Our JoJo Values
The most useful thing a person can do in this world is to create ethical employment in a business environment which respects everything we hold important: Our people and our planet.
Our JoJo Mission
Our mission is to be the leading global mother and baby brand, offering high quality products at reasonable prices and putting people and the planet above profit. This is to be done within the confines of growing a commercially viable business for longevity, whilst respecting the needs of our customers, our teams and our suppliers.
It is possible to look at the world through this mantra, making decisions which do not always relate back to improvements in the bottom-line profit. This is not a marketing ploy; it’s who we are. This is the ethos under which the business was launched, and how it continues to be run today. We have proved you can do well, whilst doing good.
JoJo launched as a one-person kitchen table start-up. In the UK we have grown to be the leading boutique mother and baby brand with almost a thousand employees. In 2015 we launched online in the US and now have four stores on the East Coast. As we continue to grow, we don’t want to lose sight of our founding principles and small company values. We know this is a challenge, but it’s one we are prepared to fight for.
Our philanthropic and sustainability projects extend into many areas:
Working with all types of people
At JoJo we employ all sorts of people, from all over the world and a wonderful variety of characters. In fact, we would say that entrepreneurs are definitely amongst the most eccentric people in society, so the ethos of acceptance has to filter down from Laura our Founder and MD herself.
We are working with the Community Placement Team at HMP Prescoed to help reduce the likelihood of inmates re-offending by considering them for vacancies in our warehouse. The initiative is all about resettlement and we are currently offering four placements. Anyone that we take on is paid a salary and a percentage of this is diverted towards organisations that support victims of crime.
One of our proudest moments was being nominated for a Working with Disability Award. We have five employees who happen to have Down’s syndrome and work with another two on a voluntary basis. Sammy-Jo who has been with the company for several years, put us forward for the Best Employer Award. She’s the one who deserves to be a winner for being such a great, loyal and hardworking member of the team. We are all different, that’s what makes the world interesting.
Encouraging education and advancement amongst our teams
We believe that education and training are great ways to empower our teams - to inspire personal development and growth. We want to ensure our people are engaged, enthused and motivated to take on new challenges so we remain at the forefront of our industry.
All team members are offered the opportunity to undertake further vocational or academic studies whilst working at JoJo. We are currently supporting one employee through a Digital Marketing degree on a part-time basis and have apprenticeships in place covering Retail, Team Leadership and Business Administration. Numerous other employees are undertaking training in Health and Safety, Fire Marshalling, Mental Health and First Aid.
In the UK, our retail teams are brought to head office for the first week of their training, which is followed up by a further period of in-depth education in all aspects of the company ethos, operations and departments. Training includes subjects as diverse as potty training and nursing bra measuring to social media and computer science.
Respecting our suppliers across the developing world
By working long term with our key suppliers across the world, we allow them to invest in their infrastructure and staff training, safe in the knowledge that the JoJo orders will continue as long as they maintain our high standards. Some of our factories have grown with us from tiny start-ups to employing hundreds of tailors. Some of our factories have been supplying us for nearly 20 years and we have built up close relationships with those individuals across the world. Our loyalty to suppliers is repaid time and time again in their loyalty to us. By working closely with our suppliers, we do our best to be sure they run their businesses in an ethical manner and pass our stringent factory audits.
Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking Statement
The Modern Slavery Act of 2015 requires businesses to produce a statement regarding the steps the organisation has taken during the year to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in any of its supply chains, nor in any part of its own business. This is our third annual statement.
What is Modern Slavery?
Slavery as many of us understand it was abolished years ago, and the idea that someone owns someone else is abhorrent to current thinking. However, a new type of slavery exists in the modern world. Inequality is growing and the global labour market is in some areas multi-national, with many people crossing borders to look for work. People can be coerced into working against their will for little or no recompense through means such as paying off debts, by companies retaining identity papers and by false promises.
There are far too many people in the world being still treated as commodities and being exploited. The Modern Slavery Act would like us all to do our part in mitigating this issue.
