Author: Stephanie Giddens

A few weeks ago, some volunteers came to help us (VTC) move one of our Associates into a new apartment. My husband Brad was helping out and couldn’t be at home for the normal school night routine, so we just made it a family affair...

It was about 10 o’clock in the morning and I was bundled up because it was below freezing. The fire department was winding up their hoses and the police were starting to pull away. I walked through the rusty gate of the apartment complex, past...

Our pastor recently shared some wisdom that’s worth sharing: “Inexperience doesn’t excuse inaction.” Inaction due to inexperience. I feel like that’s how most of our country responds to immigrants – especially refugees. We don’t have any frame of reference for their language, clothing, customs or...

Many of you know I shop ethically for my family’s clothes. It was a long and humbling process, but I’ve been doing it for about 3 years now, so it’s become easier and more routine. It no longer bothers me that I wear mostly secondhand...

I’ve had a hard time this year deciding how Vickery Trading will handle Christmas gifts for our Associates. I feel the constant tension of seeing need and wanting to help, but also remembering that it is my job to empower, not create dependency. It’s a...

I’m on the plane returning from one of the most impactful workshops I’ve ever attended. I spent two and a half days in New York City learning from one of the world’s leading brands, guided by an organization that is passionate about empowering local craft...

I received one of my favorite texts of all time the other day from one of our Associates that graduated in May. “Hi Miss Stephanie. Hope you are doing well. I have a victory this week. Can you please write it and put it on...

I ran into my intern this morning on the way into the building. We chit-chatted the normal Wednesday morning small talk. But I didn’t make it to the stairwell before I got stopped. An unknown refugee had dropped her two kids off in the childcare...

Hold on now. Don’t get too excited - I’m not quite there yet. I’ve barely got this baby off the ground and I started pretty late in life, so I’ve got a while. But let’s talk about this retirement thing. We hear a lot of...

In the spirit of graduation, I thought I'd share with you what I shared at the recent VTC graduation. If you missed it, you missed something super special. We look forward to seeing you there next time. :) Love, Steph On June 20, 2016, these five women...

A few weeks ago, my daughter’s third grade class visited the community center where VTC offices. They brought home goods for a service project and met the VTC Associates (Sidenote: Parents, teachers and Center staff all agreed - one of the best service projects ever)....

I was recently at home sick in bed for three days straight with strep throat. Although I caught up on tons of work while quarantined in my bedroom, I missed out on lots of life in the process. As the weekend rolled around and I...

Compassion & Capitalism. Two words we hear regularly, but I often feel like they are at odds with one another. I live amongst a population that is educated, involved and hard-working and as we get older and earn more, the trend is to buy a...

photo by Chris Barbalis A few weeks ago, we asked our fans what they want to know about refugees. They responded with some great questions and our Associates were gracious enough to open up honestly about their experiences. This is the first post in a series of insights...

I’ve always been semi-fashionable. Maybe not the most trendy, but at least well put together. More than having name brands, though, I’ve always been more interested in finding a deal. Anytime I would get a compliment on my outfit, I’d tell the person how much...

When I started working on VTC, I didn’t know what ethical fashion was. And honestly, I didn’t care. I knew that I didn’t want to run a “sweatshop” - although I didn’t really know what that meant. I also knew I wanted women to earn...

I’ll never forget the morning my husband Brad called me from the Kigali airport to tell me something was wrong. My 1-yr old son Hutch was napping and I was in the living room packing. A shipping container was coming in three days to move...