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Just so Clothing is the Startup 2017!

11.09.2017 08:00 Uhr PSI Sustainability Awards

The company Just so Clothing took home the winner’s trophy in the “Startup 2017” category for a transparent online platform with the ethical mission of economically supporting women artisans from South Asia, Egypt and South Africa in terms of product development, supply chain transparency and mobile payments.

The jury’s opinion: “A transparent business model that pursues the goal of lifting 250,000 women and their families out of poverty within 5 years deserves our support!” The company itself had this to say: “We want to revolutionise international trade practices by supporting the development of women-owned companies in some of the world’s poorest communities and by making trade fair and reasonable. At the same time, we make it possible for customers to buy products of which they know exactly who manufactured them and how and where they were produced. All the actions we take in our company bring us one step closer to that goal. While advertising our high-quality products, we simultaneously show how and where the products are made, thus creating a connection between the customer and the community. Our website features the stories of the sellers, and in our social media feeds we advertise not just the products but also how and where they were produced, and we provide details about the respective manufacturing communities.”

This holistic approach comes with additional positive aspects: “All So Just Shop employees embrace our mission, and many of them even contribute the voices and networks of their own communities. Our employees come from South Asia, Egypt and South Africa (as well as from the United States and the United Kingdom, which need less support). Whenever employees talk about the So Just Shop or promote it, they spread the word about our high-quality products and draw attention to the stories and impact behind them.”

The company was founded just recently, and many employees work part-time. Apprenticeships and internships are offered as well. “Our core team consists of 6 women and 2 men whose ethnic origins range from Pakistan, India, Jordan, Egypt and South Africa to the United Kingdom; various sexual orientations are included as well. We encourage our employees to take the initiative by suggesting and implementing their own projects. For example, our creative director recently collaborated with the London College of Fashion and a women’s group in Uganda to find viable options for treating sustainable materials such as coconut palm leaves in order to make them durable enough for use in handbags”, the statement continues.

The company’s product range includes bags made from organic cotton produced in Calcutta by a community that retrains prostitutes, hand-woven wool scarves manufactured in the Himalayas by Tibetan refugees, key rings made from recycled brass by a cooperative for disabled women in Mombasa and notebooks from recycled rubber. Individual company logos can be added to all products. By buying the products, customers can make a meaningful positive contribution for the women producing these products and for their communities.

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