A fashion designer, jewelry maker and someone who believes in giving back to the community. Joslyn is inspiring, compassionate and extremely talented. How often do we really touch another person’s life or make a difference in the society? Joselyn made it her mission to help as many children as she can through her brand Ubuntuu. She has been a hope to hundreds and thousands of less fortunate children in Haiti.
Started as a hobby few years ago. This simple act of jewelry making turned into a movement and now Joslyn creates art pieces and raises funds in New York City.
Candid with Joslyn
Where does your passion for jewelry come from?
My passion for jewelry comes from a desire to make. Ever since I was a small kid, I was always making SOMETHING, whether it be building a clubhouse, or making clay models, or building log cabins with Popsicle sticks, I always wanted to create something. I’m a fashion designer by trade, so this passion to create turned into a full time job that I love, but I’ve always loved accessories. I like creating a whole look and I normally dream up accessories while I’m designing clothes that I can’t find anywhere so I just make them myself.
You launched your own shop, Ubuntuu, in 2015. How did the journey begin?
In 2015 I went on a missions trip to Haiti with my husband and a few of our friends. We went to serve and wanted to love on as many people as we could so we visited a lot of orphanages with kids that had special needs or wherein remote locations and did not get many visitors. We had a blast, but those kids really touched my heart and when I left I just wanted to help in any way that I could. I had just graduated from college, moved to NYC and got married and didn’t have very much money, but I did have a bunch of beads from high school and college where I would make jewelry as a hobby. I made a few bracelets and started selling them just so I could raise money to sponsor at least one kid and now, 2 years later, Ubuntuu sponsors 4 children monthly and it is incredible! We also started a scholarship program for middle school kids in NYC that we are really excited about!
What does Ubuntuu mean?
The name comes from a South African word, Ubuntu, which means “humanity towards others” or “I am because we are”. It is this philosophy that we are all connected by our humanity, this idea of oneness, and I really felt that when I went to Haiti. I can get so caught up in my American bubble that I forget that there is a whole world out there, and when I went to Haiti I felt welcomed, like I was meeting extended family. The children felt like my little brothers and sisters and when I left I missed them and wanted to help take care of them. I think it has a lot to do with the culture in Haiti though. Even if every country isn’t that way, experiencing this amazing love from strangers in Haiti helped to open my eyes to the way that I should treat others even if they are different from me: love them, accept them, treat them as if we are family because we are connected by our humanity.
What do you find most difficult in launching and managing your own brand?
I work full time as a clothing designer so time management is the hardest for me. I am constantly busy and trying to figure out how I can put enough time and effort into my career, this jewelry line, and still have enough energy to spend quality time with my husband. I want to make Ubuntuu the best that it can possibly be, but I ALWAYS wish I had more time. I think everybody does!
Tell us about your connections with children in Haiti.
One of the orphanages I visited in Haiti is called Notre Maison, but locally it’s known as Gertrude’s Orphanage because Gertrude is the woman who started it. She still runs the orphanage and is an amazing woman. Many of the children at Gertrude’s have special needs and so there are extra costs to make sure they have everything they need besides, food, clothes, and clean water (which are such basic needs to begin with). By sponsoring 4 children every month, we make sure they also have physical therapy, diapers, schooling, that kind of thing. The best part is I know all of these children. When I receive updates about them, these are children I have held and played with so it’s wonderful to see their faces and how they are growing.
You joined Keenobby as an Expertainer fairly recently and started to host your own jewelry making experiences. What do you expect from these experiences?
I loved hosting the jewelry class! It is so fun to share your passion with others. At first, I didn’t think I would have time, but setting everything up was easier than I thought it would be and the Keenobby website is really easy to use. It’s also a great way to get your story out there and tell people about what you are doing. For me, it’s important for people to know that yes, I love to make jewelry and sell it, but my main focus is making sure the kids are taken care of every month and to start sponsoring more kids. Teaching the class helped me tell more people about Ubuntuu and join me in supporting the kids.
What would you like to tell people interested to attend your Keenobby experiences?
Come ready to have a good time! Creating with your hands is such a blast, and I am a huge supporter of creating a fun and intimate atmosphere. We listen to music, talk and laugh, and encourage everyone to be creative. I also donate 50% of the proceeds from the class to sponsor the kids so just by taking the class you are helping the Ubuntuu family.
Want to make Jewelry with Joslyn? Discover her activity and join her next session here: keenobby.com/joslyn