British startup ‘So Just Shop’ is known for working with women-led artisans in some of the most vulnerable communities in the world to produce everything from accessories to homeware. SJS is turning to Blockchain to make its supply chain more transparent.
Turning the tide of global poverty isn’t a goal you often associate with the fashion industry. ‘So Just Shop’ pitch is that by connecting artisans from all over the world with consumers in the UK they can create unique products and lift those creating them out of poverty.
The problem it faces is proving where materials and products have come from and when they were shipped. The company has turned to Blockchain – the technology the underpins Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies – to make that happen.
So Just Shop CEO, Jennifer Georgeson explained, in an article by Forbes, that “without Blockchain it’s unlikely we’d be here at all – it’s just perfect timing. The barriers for female-led artisan businesses to reach global markets are many and varied. Many artisan groups are forced to sell through intermediaries as their only viable route to market, often receiving less than 20% of the final selling price of the product. That wasn’t good enough, so we flipped it.”.
‘So Just Shop’ produce everything from accessories to homeware
The company, which was founded in 2016, has grown from only 8 sellers in 5 countries to 32 sellers in 15 countries. Its transparent supply chain has attracted big brands in the UK to its products. You can now find SJS products in high-end stores like Bloomingdales and Anthropologie.
SJS believes the future of its transparent supply chain is blockchain technology. Blockchain allows them to securely record where their products come from while avoiding the labour intensive approach that other supply chain technologies have. Once information is entered into the Blockchain it cannot be altered and anyone with access can read it. This is a game-changing technology for supply-chain management.
SJS is already planning the release of a mobile app that will allow customers to look up the exact provenance of a product. From where the raw material came from (down to the herd it was in) all the way through the manufacturing processes, shipping and payment. The team are now constructing the prototype blockchain tech to which they hope will be integrated with the app by end of the year.