirt that says 'Varsity Soccer' when you don't even have a soccer team," said Jason.
After much brainstorming, Omri and Jason came up with the Vanity Project. The idea was simple--take cool charities and charity logos and make cool shirts out of them with a portion of profit benefiting the charities themselves. "It's human nature to want to look good, hence 'The Vanity Project,' but why not wear something that expresses who you are and what you believe in while looking good and giving back?" said Omri. This vision eventually landed them in New York City in 2011.Both Omri and Jason have an entrepreneurial spirit and they knew the energy of New York City would be most conducive to success. Living in New York keeps them motivated. "This city is magic. It's as if everyone who lives here has to pay a toll--everything is expensive and no one is easy on you. But you have to feel like you're not important at first so you are humbled and willing to work your way up. I have never experienced an energy like the one that exists here," said Omri.
Both Omri and Jason describe starting their own business as a humbling experience and a learning process. To this day they are thankful for the finance jobs they ended up quitting because those jobs gave them the experience they needed to create a profitable business. Those jobs also allowed them to financially support themselves as a start-up. "I would recommend you get work experience before starting your own company because we couldn't have done what we did as quickly as we did without understanding how business structures work and what motivates people," said Omri. "You have to have proof of concept and demonstrate commercial viability especially if you are interested in attracting and impressing outside investors," he continued. But, if you can prove a successful revenue model, even on a small scale, Omri and Jason believe in profitability on a large scale.
"Scale," after all, became the word of the day as Omri and Jason described the newest endeavor behind The Vanity Project. Currently, they have licensing agreements with 26 different charities supporting causes that range from education and youth to poverty and hunger to social equality, and much more. These charities were chosen as a result of networking and personal relationships in addition to a desire to satisfy a wide variety of causes. What if they wanted to satisfy the needs of 500 charities however? Operating on this large of a scale would not only overwhelm their consumer but escalate inventory costs perpetually.Omri and Jason's solution was a second leg to their business plan: a nonprofit services company. This service allows certain nonprofits their own website separate from, but hosted by, The Vanity Project. The product in these storefronts does not necessarily have to be designed by The Vanity Project's team but the charities would get their products through The Vanity Project's manufacturing efforts. On these web platforms organizations can advertise the sale of a specific shirt design for a specific amount of time and showcase fundraising goals if they so choose.The separation of The Vanity Project's retail line and their product services company would allow Omri and Jason the ability to separate their consumers into three categories: donors of the charitable organizations, socially conscious individuals, and street wear focused consumers. The product services company satisfies the first category who is only interested in product from the charity they care about. The last two consumers are satisfied by the product assortment and designs filtered by Omri and Jason on their own site. 
Toward the end of my interview Jason and Omri had sold me on The Vanity Project through the passionate expression of their vision. I think they would be surprised to know that one of the most powerful perspectives they left me with resulted from a story Jason told. He mentioned how he had a phone call with an organization called Wildlife Friendly that went something like this:

"I was told a story about elephants eating farmer's crop. The elephants were eating these farmer's livelihood so the farmers were shooting them. An elephant expert came out and advised the farmers to plant chili next to their crop because elephants hate chili. So the farmers followed instruction and sure enough the elephants went elsewhere. The chili, in turn became a desired commodity that the farmers ended up selling and making a decent amount of money from. They made enough that the famers were able to actually allocate grazing land for the elephants."This story is all about connecting the dots to better our environment. It is about finding solutions to problems in a way that encourages a conscious and environmentally friendly lifestyle. In the same way Omri and Jason are providing an outlet for people to live their lives more consciously by being mindful of what they wear and supporting causes they care about at the same time. The two are connecting fashion and philanthropy in a powerful way and I certainly hope they can succeed in raising awareness and inspiring people to #wearreal.

Make sure to visit their website here to #wearreal and follow them on Twitter and Facebook. Keep updated on The Vanity Project on The Busy Signal



A Nice Shout Out from our friends in Thailand!


