FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

My Investment

Is OUNI a legal entity? What type of business is it?

OUNI is a cooperative business (“société coopérative”) based on the Luxembourgish law of 1915. OUNI was created on 6 February 2016.

How much capital was needed to open the shop? What was it used for?

We had to gather EUR 180,000 to be able to open the shop. Thanks to the great support of the community, we managed to collect this amount of money and more in four months. Hundreds of private people bought one or more shares of the cooperative.

The money gathered was mainly used for:

  • buying the first stock of the shop
  • buying the bulk bins and other equipment for the shop
  • buying a professional dishwasher to clean the reusable glass bottles and jars
  • acquiring cash registers, scales and IT systems
  • setting up a website that will eventually take online orders
  • training active members and employees before the shop opens
  • securing the first months of salaries and rental fees, including the deposit guarantee
How do I buy a share?

Fill in the membership registration form and make a transfer to OUNI’s bank account:

Name: Société cooperative OUNI, IBAN: LU82 0019 4755 3533 3000, BIC: BCEELULL. You will receive a membership certificate.

Will I lose my money if the cooperative goes bankrupt? Are members held responsible in case of bad management?

If the cooperative has to be dissolved, all items will be sold and members will be reimbursed as far as finances are still available. Obviously, it is possible for members to decide on dissolving the cooperative in a general meeting if it appears necessary. The members cannot be held responsible for any bad management.

What if I want to leave the cooperative? Do I get my money back?

If you want to leave the cooperative, your shares may be reimbursed to you at nominal value, which means that if you invested €100, you may be reimbursed €100. But the reimbursement of shares can only occur once the funds are available.

Can I buy one share now and then buy more shares later?

Yes, it is possible to buy shares whenever you like. Please note, that you will have one vote, no matter how many shares you own.

What is the advantage of buying more than one share?

If you own more than one share, you will receive more dividends when they are paid. You will also make a bigger contribution to the growth of the shop.

Membership

How do I become a member?

You are a member if you buy one or more shares of the cooperative. The value of one share is €100. Fill out the Membership Registration Form and make a transfer to OUNI’s bank account:

Name : Société cooperative OUNI, IBAN: LU82 0019 4755 3533 3000, BIC: BCEELULL. You will receive a membership certificate.

Why should I become a member instead of just being a customer?

By becoming a member, you contribute to making this project grow and you will have a voting right in the General Meeting of the cooperative. Furthermore you will be part of the community.

What is the difference between being a member and being an active member?

Any member, active or not, has the right to vote in the General Meeting, can be elected to the Administrative Board, can get a return on his/her investment and will be invited to special events organized for members.

In addition to the above, active members offer 2 hours of their time each month to give a helping hand at OUNI, receive a “starter pack” (1 jar, 5 cotton bags), can participate in workshops and seminars at OUNI for half price, have the chance to join working groups and receive a 5% discount on all items sold in the store.

Can I easily change my membership type?

Yes, it is possible to change from being an “active member” into being a “member” or vice versa. You have to inform the Administrative Board (conseil d’administration). The change will take place within two months. Please note, that you will have more rights and benefits as an active member.

Is there a minimum age for becoming a member or an active member?

Anyone can become a member, but if the person is under 18 years, the legal mentor will act in his/her name. OUNI will not allow anyone under the age of 18 to work, so under 18 you cannot become an active member.

Can I become a member but not figure on any list that is visible for anyone else?

No, the list of members is public.

Active Membership

What do I have to do as an active member? What do the two hours of work imply?

There are a many tasks that you can do. We will not impose work, but will try to find jobs that every member can and wants to do according to their interests and capabilities. There will be an online calendar where you can register (type of task, date, time).

For easier management, we very much encourage the work to be performed at the same time every four weeks. This means that you would register yourself, for example, for every fourth Saturday from 10:00 to 12:00. Exceptions can be made in particular cases, which will be clarified based on demand.

Most task will be related to running the shop. Here are a few examples:

  • inventory/stock
  • cleaning (bulk bins, shelves, floor, etc.)
  • restock shelves
  • helping out at workshops or events or sharing your skills at a workshop
  • welcoming and advising clients on how to shop at OUNI or providing information on products
  • serving clients at the counter
  • doing bike deliveries
  • preparing orders for customers who have ordered online
I am a student or retired and only sometimes in Luxembourg. Can I be an active member?

We are trying to offer a system in which everybody can be involved. Students for example can do their work at the cooperative on a stretch during their holidays. There is a total of 26 hours of work per year. As we do wish that work is in general done on a regular basis, this has to be clarified with the person responsible for the active members before registration in the calendar.

What are the working groups? What are the topics?

Working groups are groups of a few people who work on a common topic, relevant for the cooperative and who meet on a regular basis. Topics are:

  • suppliers
  • furniture and fixtures
  • workshops
  • events
  • communication
  • finding and welcoming new members
  • fitting out the store
  • finances
  • website
  • environmental impact
  • hygiene

About the Shop

What kind of products are available?

We offer a wide range of grocery, household products and cosmetics. Members and customers are able to suggest products that they would like to buy through a suggestion book and discussions with the sales team.

How do you ensure hygienic handling of products?

The hygienic handling of products is an important concern for OUNI. A process is implemented to ensure good hygienic conditions. Training of members and employees is performed and compulsory before being able to work in the shop. The first control performed by the “Division de la sécurité alimentaire du Ministère de la Santé” (food security in Luxembourg) ensured the compliance of the shop hygiene with the rules.

How are suppliers and products selected?

The suppliers are carefully selected based on different criteria:

  • locally produced (or fairtrade products if not available locally)
  • organic production
  • re-usable packaging used for transportation
  • exclusion of artificial additives
  • seasonality
Are you be able to offer lower prices?

Prices are below the average of high-quality organic products. This cannot be guaranteed for local products, as Luxembourg has higher prices. The OUNI team and working group are working hard continuously to find the best solutions.

Functioning as a non-profit driven cooperative and having active members means we can in general keep the costs low. Selling items in bulk also keeps the prices low (it is estimated that packaging accounts for 15% of the selling price).

How many jobs have been created?

Four employees are currently working in the shop with part-time contracts: Caroline (founding member of the cooperative) and three sales assistant: Valérie, Delphine and Chloé.

Is the impact of the store monitored?

Yes, we have a working group that is dedicated to monitoring the environmental impact of the store to assess how much energy and how many resources are saved thanks to the OUNI concept.