JoJo Maman Bébé has always put ethical business practices and policies at the heart of everything we do. As a certified B-corp we are proud to put our ethics at the heart of the business and we firmly believe in our mantra of putting people and the planet ahead of profit whilst being a commercially viable business. We have always tried to make the best product we can in the most responsible way. We welcome this act that encourages businesses to be transparent in how they deal with their own staff and suppliers; it will encourage due diligence and raise awareness to protect vulnerable people.
Who are we?
JoJo Maman Bébé was founded in 1993 by Laura Tenison MBE and has grown to become the UK’s leading mother and baby multi-channel boutique brand. We design and retail high quality, imaginative, practical clothing and products for pregnant women and families with young children. We currently have 90+ stores across the UK, Republic of Ireland and the USA, strong ecommerce websites, a growing, loyal customer base and wholesale partners that connect us to over 40 countries worldwide.
The company now employs nearly 1000 team members, approximately 100 in our London design & marketing studio, around 175 in our head office and distribution centre in South Wales and the remainder spread across our local high street stores across the UK, Eire and the East coast of America.
How can we ensure that there is no modern slavery within our UK team and business?
We all have a responsibility to be aware of the risks, however small, in our UK business and those suppliers who support our UK operations. We have a clear process and policy to ensure that people joining our team do so of their own free will and have trained colleagues to be alert to risk factors. There is a clear mandate to report any concerns and for management to act upon them.
Where and how do we make what we sell?
The Modern Slavery Act requires us to be transparent about our supply chain. “Supply Chain” is the catchall phrase to describe the people and companies who help us make and sell our products. For example, not only the factories we work directly with to make our items – e.g. a baby dress factory (first tier), but also their suppliers – they may be supplied by a company that prints the fabric (second tier), who in turn is supplied by a company that weaves the fabric (third tier), who is supplied by a company that cleans and makes the yarn (fourth tier) all the way down to the farmer that grows the cotton. Furthermore, the supply chain may include the transporters who ship the finished goods to us, and the courier who brings you the parcel.
JoJo Maman Bébé is both a manufacturer as well as a retailer – we design all our beautiful styles and products in London but we make them all over the world with specialist factories. Additionally, we purchase some items from key third party brands.
We have over 125 primary factories who make our designs for us. We tend to work directly with the factories wherever possible, rather than through a middle person, as this gives us more transparency and direct communication. We firmly believe in building long term relationships with the factories. Some have worked with us for around 20 years, growing as we have, sharing the journey together and becoming friends.
We make things worldwide but focus on countries with higher standards that give us confidence in the ethics of the factory as well as their ability to produce the quality of goods we require. These are mostly in China, India and Turkey.
We have an established process to check and monitor new and current suppliers. Suppliers are regularly audited. Our audit is based on the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) Base Code with additional areas specific to our market. The ETI Base Code covers core areas of employee rights; such as access to unions, not allowing child labour, ensuring hours of work are not unreasonable, that minimum wages are met or exceeded, that the employee works in a safe place etc. alongside environmental and other concerns. The ETI Base Code has been updated to cover all aspects of tackling modern slavery or human trafficking - in particular identifying how the employee came to the business and we have incorporated this into our codes and audits.
The JoJo Maman Bébé team travel regularly to our factories to see for themselves our items being developed and produced. We audit the factories in person. We work with third party auditors to complement our own audits, but we prefer to develop personal relationships with the factories we work with, growing business together and jointly improving quality, production processes and standards as needed. We also work with organisations dedicated to improving ethical business practices and support our factories to become accredited within them.
What can we do about modern slavery?
We trust our suppliers to work to our ethical code, and we know they would be horrified to think of employing someone against their will, however modern slavery may be something they are not even aware of. A key focus of our approach is to work with our factories to find ways to not only check this is not happening, but to train them to identify potential risk areas within their own business.
We can also train our teams to understand the business needs of the supplier and how our requirements could impact negatively on their own staffing processes and ensure we work together to mitigate this.
