As I sat at my computer yesterday, logging and editing the ACTUAL questions, that we’re going to ACTUALLY ask of one of our supplier partners, I paused (and let myself smile a bit, I’ll admit it) as I had a brief trip down memory lane to a time, where this moment seemed so far in the future; where I had to explain to advisors, potential clients, even team members, the kinds of questions we might ask, the way the questions would even be developed and how we could actually expect suppliers to even respond to this new system. We had a hypothesis based on our experience in the field, market research, and some pretty solid creative thinking and we answered with that - untested but we believed it deserved to be tested.
And now here we are- I’m drafting those questions, we’re actually testing them on the platform. The phrase often employed in these situations, “it feels so unreal” is the opposite of how I feel - It feels very real and we’ve got a lot of our work over the last two years on the line. But in between all the work, it’s little moments like this that you live for as an entrepreneur - these little glimpses of making it happen.
We’re on our way now to Northern India, Jaipur, to work with a supplier, a production cut and sew facility fair trade certified, to test the supplier transparency toolkit of our JUST platform. This is the app, our transparency toolkit, through which we have suppliers ask questions, upload photos and videos, message us with questions they have, poll workers on their working conditions, livelihoods, living wage, and their day-to-day.
In other words: real time multimedia data and information coming from a supply chain, through our app into the hands of consumers, so people can have up-to-date, engaging and verified stories about what they’re buying- the photo of a worker in the facility with their story, the process by which the garment is made, the map showing you where the supplier is and their management’s dreams for what they want their company to become.
The big questions for us:
Will suppliers engage with our platform? Find it useful in the ways we believe it will help them organize information and market themselves
Once we have the data, the photos, the fun videos, will consumers engage with it? Will they want more? Will they share it?
How many brands will pay for this? Will they see value in proving their sustainability and allowing consumers to connect with it? Will they have empathy for the suppliers, overwhelmed with audits and standards etc. and want to offer them a better solution for reporting?
How much can we scale this? How quickly will it be possible to use this application in its next version with our other suppliers?
So here we go - check out our social media and our blog for updates over the next two weeks as we learn on the ground, and then after, as we recap what we’ve learned and how we’re going to adapt, how we’re going to make all fashion just.