MAKING A FASHION STATEMENT AND A SOCIAL IMPACT
For Krista Jefferson, promoting fashion and fairness complement each other as beautifully as a pair of earrings and necklace. This combined sense of style and social consciousness began with a trip of a lifetime to Africa that profoundly impacted Krista’s worldview and purpose
“In 2012, I was fortunate enough to win a national photography contest, giving me the opportunity to visit Uganda,” explains Krista. “While there, I witnessed a side of life and humanity that I will never forget. I met former child soldiers, AIDS victims, countless orphans, and people struggling against all odds to meet their most basic needs.”
Yet, amid such turmoil and tragedy, Krista saw something else. “Despite the unimaginable challenges that these people faced, I also saw their hope and dreams,” she says. In Africa, her eyes were opened to just how fortunate she and the rest of us back home in Canada were. Ultimately, this trip of a lifetime became a life-changing trip, out of which her eclectic business, JustOne, was born.
JustOne is a socially-minded globally-conscious enterprise that adheres to fair-trade practices, offering beautifully crafted jewellery, accessories, housewares, baskets, skincare and more, sourced from skilled artisans in Uganda and Kenya. With every purchase from Just One, you can help enable this talented group of artisans and makers earn an income to provide for their families and build their capital in a dignified way.
“By purchasing products from Just One, you are making a statement not just in your fashion choices, but in how you choose to live in the world,” explains Krista. “You are making a statement that the people who make your products matter – that they deserve to utilize their unique skills and abilities to earn fair wages and provide better futures for their families.”
This philosophy is reflected in the very name of her business, Just One, which refers to the belief that just one person and just one purchase can make a difference in the world. “It may seem like a small thing, but when you buy one of our items, whether it’s a necklace, bracelet, home décor, or anything else, you are making a contribution that will help improve someone’s life.”
To be clear, Just One is not a charity. It is, first and foremost, a boutique-style shop offering truly stunning fashion and home décor pieces. “While we are very proud of our social commitment, our first passion is helping our customers define their own style and feel good about themselves,” says Krista. “We offer high-quality, handcrafted pieces people can purchase and wear with pride, both for their beauty and the benefits they create for the artisans who created them.”
Closely following fair trade practices to ensure its artisan partners are treated fairly and in a way that is beneficial to both people and the environment, Just One aims to use only materials that can be purchased in the countries of the artisans. “We intentionally work with recycled materials as much as possible, repurposing discarded items into works of wearable art,” notes Krista. Just One strives to provide employment opportunities so that artisans can send their children to school, while educating its customers about the dynamic artisan industry in Africa. “There is so much out there as far as creativity and talent in these countries,” says Krista.
Born and raised in northern Ontario, Krista, along with her husband and three daughters settled in Caledonia, where she ran JustOne out of her home as an online enterprise for seven years. In 2019, she launched her brick-and-mortar store, located at 18 Argyle Street North. As the “chief story teller” at JustOne, Krista tells captivating stories through photos, words and video on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and wherever else people will listen with their ears, eyes and hearts.
“JustOne really began with people noticing my necklace, which I had purchased as a souvenir in Uganda,” recalls Krista. “People were complimenting it, but also listening to the stories of those who had made it. On my photography blog I asked if anyone would like to buy their own necklace to support the artisans. In just two weeks, over 200 necklaces were sold. I had to start a waiting list and, just like that, JustOne was conceived.”
Just One is also making a difference close to home. Recently adding local makers to its retail store. “The pandemic has been hard on everyone – and with the loss of events for many makers, we recognized a need,” says Krista. In store you will find makers who create signs, charcuterie boards, original artwork of Caledonia, photography, clothing soaps and much more. A favourite maker in the shop is a local 91 year old Caledonia resident who knits socks. So now a days in Just One you can find basically anything with a story and a purpose.
Supporting Krista in her business operations are Shannon and Eden – and her sourcing team, Jack and Ketty. “Jack is the Artisan Leader in Kenya, while Ketty is the Artisan Leader in Uganda,” Krista explains. Other than that, JustOne is a family affair with an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach. “If you’ve stopped into the shop, you’ve likely met me, a daughter or two (sometimes all three), or my husband.”
One person. One purchase. Repeat that over and over again and it all adds up to one world-changing initiative. Just One does all the curating, so customers can shop confidently knowing their purchases are making a difference.
To create the biggest impact, JustOne encourages its customers to share photos of themselves with their purchases using #myjustonestyle. As Krista says, “Not only do we love seeing how people style their JustOne purchases, but it helps share the word about our #worldchangingfashion and creates more business for our artisan partners.”
At the end of the day, JustOne’s mission is to do its part to make the world a better and more equitable place. “Our vision is to see artisans in developing countries use their skills to provide for their families, support their communities, and, ultimately, conquer poverty,” proudly says Krista.
What could be more beautiful than that?
18 Argyle St. N., Caledonia, ON, N3W 1B6
Haldimand County gratefully acknowledges the support of FedDev Ontario for tourism businesses in Ontario’s Southwest.