‘The Vanity Project’ เสื้อยืดมีดีไซน์สนับสนุน+ส่งเสริมกิจการเพื่อสังคม

14.10.2012| , | 217 Views


เชื่อว่ามนุษย์ใจดีอย่างชาว CreativeMOVE หลายครั้งก็อยากอุดหนุนสินค้าเพื่อการกุศลอย่างเต็มอกเต็มใจ แต่หลายหนก็ซื้อเพราะแค่อยากช่วย ไม่ได้ปลื้มดีไซน์แต่อย่างใด เผลอๆ ซื้อไปก็ไม่ได้ใช้งาน เก็บเข้ากรุไปซะงั้น สินค้าที่ไม่น่าจับจ่าย จึงส่งผลให้การระดมทุนเพื่อทำงานสังคมชะงักงันไปได้เหมือนกัน หลายองค์กรก็เข้าใจปัญหานี้อย่างดี เลยจับมือกับนักสร้างสรรค์ออกแบบสินค้าการกุศลให้ได้ลุค ช่วงนี้เราจึงเห็นสินค้าเพื่อการกุศลที่มีดีไซน์ใช้ได้จริงในชีวิตออกมาไม่ น้อยเลย


The Vanity Project ก็เป็นอีกหนึ่งโครงการที่มุ่งเป้าสู่คนรุ่นใหม่หัวใจสาธารณะ โดยหยิบเอาเสื้อยืดมาสื่อ ใส่ดีไซน์ให้ความหมายการช่วยเหลือสังคม The Vanity Project ทำงานร่วมกับองค์กรไม่แสวงหากำไรหลายด้าน อาทิ การศึกษาและเยาวชน การช่วยเหลือผู้อดอยากและยากจน ด้านสาธารณสุข สิ่งแวดล้อม สังคม รวมถึงวัฒนธรรม โดยนำโลโกขององค์กรนั้นๆ มาจัดวางอย่างสวยเก๋บนเสื้อยืดคุณภาพดี เนื้อนุ่ม ทำจากฝ้ายออร์แกนิคผสมโพลีเอสเตอร์รีไซเคิล ซื้อใส่แล้วยืดอกได้ ไม่ใช่แค่ด้วยดีไซน์ แต่ยังมีความหมายของการให้ เพราะ 51% ของราคาเสื้อที่จ่ายไปนั้น จะนำกลับไปบริจาคแก่องค์กรที่เลือก (ตามโลโก้บนเสื้อยืด) และทุกครั้งที่หยิบมาใส่ เสื้อยืดยังช่วยสื่อสาร กระตุ้นการรับรู้ต่องานด้านสังคมขององค์กรนั้นๆ ด้วย


มากกว่าความเป็นแฟชั่นหรือโปรดักท์ดีไซน์ The Vanity Project ยังยืนอยู่บนพื้นความคิดของ Collaborative Design ที่ออกแบบระบบประสานความร่วมมือจากหลายแห่ง ดีไซน์และองค์กรการกุศลที่ไม่ทำงานโดดเดี่ยวแยกจากกันแบบนี้แหละ จะยิ่งช่วยให้การสร้างสังคมที่ดีมีพลังมากยิ่งขึ้น







อ้างอิง: The Vanity Project, Facebook

Credit/ที่มา: http://www.creativemove.com/creative/the-vanity-project/#ixzz2APxb67D4

 Re-Imagined Logo Tees

 Featured in the October 2012 issue of BBP, the Official Business Monthly of the Promotional Products Association International.


 The Vanity Project T-Shirts for Charity

Featured on Style Quotidien on September 24, 2012


The Vanity Project collaborates exclusively with non-profit organizations to produce high-end clothing in order to raise money and build awareness for important causes.  The partner organizations represent a variety of social issues including education and youth development, hunger and poverty, the environment, disease support and prevention and social equality.  The Vanity Project serves as a platform to support these great causes by offering t-shirts, sweatshirts and hooded sweat jackets for sale with 515 of the proceeds from every sale going directly back to the organization featured.  The heather purple tee on the left is made partially from eco-friendly fabrics and supports the AAC, an organization that spreads awareness and raises funds for children living with Asperger's Syndrome via the NYU Langone Medical Center.  The tee in the middle of made from 100% organic cotton and supports Action Against Hunger, a global organization that works to save the lives of malnourished children and provide safe and sustainable water supplies through the efforts of over 4,600 humanitarian professionals.  The 100% organic cotton acid green tee on the right supports the Fiver Children's Foundation, a comprehensive youth development organization that empowers children from underserved communities to develop life skills and to reach their full potential through year-round mentoring and counseling programs, a character building residential summer program, and partnerships with schools and community based organizations.  There are many other styles and colors to choose from, and each piece helps to support one of the partner charities.  Prices range from $32 for t-shirts to $58 for a zipped hoodie.  Sizes are unisex and range from XS-XXL.


