A great tale behind retail

Words by Donna Parker – Only Just Founder

Inside the Only Just store

Only Just is a not-for-profit, fair trade shop in the heart of Eltham. It is a community driven enterprise – run largely by volunteers – that aims to help communities in the developing world to trade out of poverty. In essence, when you buy a fair trade product from Only Just, you are buying something that is handmade by people who have received a living wage for their work. This means no sweat shop labour, no child labour, no slave labour were used in the making of the item you purchase.

Only Just sells products from over 30 different developing countries such as macrame hangings and baskets from Bangladesh, ceramic cups and plates from South Africa or bags and wallets from India, just to name a few. Only Just also sells a wide range of jewellery and one of their most popular lines is from This Is Eden.

This Is Eden jewellery is made in South-East Asia by women and girls who have been rescued from human trafficking. In this dangerous and disturbing world, Eden steps in to offer hope, love and safety to women and girls who they have rescued. The following case study from Eden illustrates how effective their approach is and their programs work.

Su Su’s father died when she was 11 so she left school to work in a factory. The wages were not high so when her boss told Su Su about a better job in China, Su Su jumped at the opportunity. However, when she crossed the border she was sold to a stranger as a bride. Incredibly, some time later, Su Su was able to escape and made her way to the police who returned her to Myanmar.
Upon her return, Su Su was referred to Eden where she learnt that she was pregnant. She immediately received medical care, began trauma counselling, and eventually started a job making jewellery. She has also learnt how to care for her baby and make a safe home for the two of them.

There are hundreds of stories just like Su Su’s, some even more tragic, but by purchasing Eden jewellery every one of us can help Eden in their work. All the profits of their jewellery support all of their programs: outreach – they visit red light districts and trafficking hubs weekly, and arrange emergency shelters, trauma counselling, medical care, vocational training, economic empowerment and community education. In the 7 years since Only Just became Eden’s first stockist in Australia, over $40,000 from jewellery sales to local customers have gone back to South East Asia to fund Eden’s programs.

Only Just Eden Woman making jewellery

Only Just partners with many different communities from all over the world; people and communities that are striving to earn an income to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. Every purchase helps these communities to reach that goal. Since its inception Only Just has also donated over $55,000 back into aid and development programs and funded micro credit loans through Kiva [see kiva.org]. Every gift or product that you buy at Only Just goes a long way.