Fine & Dandy

What’s the story behind the name of our shaving line: Why 1635?

VMV’s literal dad (husband to our founding dermatopathologist, my mother) loved to shave. It was his time for quiet contemplation and self tending. This, he apparently learned from his colorful forebears — among them: his father who thought vermouth sold in the bar was as close to his martini as it should get; the accomplished equestrian; the explorer who brought back a kris from Malaysia; and the bishop in Ireland who ended up in the Philippines.

That bone-dry martini thing, by the by, has proven to be one enduring tradition. My sister CC (who also works at VMV) and I both like vermouth, alone or in a negroni, say. But, all due respect to the classic, we prefer our martinis vermouth kissed. Or winked at. Or maybe waved at in passing from across a crowded room.

CC inherited his allergies, too (I call her a walking sneeze). She would have inherited his cystic acne but our mother spotted that risk when she was a toddler, got her on preventive care and a our SuperSkin Care regimen at age 9, and her skin was spared that difficult condition. I got his feistiness — anyone who’s worked in a family business knows it can be challenging and he and I locked horns our fair share. But I got a backbone out of it, which has served me well over the years.

One more thing we inherited from him: an appreciation of legacy. Our mom’s legacy is front and center. She — her brain, her science, her research, her formulations, her clinical care — is in every product we make. As we got older, I realized that while my father built this company with my mother, our father’s influence wasn’t as obvious. We decided this had to change. And it did organically, without us needing to put much thought into it…it just came. We wanted to add warmth to our formidable science, for example, and our stores began to take on more and more touches of New England, specifically his beloved Sandpoint House on Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport, Maine. Naming our allergen-free Mom & Baby line (created when I was pregnant with my first child — I flipped out at not being able to find baby care sans fragrance), we re-discovered our great-grandmother Minnie. In the 1900s, she was known to mix cold cream for her closest friends. Mixing  concoctions for loved ones and a name like Minnie? The line named itself.

My husband, who also works with us in VMV, spearheaded the creation of a shaving line because unlike my dad, he hated to shave. He wanted to make a line that made shaving less of a pain and was multi-tasking: giving him real skincare as he shaved. But it was the photo above — showing our dad’s grandfather, grand uncle (brother to Minnie) and a beloved pooch, looking fine and dandy for a walk on the beach in 1899 — that gave the line its identity.

Our dad succumbed to multiple myeloma, thirteen very full, active years after his diagnosis. His initial prognosis was 6 months and so we are forever grateful to the brilliant, researching, innovating, publishing minds at the University of Arkansas for Medical Services Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy for buying him over a decade of health and time with us. By the time we launched our shaving line (three years later), we knew we’d name it after him somehow.

We thought of no better inspiration than his take on this daily ritual: gentleman’s work, done leisurely, purposefully and well. Hence 1635’s efficacy, multi-beneficial elegance and quiet luxury — and its name, an homage to when the family landed in New England.

We hope you enjoy it. We know he would have 🙂

Laura, VMV CEO


Laura is the CEO of VMV Hypoallergenics and eldest daughter of our founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist. She has two children, Madison and Gavin, and works at VMV with her sister and husband (Madison and Gavin frequently volunteer their “usage testing” services). In addition to saving the world’s skin, Laura is passionate about learning, literature, art, health, science, inclusion, cultural theory, human rights, happiness and goodness.

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