 A World Where We #WearReal

 by Lena Lam Featured on Ethical Ocean on September 14 2012

Imagine a world without insecurity. A world where people can live without fear and be who they really are. In this world, people wouldn’t make decisions based on fear; they wouldn’t do something based on peer pressure or what social norms dictate; they wouldn’t do what everyone else is doing just because it’s deemed “cool.” In this world, everyone would express themselves for who they truly are and individuality would be encouraged – not shunned. In this world, people would not only be real but #WearReal clothing that has purpose and meaning.

This is a world that Omri Bojko dreams of. This is a world he aims to help create through The Vanity Project, an organization Omri co-founded with his business partner Jason Sochol. “To me”, Omri begins, “there’s nothing scarier than a loss of individuality. Our work is trying to create a world where people don’t only feel good but also look good expressing themselves for who they are and what they care about.”

Back in 2009, Jason’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer (thankfully, she’s okay now). It inspired Omri and Jason—two history grads from Northwestern University turned finance industry professionals—decided to start volunteering for non-profit organizations in Chicago. Their collective experience across all the organizations they donated time to brought them to one common realization: The t-shirts these non-profits make are terrible.

“Even worse was the fact these NPOs had to devote resources to getting these awful shirts designed and printed—both human resources and financial,” Omri explains. The pair saw an opportunity in the retail market to help NPOs with their brand strategies and community engagement, as well as design high quality tees with artistic and meaningful graphics.

“Our products create a tangible bond between the NPOs they’re for and the individuals that support them. What good is a shirt that raises money or spreads awareness for a charitable cause if no one can tell what the cause is?” For Omri, it’s a chance to “help organizations leverage their brands.”

And that is exactly what The Vanity Project has done for many non-profits including Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Asperger’s Awareness Council, The Children’s Aid Society, The American Fallen Soldiers Project, and Buffalo Bayou Partnership, to name a few. By creating unique designs through tweaking current logos, or in some cases designing logos from scratch, The Vanity Project is able to produce exclusive designs to print on ethical t-shirts. 51% of the profits from each shirt go back to the organization featured (and in some cases 100% goes back to the organization, through special partnerships).

Although The Vanity Project is a relatively new company, it has already seen the impact of its work. “From a financial standpoint, the NPOs we work with make money. Some organizations have received several thousands of dollars through our collaboration. In addition, we were able to take the workload off their hands and provide them with a superior product that showcases their brand and organization extremely well.”

The tees are also helping to expand their NPO partners’ reach. “We have sold shirts for organizations in Chicago to people in Alabama and for a New York-based organization to people in Oregon. We are reaching people across the country who previously did not know about these causes. Our work is reenergizing the community of these NPOs and allowing them to view themselves and the work they do differently. It’s pretty rewarding and amazing to see this happen.”

Maybe the world Omri dreams of is not as far from reality as he thinks. One thing’s for sure: The Vanity Project is leading the path to its creation.


Ethical Ocean 

The Vanity Project

Charity merchandise gets a design boost

by in Cool Hunting Style on 9 August 2012


Fed up with their positions in finance in real estate, friends Omri Bojko and Jason Sochol embarked on a quest to find something more meaningful to do, and thus created the The Vanity Project (TVP) in 2011. The two Northwestern grads had begun volunteering for non-profit organizations around Chicago after being inspired by Sochol's mother's fight against breast cancer, and in the process discovered a pattern among the merchandise created for various fundraising events. "We noticed that the charities' funds were always being drained into creating the merchandise for their events, especially those T-shirts that are always too boxy and that no one ever wants to wear afterward," says Bojko. "We thought, wouldn't it be great if someone could create T-shirts that measured up to these awesome causes?"


"We saw the place for something mutually beneficial where charities could raise money and simultaneously people could support their favorite causes with T-shirts they'd want anyway," says Bojko. "The Vanity Project is a platform that non-profits can use to do that. We are a non-profit merchandise solution." Working on a case-by-case basis, TVP has grown by collaborating with charities such as Twist Out Cancer and The Story Pirates.

Each collaboration is tailored to the charities' individual needs. However, the basic model is that TVP helps charities tweak or redesign their logos and then takes on the cost of buying and printing the shirts, which most non-profits struggle to afford. After the tees have been printed, TVP crew also works with the organization to spread the word, including selling the merchandise through TVP's store and other retail locations. At the end of every quarter, TVP gives the charity 51% of the profits from their merchandise.


