So Just Shop

So Just Shop: Economic Empowerment of Women Worlwide

London, United KingdomKenya
Year Founded:
2015
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We enable women-led artisan groups to directly sell high quality accessories to international consumers through the marketplace. Using smartphone technology artisans can upload product pictures & descriptions & take payments through our app even if they don't have access to a computer or bank acc.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if by economically empowering women we can improve maternal and child health and education.
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Economic empowerment of women is key for developing economies to grow. Women also invest more in their families and local communities, increasing maternal & child health & education. However, women-led artisans often receive a minimal wage &/or less than 20% of the sales cost of their products. Consumers are choosing to spend their money responsibly, with 25% willing to pay more & 30% strategically purchasing from socially responsible businesses.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We enable women-led artisan groups to directly sell high quality accessories to international consumers through the So Just Shop marketplace. We innovate; we will create a system where artisans can, not only receive payments, but also directly trade with an international audience. We are a full service marketplace generating multiple income streams from our wholesale, consumer, raw materials and designer commission marketplaces. Our long-term vision for So Just Shop is to feature 1,500 artisan businesses we aim to directly improve the lives of up to a quarter of a million women and their families in some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the world.

Awards

Virgin Pitch to Rich 2015 - Shortlist; #WOW Award - Winner; PEA Award - Finalist
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

By working with women’s-led artisan businesses we can have a direct impact on their lives and the lives of their families. Our long-term vision is to feature 1,500 artisan businesses (~20 employees per business). Assuming an impact per employee of 8 individuals (the employee, 3 children, partner and grandparents), we aim to directly improve the lives of up to a quarter of a million women and their families in some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the world. In FY 2016, artisan groups selling directly to our customers are predicted to receive $3k in sales, rising to $18k by 2020.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We launched the website in April 2015 and now have 14 artisan groups selling through the site. We have already achieved a sales turnover of $6k and reinvested $4k back into the women-led artisan groups. By working with women’s-led artisan businesses we can have a direct impact on their lives and the lives of their families. Our long-term vision is to feature 1,500 artisan businesses & aim to directly improve the lives of up to a quarter of a million women and their families in some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the world. By FY 2016, artisan groups selling directly to our customers are predicted to receive $3k in sales, rising to $18k by 2020.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

By 2018 we aim to have 500 women-led artisan groups selling 90,000 products through our marketplace with a total sales revenue of $5m & a gross profit of $2.2m. We aim to directly employ 20 individuals & have a marketing spend of $500k. Our revenue streams will be from our 'full service marketplace' through wholesale, direct consumer, raw materials and designer marketplace income. Our marketing plan is a comprehensive social media & PR campaign, online marketing, developing a So Just Shop community of consumers key events including seasonal and trade fairs.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We have raised $40k through and friends and family round and have already generated an income of $6k. We aim for this business to be financially stable (and at break even) by mid 2018. We are currently talking to investors re. a pre-seed raise to enable us to develop the So Just Shop Smartphone App and invest in a higher budget marketing strategy.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Shop Soko is working directly with artisans in Kenya and paying them through mobile phone credits (this is a marketplace model) and organisations like Ten Thousand Villages are working directly with artisans and purchasing their products on a wholesale basis. We work globally (not just in one country) & sell a wide range of accessories (not just limited to jewellery). Our App will enable not just payment but also uploading product images and descriptions. We will also be a full service marketplace selling wholesale, consumer, raw materials & designer for multiple income streams.
Team

Founding Story

After many years working in international development the barriers to access to healthcare and education are mainly economic - vaccinations, maternal health services and education are readily available and often free but access to these services often means finding the money to pay for a bus or school uniforms. Economic empowerment of women is key. Give women independent income and the health and education prospects of themselves and their families improves dramatically. However, the solution needs to be sustainable, scalable and global with a full service marketplace offering the perfect opportunity to deliver a real impact in the lives of women and their families worldwide.

Team

JENNIFER GEORGESON MSc, PhD - FULL TIME Jennifer is SoJustShop’s founder and CEO. Jennifer has extensive experience in both the not-for-profit and for-profit world, leading Public Health initiatives in Africa and Asia, for University College London, the Clinton Foundation and her own not-for-profit. She has also successfully project managed the IPO of an internet technology company on AIM (LSE) and recently been the Operations Director of a highly successful mobile-led start-up. MATTHEW GLUBB BSc - PART TIME Matthew is Just Clothing Company’s CTO. Matt is an Internet software developer with 20 years experience in the industry. He has consulted for a variety of digital agencies and enterprises such as Cantor Fitzgerald, M&S Saatchi and the BBC. Matt is an expert on web application development, high availability Internet services and agile programming methodologies. JUDITH BLAIR: Technology Start Up Entrepreneur, investor and Advisor - BOARD ADVISOR JEANNIE SHAPIRO: Small Business Social Media Advisor and investor - BOARD ADVISOR REBECCA MAYO: Joint Managing Director, Lansons Communications - BOARD ADVISOR
Value Chain: Where does your work fit into the apparel value chain? [check all that apply]

Raw Materials, Manufacturing, Consumption.

Your Role: What is your relationship to the apparel industry? [check all that apply]

Advocate/Organizer, Designer, Supplier - contractor, Supplier - subcontractor, Other [please specify].

Target Population: What stakeholder groups do you engage or empower in your work? [check all that apply]

Consumers, Designers, Retailers - Department Store, Retailers - Specialty Store, Sourcing Manager / Supply Chain Manager, Supplier - contractor, Supplier - subcontractor, Women.

● Intervention Focus: What are you trying to achieve / influence? [check all that apply]

Access to Essential Services (i.e. Healthcare and Education), Access to Finance, Conscious Consumerism, Gender Equality, Transparency.

Lever for Change: Select up to 3 ways your work is helping to transform the industry.

Advocacy, Capacity Building, Technology.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

A Job is Not Enough: Low-Income Workers Cannot Secure Long-Term Well-Being, Consumers Aren't Motivated to Care: Neither Compelling Reasons Nor Easy Means to Change Consumption Habits, Sustainability is Not Yet in the DNA: Fast Fashion’s Current Model Disincentivizes Value-Driven Economies.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Disrupt Business as Usual: Target Key Players Who Can Influence the Bottom Line, Transform the Chain into a Web: Link Unlikely Sectors that Open New Pathways to Sustainability.

Innovation Inspiration: When you first conceived of your project, did you think of it as applicable to the apparel industry?

yes

If you answered "no" to the previous question, which industry was your project originally aimed at transforming?

Community development, Fair Trade, Human Rights & Equality, Human Rights, Poverty alleviation, Sustainable development.

● Replicating in the Apparel Industry: If your project didn't initially target the apparel industry, how are you specifically tailoring it to do so now?
Are you nurturing or inspiring others to be changemakers? If so, how?

I am mentoring a number of our sellers and driving collaborations (including with the London School of Fashion)

● Tell us about the partnerships that enhance your approach. How have you collaborated with others in the industry to increase your impact?

We are just entered into a collaborative project with the London School of Fashion to develop design templates for our artisans.