About Us

We are a social enterprise selling great products that help people in the world’s poorest countries to work their way out of poverty.

  • We’re fair trade for the long term, not just while it’s trendy
  • We have the best range of fair trade products including gifts, bags, jewellery, food, greetings cards…
  • Our products are ethical and eco, often made from the things we throw away
  • We’re friendly and helpful – just ask and you get our attention and personal service
  • We love our volunteer staff and are always up for welcoming new people to the team!

 

Just aims…

…to get people excited by fair trade and the real difference it makes to poor communities all over the world so that they join us in making a difference.

.…to sell the best range of fair trade in the Midlands, making enough profit so we can grow and do exciting things that benefit our producers in the developing world.

…to value the people of the Just community so they feel actively involved, encouraged and supported to play their full part in the work of Just.

 

Just fair trade is a workers’ co-operative social enterprise

A social enterprise is an enterprise or business with a social objective. Normally the objective of a business is to maximise profits (or make as much money as possible) for their owner or share holders. Social enterprises have a social objective, in our case to sell as many fairly traded products as possible to benefit the people who made or produced those products. This means that our business decisions are based on our social objective not on making money, although we need to balance this with a need to make enough profit to stay in business.

Just is a workers’ co-operative. This means that all the decisions about the business and how it works and what it does are made by workers in the business. All people who work for Just, either paid or volunteer are eligible to become a member of the co-op after they have worked with us for 6 months. To become a member you buy a co-op share for £5. It is these co-op shareholders who vote for and form the board of directors. Voting takes place once a year at an AGM, annual general meeting. Directors are voted onto the board for a term of 3 years, after which time if they want to continue they have to stand for election again.

 

What we do

Our shop offers customers the largest range of fair trade products in the Midlands. We have a sale or return service for parties and events, a city centre business delivery service for tea and coffee sales and exclusive fair trade evenings.

Working with Fairtrade Leicester we organise fun and informative events promoting fair trade to a variety of audiences across Leicestershire. For many years our key awareness-raising activity has been a spring fashion show.

We provide fair trade education and training activities in a variety of settings including schools, businesses and voluntary organisations.

 

The history of Just

Just was born in 2000, although its story begins almost ten years earlier. Sarah Shepherd and her husband David had lived and worked in Tanzania for two years in the early 1990s and saw for themselves the difference fair trade can make to people’s lives. On her return to the UK she began introducing others to the idea of fair trade by selling Traidcraft products at parties in her home and organising a series of fair trade fashion shows.

In 1996, the first short-let Just shop opened, selling fair trade products in the heart of Leicester in the six weeks leading up to Christmas. The shop was a huge success, taking £28,000 and attracting the attention of the local media who gave it extensive print, radio and television coverage.

In 1997, the availability of fair trade products in supermarkets was still very limited but this first short-let shop had proved that there was a clear and enthusiastic market for all things fair trade. After a further three Christmas shops and summer fashion shows, Sarah and her team became Just Fair Trade Ltd, a workers’ co-operative social enterprise, and the dream of year-round trading became a reality. Just opened on 28 October 2000 at 10 Bishop Street, Town Hall Square.

The first six years were highly successful with annual turnover (excluding VAT) reaching £180,000 in 2006. With low overheads, profits were used to develop promotional activities and support an employed schools worker.

But with the global downturn came local challenges – the main post office and banks around Bishop Street – near neighbours of Just – closed, significantly reducing footfall, the development of the Highcross shopping centre caused considerable disruption as well as moving Leicester’s shopping hub further away, and by this time fair trade products were far more readily available in supermarkets. A new approach was needed.

In 2009, Just moved to the heart of independent shopping in Leicester, a premises with entrances on Silver Street and St Martins Square. The move to a much larger shop was a risk, with a significant increase in rent and rates offset against the potential of improved sales. So far the gamble has paid off, although continuing economic uncertainty means that Just is always exploring new ways of maximising sales and promoting both fair trade and the shop.