I’m just someone trying to make a living. Aren’t we all? When I started my business 12 years ago, I was simply trying to pay my mortgage and bills as a single woman. I was fortunate to find the knitting industry which truly embraced women entrepreneurs.
My knitting bags and needle cases are designed by me in Seattle, but they are sewn in Vietnam. In the early years, I used to travel to Ho Chi Minh City on buying trips two times per year. On one of those first trips, I stumbled across an organization called Vietnam Quilts, now renamed as Mekong Quilts. It touched my heart. I don’t even remember now how I heard about them.
Mekong Quilts teaches rural, low income women the art of quilting as a means to a steady income. The quilts are sold in retail stores in Vietnam and Cambodia. You can also order them online here. They ship them from Vietnam via air for free!
Mekong Quilts hires a woman only if they can maintain full-time, long term employment. It is important for the organization to provide a steady income to the women. While the women are working at Mekong Quilts they must commit to keep their children in school, improve sanitation as well as learn to diversify their income such as raising chickens or vegetables. You can read more about the program here.
In 2007, I secured a special visa to visit the region where the ladies worked. There were only 35 at the time. Mekong Quilts now employs more than 300 women! I spent the day watching them sew. Let me be clear, these ladies are HAND SEWING the quilts. The stitches are perfect.
The next year, I brought Sue Spargo, legendary quilter to Ho Chi Minh City to teach. She spent two days with the ladies sharing special hand sewing embellishment techniques. It was so inspiring!
Every year, della Q makes a cash donation to Mekong Quilts based upon our profits. Sometimes, I forget that I’m not just running a business to earn a living. I’m also running a business to help others earn a living.
YOU are also helping the ladies of Mekong Quilts earn a living every time you buy from della Q.