Jenna Benn, founder of Twist Out Cancer, a non-profit that uses social media to bring cancer survivors together, was one of TVP's first clients. "I had just started Twist Out Cancer and we partnered with The Vanity Project as a way to get our name out at some of the big events we had been planning," says Benn. "Now that we are more established, we are thinking of designing yoga mats and yoga pants."

To purchase a T-shirt or to learn more about The Vanity Project, you can go to their website.




Fit Young Professionals stick up for Buffalo Bayou's running trails with hipster fashion, spirited mixer  



By Joel Luks

06.18.12 | 10:39 am

 Joggers need running trails. The Buffalo Bayou has them, though some are in need of tender loving care.
That would be the rationale for Bayou Buddies teaming up with Brian O'Neill's Running Club for Thursday evening's spirited mixer at BlackFinn American Grille. 
These 150 young professionals on the scene with a penchant for beautifying the city's urban waterways never sprint away from a challenge, this time supporting fundraising efforts to maintain and improve the paths that, in turn, keep them in good health.
Moreover, the throng raised awareness for a pedestrian bridge at Jackson Hill and a cantilevers pass at Shepherd and Memorial that would protect runners at such a busy turnaround, and rallied colleagues to attend a June 27 community meeting at United Way to discuss how $30 million from the Kinder Foundation is enhancing the 160-acre, 2.3-mile tract from Shepherd to Sabine Street.
As they say, running releases endorphins, endorphins make people happy and happy people can achieve anything. 
BON club founder Dave Lee thinks that it's all about fitness, fun and philanthropy — though romance is a side effect as three couples who met through the club are now engaged and another just walked down the aisle.
Add hipster fashion-for-a-cause to that list. The Buffalo Bayou Partnership sold graphic tees designed through a new collaboration with The Vanity Project and branded neckties in three colors — just in time for Father's Day. The raspberry, royal and sky blue buffalo-patterned ties are still available at À Bientôt, Rebecca & Drew, Tootsies, Leslie & Co. Ladies Store and online.







COTG Interview Series Presents… The Vanity Project!



FEBRUARY 26, 2012 

[L to R; Co-founders Omri Bojko and Jason Sochol wearing The Vanity Project hoodies - Bojko wearing Chicago Coalition For The Homeless logo; Sochol wearing American Friends of The Israel Sport Center For The Disabled logo]

Two twenty-somethings living in Chicago are unhappy at their jobs as respective traders and real estate analysts. Sounds familiar, right? While our generation is known as one to be indecisive, coddled by our parents and their upper/middle-class lifestyles and not strongly career driven, we are going to dive into the lives of two individuals who do not fall into these stereotypes. They used their friendship and passion for entrepreneurship to form a unique new retail/charity driven company called The Vanity Project.

Consisting of two Northwestern alums and college buddies, we explore with co-founders Omri Bojko and Jason Sochol the history behind the company as well as how it plans to grow and make itself a relevant company in the struggling non-profit world and competitive retail industry.

“It’s more of a personal journey as cliche as that sounds… I was ill prepared for the new world after college,” said Bojko of his post-college life.

Both Omri and Jason were very involved in their local communities by working with various non-profit organizations during their time in Chicago. Around the time after Jason’s mother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer (and now fully recovered!) they both sat down to discuss how they could make a profitable business by working with non-profits and have them see the benefits.

Co-founder Omri realized, “there are so many inefficiencies in how non-profits operated…  Just because I’m a non-profit doesn’t mean I can’t run a successful business.”

Here is where the idea for a retail based company was born – use non-profit logos and add them to casual apparel and sell. The idea is to “take a charity logo, make it cool to wear the logo and represent a charity or something socially conscious,” explained Sochol.

When Bojko wasn’t working, he would run from store to store, including places like Urban Outfitters and find the apparel/materials he thought would be most comfortable, easy-to-wear and marked the breakdown of materials. He recognized that, “fashion and clothing is the most prevalent form of self-expression we have and I feel it’s completely under-utilized.”

Under their model,  51% of profits made from the purchase of each item go back to the charity featured.  The Vanity Project is in charge of manufacturing the product and creative/marketing, if requested by the client. Most of their clothing manufacturing is handled by Alternative Apparel and “as a result, everything we produce adheres to socially responsible standards,” states Sochol. They are currently selling t-shirts, sweatshirts, tanks and just began thermal wear. Eventually they hope to expand into other accessories including hats, scarves and other basic wear.

Since many of these small organizations don’t have the money or resources to dedicate towards marketing techniques, The Vanity Project is filling that void by providing aid in this area where both sides can exchange resources.

