For a quarter of a century, Just Creations has been selling fair-trade goods to the citizens of Louisville to educate the community about sustainable employment.
As a fair trade store, Just Creations only sells items that were made by artisans in impoverished communities who receive fair wages — wages that enable people to climb out of hunger and poverty.
“The goal of our market-based method is to provide dignity and hope through job security to some of the most marginalized people in the world,” said Joan Frisz, executive director of Just Creations.
On June 13 and 14, the non-profit store on Frankfort Avenue will hold a 25th anniversary celebration as a way to say “thank you” to the Louisville community for its support, said Frisz.
“We certainly wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have customers coming in. It’s a proud moment for us to say we’ve been here for 25 years, but to also know we’ve made a concrete difference in the lives” of artisans, said Frisz.
Just Creations opened in 1990 as an outreach ministry of St. William Church in West Louisville. The parish was aided by the Sisters of Loretto and numerous other individuals and church organizations, Frisz said.
The store has a small paid staff and relies heavily on volunteers. Among the volunteers are parishioners of the Cathedral of the Assumption, St. Frances of Rome, St. William, Holy Spirit and St. Leonard churches and members of churches from other denominations.
The store’s inventory includes a variety of home decor items, as well as bags, baskets, scarves, clothing, jewelry, stationary, chocolate and coffee. The items are handcrafted by artisans in about 45 countries, including Bangladesh, Cameroon, India, Kenya, Nepal, Pakistan, Ecuador, Peru and Guatemala.
In addition to selling the artisans’ handiwork, Frisz said, “we share the story of the artisans and information about the products themselves and where they come from. Part of our mission is supporting the artisans, but we also want to be able to tell their stories.”
Frisz said that part of the mission — conveying the artisans’ stories — lies at the heart of the store.
“I often say our work is only effective if we remember the people,” she said. “It’s not about the products, but it’s about the people and their situations.
Just Creations will honor the longevity of this mission during its 25th anniversary celebration, which will begin on June 13. The store, located at 2722 Frankfort Ave., will host a trunk show of clothing items from Mata Traders, a fair trade company in Chicago that works with artisans in India and Nepal. Also available that day will be jewelry handmade by the Beaded Treasures Project, an organization based in Louisville that teaches job skills to refugee women.
The following day, June 14, the store will hold its 25th Anniversary Street Fest from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The family-friendly event will feature craft activities for children, a musical lineup, including Appalatin — which blends Appalachian and Latino sounds — and food by La Casita Catering.
The first 200 people in attendance will receive a free T-shirt. Musical entertainment is free and the food is available for purchase.