About Just

Just aims…

…to get people excited by fair trade ethical and sustainable living. To know the real difference it makes to disadvantaged communities all over the world.

.…to sell the best range of fair trade ethical and sustainable products, making enough profit so we can grow and do things that benefit our producers in the less developed countries of the 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

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 much stuff as possible to benefit the people who produced it. This means that we have different priorities, our business decisions are based on our social objectives not on profit, (although we do need make enough money to pay the bills and keep going!)

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 share for £5. It is these shareholders who vote for and form the board of directors. Voting takes place once a year at an AGM, annual general meeting. Directors are elected for a 3 year term, after which time if they want to continue they have to stand for election again.

We are members of BAFTS Fair Trade Network UK. Bafts is a network of independent shops and suppliers dedicated to promoting Fair Trade retail in the UK. BAFTS provides a structure of accountability to its members who adhere to the 10 Principles of Fair Trade as set out by the World Fair Trade Organisation.

What we do

We offer customers a large range of fair trade ethical and sustainable products over 3 floors in our physical shop in Leicester city centre and at an outlet in Eco-Village, Market Harborough.

We have a new e-commerce site offering postal delivery, click & collect and local delivery to certain postcodes for a growing range of our products.

We seek to work with other like-minded organisations to promote fair trade, ethical and stainable living locally within Leicester and further afield.

The history of Just

Just was born in 2000, although its story begins ten years earlier. Sarah Shepherd and her husband David went to live and work in Tanzania in 1990, seeing for themselves the difference fair trade can make to people’s lives. On her return to the UK Sarah began selling fair trade products from Traidcraft at parties in her home and organising a series of fair trade fashion shows.

This selling grew until in 1996 the first pop-up Just shop opened in the centre of Leicester. It was open for the six weeks up to Christmas. The shop was a huge success, both in the amount it sold and in attracting the attention of the local media who gave it extensive print, radio and television coverage.

Back then the availability of fair trade products was very limited but this first shop 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 years were highly successful seeing a significant increase in turnover each year.

But with the global downturn came local challenges as the main post office and banks around Bishop Street closed and the development of the Highcross shopping centre moved Leicester’s shopping hub further away from us. We needed to move!

So in October 2009 Just moved to its current site in the heart of independent shopping in Leicester. 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. The gamble paid off and Just continues to be a successful business. Since 2009 the shop has expanded to trade on all 3 available floors of the shop.

2020 saw another big challenge with the global pandemic. Although the shop could remain open because of the large range of essentials it sells, sales plummeted. Just realised it had to go on line. Just’s e-commerce website started selling essentials in the spring, offering local delivery, click and collect and postal options. Since then the range of products available to buy on line has grown immensely with new products being added all the time.

In summer 2020 Just opened a concession within Eco Village, a zero waste shop in Market Harborough. Working with other like minded organisations has always been a pleasure and we are very happy to be selling a small range of our products to the folk of ‘Harborough.