“We’re almost an agency for these non-profits,” said Bojko. We’re going to help you develop your brand, market you…You have little organizations that are doing such good grass-roots, hands-on stuff. They’re not just advocacy groups, they’re really helping people out and those are the ones that need us more than anyone else,” says Bojko of their work with local organizations.

As anyone who starts a new business knows, it starts with a lot of cold calls. To start with small steps when reaching out to Chicago-based organizations, “We started with the Chicago Coalition For The Homeless. It was a cold call, but they perked up immediately,” says co-founder Sochol after explaining their thorough business plan. They’ve been working with them ever since.

Since these initial calls, they now acquired permission of logos for nine organizations that they are working closely with, including Rainbow House, Boys and Girls Club, Aspergers Awareness and their first children-based organization Story Pirates. Sochol and Bojko have an interest in working with a variety of non-profits both on a local and national scale.

Said Bojko, “Our goal is to have a very wide sweep of organizations that represent all major causes including equal rights, environment, education, homelessness, medical, disease prevention.”

They do hope to plan that some of their upcoming collaborations will be more domestic as they recognize the significance for aid right in our own homes.
While Bojko and Sochol are still in the early stages of their road to success, they have high expectations to how The Vanity Project will evolve. However, they are extremely grounded, with a mission statement that reflects the same, and consumers and people at large will follow suit with their positive intentions.

“We came into this with a good heart and that was the importance for this entire thing.. But, people want to look good too. If we can provide them with a seamless way to look good and buy things that are good quality, we will build brands out of these causes and direct people towards learning about charities,” proclaims Bojko. They hope that by seeing these logos, people will eventually learn to remember their associations to the non-profits and share that information with others.

Some fashion brands they used as inspiration to start The Vanity Project include Levi, Urban Outfitters, Vicarious by Nature, Free People and E. Village vintage shops. Bojko and Sochol see what brands like these are doing to increase social consumerism, which makes the timing for The Vanity Project an ideal one.

To market themselves in the fashion landscape, they’ve traveled to various cities selling their merchandise at festivals charity and other related events. They also just hosted their first sponsored event during NYC Fashion Week this month, which was a big success.

As of February, they have revamped their website so you can purchase items, learn about the non-profit organizations and upcoming events. They are also continuing to explore funding opportunities — if anyone would like to know more information, don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly.

To summarize The Vanity Project, it was best stated by Bojko: “When people tell you that you’re nuts, you know that you’re onto something good.”


Read the original article here:








3rd Annual Asperger’s Awareness Benefit Raises $50,000 for Foundation


– DECEMBER 15, 2011

Using iPad’s at guest check-in was not the only aspect of the 3rd Annual Asperger’s Awareness Benefit inspired by Steve Jobs. Ian Ross and his board of directors proved their drive and dedication after the success of their first benefit in 2009 by following Jobs’ words to live by: “When you do something and it turns out pretty good, go and do something else wonderful.”

For the 3rd year in a row, the Chelsea Art Museum was filled with generous donors dressed in everything from glitter gowns to top hats and sunglasses, celebrating their hard work and accomplishments with the AAC Organization.

The 3rd Annual Asperger’s Benefit was run by The Asperger’s Awareness Council to raise awareness of Asperger’s Syndrome, a high-functioning form of Autism and to increase funding for the NYU Child Study Center where services are provided. The Benefit had close to 1,000 guests and raised over $50,000, an impressive $30,000 more then in 2009.  Sponsors included Alchemia Polish Vodka, Heineken Light, Michael Collins, Pavoneo, Wodka Vodka, Access Gotham and Vanity Project.

General admission tickets sold out nearly a week before the event, as did bottle service and table reservations. Items were donated by sponsors for a silent auction, giving guests an incentive and opportunity to contribute throughout the evening. What seemed to be a guest favorite, and created a buzz through out the museum, was a fabulous introduction to The Vanity Project, which provides comfortable, high-end vintage style apparel, inspired by charitable causes and logos, with 51% of the profits going straight back to the charity.

Thanking all sponsors, contributors, and teammates, Ian Ross took the microphone. Guests cheered making it hard to hear but easy to see how proud and honored Ian’s family ,and plenty of other families affected by Asperger’s, should feel knowing that the line to enter the benefit did not pause once the entire night.

For more information and donations to AAC please visit: http://aspergersbenefit.eventbrite.com/

—Jackie Heller