JUST founders and Acumen Global Fellows Natalie Grillon and Shahd AlShehail recently celebrated the launch of Project JUST — an online platform that puts the spotlight on more than 150 fashion brands' sustainable and ethical policies to inform shoppers.
For two years, Grillon and AlShehail dug through internet sources and gathered information on international brands. The online database is now live and has a simple format with an impressive impact.
"The shopper can log online and type in a brand and get back information on a variety of different themes of information — whether it be how transparent the brand is, what their maker policies are, what their environmental policies are, what their management has been up to and how they're trying to innovate a variety of different factors," Grillon told us.
"The idea is not only can shoppers have this information — and read through it and sort through it and ask questions — but then it's also become the place where other users in the supply chain can also log on and add their voice and their information, so that the platform becomes a living, breathing crowd source," the JUST founder explained.
The pair of humanitarians launched JUST two years ago, after meeting through the Acumen organization. At the time, Grillon was working with organic farmers in Northern Uganda, and AlShehail had already founded one of the first all-female luxury fashion houses in the Middle East, where she interacted with compelling artisans and unique designers.
"[AlShehail] and I were just sitting down one day and starting saying and brainstorming 'Why aren't these beautiful stories behind our clothing getting told? Why doesn't anyone champion these beautiful stories and tell them to the shopper?'
A few months after we had that conversation, there was the factory collapse in Bangladesh at Rana Plaza. And we had this realization that it wasn't just a nice-to-have for these stories, it was an absolute necessity. We needed to have transparency behind how our clothing is made so that we can champion these beautiful brands, and also make more informed decisions with our other purchases so that we really know what kind of an impact we're having with these choices we're making everyday," Grillon told us.
Grillon also spoke to us about what JUST has planned for the future — which includes offering more information and data to conscious shoppers, of course, but the company also hopes to share more personal stories and offer some "higher-level storytelling."
Do you want to offer credible information about a brand's social or environmental practices? Have a pressing question to ask? You can contribute to Project JUST here.