“God has also spoken very powerfully through His Word. I never knew the Bible has so much to say about clothing!”
- Heidi VanderWal, Chief Crown Officer (owner) of Crowned Free
Hi there! I’m Heidi VanderWal and I’m the founder of Crowned Free, a clothing and accessory company that gives back to fight human trafficking. I’m a mom of three amazing kids who are thriving and walking out their calling in their young lives. My husband is just plain awesome. He’s super witty, funny, creative, the “fun parent”, and my biggest fan. We both are entrepreneurs and big dreamers. We love to think out of the box and just go for it. I have a quote hanging in my office that states, “God dreams a bigger dream than you dream for yourself.” Can I get an AMEN!
What is the mission behind Crowned Free?
Crowned Free empowers women to become social entrepreneurs by selling clothing, jewelry and accessories at Pop-Up Shops, styling their friends and spreading the passion to put an end to human trafficking. When you shop our collection, host a Pop-Up Shop or become a Representative, you join us in creating sustainable jobs and education opportunities for victims of human trafficking.
What is your key bible verse, either business or personal, and why?
In Isaiah 35:10 it states “and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
Through Christ’s restorative work our sorrow and pain will be turned to joy! In the end, our enemies will be destroyed and we will spend eternity with Him experiencing EVERLASTING joy! How beautiful!!
What prompted you to create a faith-based business?
About eight years ago or so God told me that he would give me an idea for a business of my own. I had no idea what that business would be but I started praying about it then. Over the next few years I had a handful of friends tell me that God had told them that he was going to give me a platform to share this God idea and that I would be sharing it in front of people. The first time I heard that I would be public speaking I wanted to run for the hills. I would rather be doing pretty much anything else than holding a microphone. Let's just say that God and I had quite a few chats about it! But God in his grace knew that I needed several years of preparation to wrap my head around what was coming. He is so good! So when I woke up five mornings in a row at the end of January, 2014, with this fashion accessory idea, I just knew that this was it. This is what I have been praying about for years. I remember the intersection I was driving through when the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear to attach this business to a cause. And I knew right away that the cause was fighting human trafficking. This business was a God idea. This business has been bathed in prayer before it began. This business is God's business and I am honored to be along for the ride.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I have some pretty awesome stories of where our ideas come from for our products. I did not go to fashion school. My degree is actually in radiology technology but I grew up in an entrepreneurial family and have always had a love of fashion and accessories! When I started this business I did not have a clue where to even begin, but I knew that God was calling me to step out in faith so I took a step. God started speaking very profoundly and supernaturally as we began this journey. Some of the ways God showed us what products to start with was through dreams and visions. I would wake up in the middle of the night with a picture of a piece we were supposed to do and then sketch it out. I am not an illustrator so my sketches are pretty first-grade like. I have pages of ideas in my journal that God has given over the years and it just gets me so excited to know what's coming! God has also spoken very powerfully through His Word. I never knew the Bible has so much to say about clothing!
How do you bring God’s Word into your products?
Our collection is inspired by God's Word. For example, our Arise and Shine T-shirt is based off from Isaiah 60:1. Our You Are Worth It Tee is taken from Prov 31:10. Our goal is to have products that are inspiring, positive, hope-filled, empowering, fun, and of course fashionable!
What is the biggest lesson God has taught you through your business?
Oh my goodness. There are so many lessons I have learned on this journey. I think the biggest one is trusting God. I have learned that I need to trust him when I have no idea what I'm doing, when I feel completely unqualified, when it seems that God's timing for calling me to start this business seems completely wrong, when I'm facing a significant health crisis and wonder how in the world am I even supposed to get out of bed let alone work, and the list goes on. God is so faithful. I’m gracefully broken (another shirt!) and my heart overflows with gratitude every day for how He daily meets me right where I’m at. The verse God’s given me during this season has been an anchor for my soul. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12” He is my hope and I can trust him!
What encouragement can you share with our readers?
When God stirs your heart and calls you to start something new or get involved somewhere, be obedient. You might be sweating buckets and your heart might literally feel like it’s going to pound out of your chest when you feel those nudges and here those whispers, but know that God has a plan and His plan needs YOU! You are uniquely qualified for such a time as this, and you don't want to miss out on a great adventure with our magnificent God leading the way! He doesn’t promise it’ll be Easy Street, but he does promise to be there every single step of the way.
Crowned Free was founded in January 2014, by Heidi VanderWal, and through the sales of their products, gives back two different ways. The first way is by financially supporting organizations in the United States and internationally who work to restore, rescue, and rehabilitate survivors. The second way Crowned Free gives back is by creating sustainable jobs for girls who have been rescued to make over half of our products. This opportunity equips survivors with vocational skills they can use to provide for themselves and their families.
We love to see people using their gifts to glorify Him with their businesses! How are you using your gifts? We want to CELEBRATE you! Connect with us for a chance to be featured.
The master was full of praise:
“Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been
faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!”