Thanks to Vickery Trading Company for partnering with us on this post! All opinions are our own.
I chatted with Stephanie Giddens by phone last year about ethical children’s clothing (and the minimal options available) and her plans to start a refugee run children’s line in Dallas. We are so excited that she has made her dream a reality and opened Vickery Trading Company, a non-profit social business!
Stephanie was kind enough to send Ellie two dresses for her girls to test drive and both girls gave the dresses two enthusiastic thumbs up, which is no small thing – these girls have strong fashion opinions! The dresses come with ‘monkey bar shorts’ which is a necessity for any active little girl. We think it’s pretty cool that the style of the dresses can grow with your little ones, becoming tunics and then shirts at they grow.
Ellie’s girls are very excited to wear their new, comfy dresses this December as part our Dressember team!
Stephanie was also kind enough to answer some of our questions about VTC – we hope you enjoy learning more about her company!
What inspired you to start the Vickery Trading Company?
After learning about the marginalization of women worldwide and the positive impact that social business can have on underserved populations, I decided that I wanted to help. My husband and I sought out business opportunities in East Africa and planned to move there, but when the job fell through, I realized that I could make an impact in Dallas. My church was getting involved with the local refugee community close to my house, so it made sense to start looking there. Once I got involved, I realized the pervasive need for income wouldn’t be met by activities such as a clothes drive (while helpful, it wouldn’t solve the long-term problem). These people needed skills, jobs and income. Most husbands are busy working night-shift somewhere, so this leaves the women as an available workforce. We set our program up to be mom-friendly with work hours during the school day and on-site childcare for kids too young for school (which means breastfeeding mamas can work too!)
Why is working with refugees important to you?
Refugees are some of the most vulnerable people in the world. They are survivors of war, trauma and poverty and often have little to no resources to help themselves, even after they are safe. Refugees are eager to work and sometimes even well-educated, but the language barrier can often keep them from obtaining good jobs. They just need compassion and help getting started. Refugees come from a wide variety of cultures and experiences and once integrated, they add beauty and richness to our cities that we might never have had the chance to see.
Why Dallas was the place to start your company?
Dallas is a major hub for refugee relocation in the United States and many of them are placed in a neighborhood called Vickery Meadows. We were able to position ourselves in the middle of their community to allow easy access to work and collaboration with existing community services available to refugees.
Why did you start with little girl’s clothing?
We chose girls clothing for several reasons: there’s not as much going on in the children’s ethical clothing space as I’d like to see, sewing is a trainable skill with viable employment options and girls dresses are not only cute, but they tend to be simpler to sew, which is ideal for our workforce-in-training.
What are your plans for the future?
Once we get the business model running smoothly, we plan to expand our line, hopefully to include boys too! The model will also work with other industries, skill sets and populations (survivors of human trafficking, for example). We’d like to see our impact grow to help as many people as possible equipped for a successful future.
Thanks so much for sharing about Vickery Trading Company with us, Stephanie! We are excited to offer all of you a 10% off code that is good through November 30th: “DWDG10”. We think these would make great Christmas gifts for the little girls in your lives, *hint hint* to all of you grandmas, friends and aunties!
Keep an eye out for their winter releases which will come out in mid-November!