What have we done about modern slavery?
We made our first modern slavery statement in July 2016 which detailed the changes the business had made since the introduction of the act in October 2015 including confirming a company policy on the subject and updating paperwork such as our audits and supplier guidelines. We trained relevant colleagues to understand the subject and moreover, we opened dialogue with suppliers on understanding the risk in their businesses. Having previously been focused on our primary tier one suppliers we began the process of mapping additional second and third tier suppliers. In our second year we focused on engaging key suppliers to understand their approach to recruitment and the risks of slavery and we expanded our supply mapping further down the tiers and into other areas of the business to include suppliers who were not making stock.
In this financial year of July 2017-June 2018 we have continued to focus on the issue and have taken the following steps:
1) Continued updating our supplier audit database to include modern slavery risk assessments, 85% of Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers have been assessed at a deeper level.
2) Completed updating our grading methodology to incorporate MSA risk indicators.
3) Brought key non-stock suppliers into the audit process and reporting.
4) Surveyed our top 20 suppliers to assess their understanding of risk within their business following on from visits last year to engage on the subject. Identified areas for further training to be rolled out in the next financial year.
5) Visited 54 of our suppliers, who together supplied nearly 80% of our stock for the year. Our in-house team conducted new audits including more in depth recruitment assessments to highlight modern slavery risk factors.
JoJo Maman Bébé has always followed a code of honesty and openness with our suppliers, we view them as partners and intend to work with them to do our part to mitigate this global issue.
Design & Production Director, on behalf of the board.
This statement relates to section 54, Part 6 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. This statement covers financial year July 2017 - June 2018.
Working to reduce our carbon footprint
Our environmental initiative started long before the term was even part of common parlance. We have always worked under the ethos of “waste not want not”. In the early days of the company recycling and free-cycling were needed due to our being an undercapitalised start-up.
Today our initiatives are a little more sophisticated but with the same end gain; to preserve our planet for our children and theirs. As well as the usual ways to reduce our carbon footprint such as using sea freight in place of air, and introducing low energy lighting in our stores, we have some exciting bigger initiatives.
From a Mother to Another, clothing recycling initiative:
Each year in the run up to Mother’s Day in the UK and Ireland we encourage our customers to collect, pack up and gift their unwanted, outgrown or little worn baby and children’s clothing. We then check and re-pack the donated items to make gorgeous, sensible, sorted gift packs of emergency clothing which are redistributed to those in need through charities across the UK and Ireland. Our From a Mother to Another initiative has saved up to 50,000 pieces of clothing and 22,000 pairs of shoes and boots from going to landfill and helped thousands of people in need in our own country and abroad.
Our primary philanthropic venture is our house charity Nema Foundation, which works to reduce child poverty in rural Africa. We got involved because we wanted to be sure of how our donations to charity were well spent and did not trust the efficiency of some charities. We know that by having a house charity our donations go a lot further. For full details of the great work we do in Mozambique take a look at the Our Charity section of our website. In addition to working with Nema, we will always do our best to help support grass roots fundraising, especially in the mother and baby field. We are happy to consider requests for tombola or raffle prizes, although we are not generally able to give monetary donations.
We are also keen to help with local education projects and have supported First Story, a UK charity by funding a writer in residence at an inner city school, thereby promoting literacy and self-expression through the written word.
When the Nepal earthquake struck in April 2015, we could not help but get involved when one of our customers told us about the little school she helped to build and support through her charity Laxmi. Sam contacted us and promised to personally go out to oversee the spending of our donation by rebuilding her school which had been so badly damaged.
Our annual From a Mother to Another campaign aims to help vulnerable families both in the UK & Ireland. We sort, pack and ship unwanted or outgrown children’s clothing donated by our customers to families in need, while at the same time working to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill. In March 2019, we collected and prevented approximately 5 tonnes of children's clothing from going to waste - over 30 Baby & Food banks across the UK received our pre-loved packages. Please read our blog to keep up to date with the latest From a Mother to Another news.