Kindness by Design

“We change the world a little each day with our kindness.”
― Tom GiaquintoBe A Good Human


Gioi Tran is 1/2 of the interior design team,  Applegate Tran, headquartered in San Francisco.  Not only is Gioi (prounced “Yoy”) a talented designer, but also a fine artist and humanitarian.    His heart is big, he is very involved with PALS Pacific Link Shelter in Vietnam both as a donor and volunteer.  PALS is dedicated to stopping human trafficking, rescuing and rehabilitating its victims.  His goal is to provide not just a place for the girls to stay but also a welcoming, safe and comforting environment.  Gioi is currently in charge of the interior design of the organization’s new shelter in Long Xuyen, Vietnam and is looking for product donations from furnishings manufacturers.
After a recent trip to visit the shelter Gioi shared his thoughts on his journey…
He writes;  “After a long 8 hour bus ride from Ho Chi Minh City to the Mekong Delta near the Vietnam-Cambodia border, deep into the remote rural regions of Vietnam, we finally arrived at PALS office and Long Xuyen shelter. The shelter is located in a region where many of the trafficking survivors are from, communities dependent on the land for their livelihood and where traffickers prey on the vulnerability of families enduring hardship.  I spoke to and heard the amazing stories of the lucky girls who were able to escape their captors. I was sad to hear that in many cases these girls were tricked and sold by their own relatives for money. On the bright side, I was so touched by the survivors’ incredible thirst to keep fighting for a better life despite the unfathomable nightmares that they have faced. Much like your typical teenager, they dreamed of getting married, having a family, attending college, and getting a decent job.

The girls ages range from 15-22 and can stay for as long as they wish. When I visited some had been at the shelter for 10 days and some had been there for 2 years. PALS provides safe shelter, access to education and/or vocational training, and works with the girls to plan their futures.
It is unimaginable that human trafficking continues to exist today.  Organizations like Pacific Links Foundation cannot do it alone, that is why I am happy to be involved to help stop this modern day tragedy.”
 I am honored that Gioi has taken the time to answer my questions.

11. Five words that best describe you?

Tenacious, fearless, high energy, compassionate and versatile.

2. How did your career get started?

I had a formal education in design, which helped me to get my foot in the door of the interior design world.  My first opportunity was an internship with an architectural firm in San Francisco and then my first interior design job with a firm that specialized in health care.  I met my partner Vernon Applegate and within the first year of knowing each other we decided to open Applegate Tran. We connected right away in our personal  lives  and realized that it made sense we start our own design business.

3. What is the best lesson you have learned while pursuing your career?

Life experiences are the best lessons. There is something to be learned everyday.

4. Best decision you have made?

To pursue my passions in life, do what you love and you will be successful.

5. Best advice you have been given?

To be compassionate.

6. What inspires you?

Food, travel, people, the diversity of cultures.

7. Who is your design/style icon?


8. If you were on a deserted island, what three items and/or people would you take with you?   (food, water and electricity are provided)…

My notebook if there is a wireless connection.  Wine, but not sure if you can just live on wine, and if not, some water to go with the wine, fishing poles and a net to catch my seafood meals.

9. Favorite food?

My Vietnamese comfort food.

10. What is your next career goal?

I want to do more volunteer work for a local and international communities fighting human trafficking. 



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