The Kind Karma Story
Kind Karma spreads goodness through our commitment to ethical fashion that gives back and creates opportunity. By employing at-risk and homeless youth to make beautiful, custom handcrafted jewelry, all Kind Karma pieces have a positive impact not only in our community but throughout the world of fashion.
Kind Karma was born on the principle that if we spread good, then good will not only come back to us but will continue to spread.
There is so much that we cannot control in the world but we can control how we treat each other. Amidst all the chaos of natural disasters, divisive politics and incomprehensible tragedies, nothing shines brighter than a little kindness.
Employment that works.
Jewelry making is uniquely crafty and therapeutic. Many of the young people who work with us may be healing from trauma or dealing with various mental health challenges. Often this makes committing to shift work, set hours or customer service particularly challenging. For this reason, traditional employment for at-risk and transitioning homeless youth can be difficult to retain. At Kind Karma, we are happy to provide a flexible working environment which allows young people to work at a pace that suits their needs.
Jewelry that gives back.
Our youths are paid hourly wages as if they were working traditional roles but "work" actually functions more like an art class; our youth are always happy and eager to come to work even if they are having a bad day. In addition, youth receive proceeds from sales to support their goals such as funding education, housing or courses. Kind Karma is also dedicated to helping youth establish healthy lifestyles and providing mentorship opportunities to our youth artisans to help them towards the futures they envision for themselves.
A letter from our founder, Laurinda Lee-Retter
During my third year of university, I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression and although I didn't know it at the time, it was that diagnosis that would ultimately define the direction of my career.
Unable to concentrate at school, I tried to find purpose and direction through employment but without qualifications or experience, the only options to me were the two "r"'s - retail or restaurant. I chose retail but instead of helping me find purpose, the long hours, stressful environment and constant contact with customers ultimately exacerbated the mental health challenges I was facing. I spent many hours feeling hope for a "normal" future drain out of my life as I bounced around from company to company trying to find a light at the end of the tunnel.
Those years left a lasting impression on me and it inspired me to create an alternative employment model so that youth who have suffered emotional and mental challenges don't feel the way that I did when it came to employment. I know firsthand the challenges of working in a service role while going through mental and emotional healing and how it can sometimes feel like being trapped between two evils. Do you work to make money and survive or do you focus on healing and live on the streets? A lot of youth have to decide between these two options and no matter what they choose, they don't win.
I wanted to create an environment that offered meaningful employment that also allowed them to feel safe, supported and nurtured. I wanted to create an employment model where youth could actually work and balance life so they can achieve the healthy lifestyle that is fundamental to long-term success.
It is my privilege to be able to do this and for that, I am eternally grateful to the support that Kind Karma has and continues to receive. Thank you for supporting this mission to make the world a better place, one youth at a time.
Kind Karma is the embodiment of the wonderful youth we are privileged to work with and each piece of jewelry comes on a card that is signed by our youth artisans so you are connected to them just as we are. We are dedicated to changing the future of these new leaders while honouring their pasts. Read more about them and their stories!
I’m SO in love with your story and business model... and have worn my bracelet every day since I got it!
- Kama, BC
I have been looking for a necklace to bring me brightness and the message on this card just reached out to me and I feel so beautiful wearing it. This trinket has brought so much light into my life and I truly wish it brings her [our artisan, Stephanie] just as much brightness.
- Stephannie, ON
This special person and her work is as amazing as the jewelry itself! Delicate, beautiful, flawless pieces of art. Everyone should own one!